Kimberlee Moore graduated from Georgia Military College in 1998 and gave us a glimpse into her current life as well as the people and memories who shaped her.
“Our graduating class was around 30 students, we were very happy. Most of us had been together since 6th or 7th grade. When we graduated, I felt this huge sense of accomplishment, at the same time I was ready to go into the world. Looking back as an adult now, I realize just how much I took for granted about my time at GMC. GMC was a safe bubble. We felt protected because we had the same teachers and administrators always watching over us from middle through high school. Even if you weren’t in someone’s class at the time, you felt that any of your former teachers were keeping an eye on you. Additionally, it was a safe place to try new things. Because we were such a small school, we had the chance to try everything without competition. Band, sports, debate, really anything a student wanted to try out we could because we were so small. There was more camaraderie than competition.”
Kimberlee reflected on her time after GMC, sharing with me her acceptance into a university and excitement over this time in her life. “When we graduated, I remember feeling so proud of our class, but it was also bittersweet having to leave behind the friendships, sense of community, good memories, and the overall sense of safety that shaped my time at GMC. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to get out of high school not because I had a horrible time, but a chapter was closing and a new one was beginning. GMC prepared me for college and I felt good about moving on with a great support system.”
After high school, Kimberlee was excited to attend a larger college, The University of Georgia. During her time at UGA, she had the great fortune to keep in close contact with several of her fellow GMC classmates who also attended UGA. As an undecided major, she sampled various classes. College opened up a whole new world of options for Kimberlee. Nervous to make the wrong choice, she soaked everything in during her college experience and gravitated to classes that sparked her interests. She sampled classes that she probably never would have taken before, picking and choosing liberal art classes that gave her a well-rounded education. She added that she enjoyed “interacting with people and ideas, not changing the core of who I am, but understanding the foundation of my core.”
Kimberlee ultimately decided on political science as a major because she had an initial interest in law; however, as time went on, she realized that she did not what to continue on to law school as she once thought. Majoring in political science provided Kimberlee with an opportunity to expand her options on how she could impact the world in a positive way.
After graduating from UGA, Kimberlee decided to pursue a career in public policy. She was awarded a full academic fellowship to attend the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy located in College Park, MD, just miles from Washington DC.
Prior to her arrival to the University of Maryland, she had never visited Washington DC. Kimberlee shared, “What I learned about myself was that I can roll with absolutely anything. I didn’t know that at first about myself, because I was always surrounded by people and surroundings I knew. But in Maryland, I didn’t even know where the grocery store was, I only knew where I lived and where my school was, this was back before smart phones. People still printed out MapQuest for directions! Fortunately, I was able to quickly learn the lay of the land thanks to the people I connected with in my graduate program, who came from various places within the US and all over the world. In fact, I always joked that my roommates (who were also in my program) and I could have been on a brochure for the UN or a pamphlet touting the diversity of our graduate program. One roommate was from Pakistan, another from Taiwan, and the third was first generation Iranian. It was a great experience and I learned so much from those ladies.”
After graduating from The University of Maryland, Kimberlee realized she wanted to live and work there. She knew there were multiple job opportunities and she needed to integrate herself into the community around her. “One day I made the decision to start playing tennis again, a couple of months before I graduated. It blossomed into a wide network of young professionals and helped me get to know the area better because I was playing at various locations throughout the city. Playing on league tennis teams developed into a community for me outside of school.”
On the job front, she was armed with a Master’s degree, but limited work experience. After graduation, she continued to work as a research assistant for the university until she found a public policy position working in higher education accreditation for an agency recognized by the US Department of Education. She worked as an accreditation coordinator where she managed site evaluation teams that visited institutions throughout the US. After about five years with the organization, Kimberlee took an academic quality assurance/accreditation position with Laureate Education, a private company that maintains network of 85 international higher education institutions. During her almost 8 years with the company, she enjoyed the opportunity to work and learn about higher education policy issues from around the world. Her position allowed her to travel domestically and internationally. Turkey is one of her favorite places to work, “I’ve never been anywhere like it, and I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve learned so much about myself every time I travel, that I can do anything I want to do and have never felt limited.”
According to Kimberlee, her work has allowed her the opportunity to expand on her education and professional experiences and has fueled her love of travel as well. Since we last spoke, Kimberlee has accepted a new position as the Director of Accreditation at The Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. She will serve as the agency chief accreditation officer and an ex-officio member of the CAA. She looks forward to this next chapter in her career.
Raised by hardworking parents in Sandersville, Georgia, Kimberlee credits her success to her parents. “I know I was very fortunate and I thank God for that, I don’t know if I would be where I am if I hadn’t had the parents I did.” Kimberlee shared that her mother graduated from Tuskegee University with her Bachelor’s degree and then completed a Master’s degree from The University of Kentucky. She then moved back to Sandersville to take care of her mother and that’s where Kimberlee’s parents met. With her father’s strong work ethic along with her mother’s love of education, Kimberlee was lovingly raised and supported throughout her childhood. Her mother chose GMC for Kimberlee based on class sizes, as she wanted a more focused educational experience for her daughter. Kimberlee said, “I always was a daydreamer and thought there has to be more than this-so starting at GMC in the 7th grade confirmed those feelings, because there was more out there for me. I knew I was going to college because my mom went to college. I didn’t know where I wanted to be, I just knew I wanted to reach my full potential. I knew I had to do well in school, because those people go to college.”
Speaking lovingly and respectfully of her mother, Kimberlee shared, “My mom would always say to me ‘do your best’ before a big event, like a test, or a tennis match or basketball game. I remember coming to her off the court, feeling upset, and she would say ‘if you gave it your best, that’s all you can do and just move on.’ My mother was my cheerleader in everything, she would tell me she was praying for me. How could I not think I could do things? She always told me I could do what I wanted to do if I put my mind to it. I felt unstoppable with that type of support behind me. She would say to me, ‘don’t let anybody steal your joy’ that always encouraged me to keep going in my career. There’s so many things I want to do and so many obstacles I want to tackle, and I know she would want me to reach my dreams.”
With a fondness in her voice only a GMC alum could have for such a unique educational experience, Kimberlee shared that the expectations at GMC, including those expectations around discipline, dress (uniforms), timeliness, and order continue to influence her life. “When I get ready to go into a meeting, I often find myself checking my gigline or other parts of my attire to ensure I’m ready. This motion feels very similar to how I used to do my checks before dashing to formation in the mornings or preparing for our Sunday parades. People continue to have expectations of me. Along with my parents, GMC taught me about meeting people’s basic expectations like being on time, being responsible, and being accountable for things outside of myself. Every day at GMC there was this unspoken message that it was a very caring place created to make us into good citizens.”
When asked what type of advice she would pass onto newly entering GMC students, Kimberlee had advice to share for those students aspiring to dream big. “You have to think beyond where you are right now and focus on where you want to be, get a plan, move toward the goals you’ve laid out for yourself. It’s easy to think ‘this is it for me,’ but no, that’s not it. You have control over your own life. Live your life and be open to opportunities and new people.”
Kimberlee shared her appreciation for the many great teachers she had a GMC. In particular, she expressed her appreciation for her tennis coach, “my uncle and aunt first introduced me to tennis, but Coach Sonny Harmon became my coach in middle school, he was so laid back and my mother loved him. Coach Harmon was one of my favorite teachers and had the most memorable impressions on me, because tennis is such an important part of my life.
Kimberlee currently resides in College Park, Maryland. Her mother passed in 2014 and is missed profoundly. She enjoys spending time with her father, traveling, and playing tennis. Kimberlee continues to be dedicated to making a positive on impact on the world through her professional life and by volunteering with numerous organizations.