Kerkhoff joins Sevier staff to work with students and families

FOR THE FAMILIES. Robin Kerkhoff has joined the staff of Sevier Middle in the role of Family and Community Liaison. Her job is to work with families to help connect them to community resources.


FOR THE FAMILIES. Robin Kerkhoff has joined the staff of Sevier Middle in the role of Family and Community Liaison. Her job is to work with families to help connect them to community resources.

From Knoxville and central Phoenix to Kingsport, Sevier’s new family and community liaison, Robin Kerkhoff, brings a ton of experience to the job. After 21 years in education, and 13 in Kingsport City Schools, Kerkhoff has joined Sevier Middle’s faculty.

Many students may not know what a Family and Community Liaison does.

“I work with families, students, and the community and help them connect to resources within our community,” Kerkhoff said.

Kerkhoff also works with assistant principal Seaver on 504 plans for students, works with attendance, and tries to help families understand the importance of attendance and that when students aren’t here, they are not getting the education they need.

“I also help with the clothing, like if students are dress coded or have spills or accidents of any kind,” she said.

Kerkhoff has been in education for 21 years. She taught in Knoxville and Phoenix before joining Kingsport City Schools.

Kerkhoff is originally from the area. She got married and had two boys who are teenagers now, and eventually moved back to the area to be with her family.

“In 2011, I became the associate principal at Johnson Elementary and did that for a few years,” she said. “At that point, after I was assistant principal for a while, I decided that I did not want to be a principal. It’s a hard job, you’re around the clock. You not only just have the students, but you have the staff and the budget and the data and the observations.”

After some time away from education to raise her sons, Kerkhoff returned to Kingsport City Schools.

She loves the outdoors, but she said most of her time is consumed with sports.

“My sons play sports, travel sports, and high school sports,” She said. “So I do a lot of watching football, baseball, and lacrosse. Both of them play golf for fun.”

Kerkhoff has always wanted to do a job in education since she was a little girl.

“I remember lining up my Barbie dolls, lining up my baby dolls, and having set a paper in front of them and just playing school,” she said.” So that was very normal for me, and I didn’t do anything before that, because that was my first job.”

She believes working in education is a great job and recommends it to students.

“If you’re doing it for the right reasons,” she said.  “If you love children and love learning, you love sharing in learning, then absolutely, I would recommend it. “

Kerkhoff strongly encourages students to be involved in extracurricular activities within the school.

“It usually helps students succeed and do well not only in their academics, but socially, and they have that social group of their peers,” she said.

Kerkhoff enjoyed her own time as a middle school student, but she can tell that middle school now is nothing like it was when she was going to school.

“Middle school is a very difficult time,” she said. “I would say that has a lot to do with social media. I think that is just in general, not just in middle school, but in teenagers. It consumes so much.”

Kerkhoff’s most memorable time in education was her first year as a teacher.

“So many people had said how hard your first year was and how difficult, and I have to say I think it was just so enjoyable because I was doing something I’d always wanted to do,” she said. “I loved the school and the community that I worked at in East Knoxville and just that whole experience, that whole year [was memorable].”

Although she is no longer a classroom teacher herself, she still has a lot of respect for those working with students in a classroom setting.

“I love and very much admire teachers and classrooms,” she said. “They are the heartbeat of education, without a doubt.”

Her current job, however, comes with its challenges.

“I would say just, naturally, being new to a role is difficult; that anyone would probably agree with, “ she said. “So, just finding my ground and knowing exactly what my role is and what I need to be doing more of, or less of. Ask me again in a few weeks or month or two, and I may have a different answer.”

Still, Kerkhoff finds her new role very rewarding.

“What I love about my job is connecting with families, and that is something that I feel comfortable doing, whether it is wonderful conversations or even difficult conversations,” she said. “I love reaching out to families and having that connection to our families.”

Kerkhoff is also pleased to work at Sevier Middle, which she believes is a special place.

“There’s just something very special about Sevier,” she said. “I truly feel that way. It’s got this feel to it, it’s got a liveliness to it. I think there are a lot of amazing people here, adults and kids, just the whole school community. I would say it is nothing short of amazing and I feel very happy and privileged to be here.”