The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

Humans of LASA: Volume 50, Edition 3

Amelia Coleman
Kimberly Pettigrew | LASA Teacher

Kimberly Pettigrew is a history teacher at LASA who teaches AP World History, AP U.S. History, Native American Studies, and Constitutional Law. After graduating from LASA she attended the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to get both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees before coming back to Austin to teach at LASA. 

The Liberator: Where did you grow up and go to high school?

Pettigrew: I grew up in Austin and attended the Liberal Arts Academy for my first two years, which was here at Johnston [High], the current location of LASA. During my sophomore year, the Liberal Arts Academy and the Science Academy merged to make LASA, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, which then moved to LBJ.

Where did you go to college, and what topic were you most focused on?

I went to college at the University of Texas at Dallas, where I studied history and more specifically Native American history.

What about LASA made you decide to come back and teach here?

Well, I graduated from LASA, so I kind of already knew the program. I had the opportunity to work with some of my former teachers. I was looking forward to that and the fact that at LASA, you have lots of control over your own curriculum. As a result, you do not have to do what every other high school or district does.

How have your life experiences and your other job impacted the way you teach?

I have mostly done teaching, but I went to various camps from high school to graduate school in the summers. That kind of helped me realize I did not want to teach younger kids for longer periods of time. In other regards to life experiences, I travel a lot, so I have gained stories and things I can bring into the classroom when we talk about specific places and events. Also, even though it has been a while, I try to remember in general that I was a high school student once, so I try to give a little grace to teenagers for being teenagers.

What is your favorite thing about teaching at LASA?

My favorite thing is teaching history, which is what I have grown up and gone to school focusing on and loving. It’s also great that I can be here with some of my old teachers.

What is the best thing about teaching history?

The best thing is that I get to help, at least in some way, influence students to sort of see the power of their own voice when it comes to participating in the election process and the American government system as a whole. 

What is the most interesting historical event you like to tell others about?

If I had to choose one, I really like talking about the 1912 presidential election because it has fascinating characters in it, from President Roosevelt to President Taft to President Wilson. I also enjoy educating students on things like boarding schools for natives and having the ramifications of those processes. I guess it depends on what mood I am in, if it’s sort of a funny story with 1912 or a very serious talk about boarding schools and the treatment of natives.

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