Team 2152 would like to share the essay we wrote for Mrs. Stears’ nomination:
Kim Stears has the FIRST core values running through her veins. Starting her FIRST career 13 years ago as a student on team SMASH, she is now the director of the Academy of Information Technology and Robotics (AITR) and the lead coach for FRC team 2152 SMASH along with 5 FTC teams at Spruce Creek High school. There’s no one quite like Kim. She is compassionate, ambitious, humble and has made it her mission to spread FIRST and its message. “I’m not special, I’m just taking the opportunities I had and giving them back to students.” This holds to be true, as Kim tirelessly works to teach and instill her knowledge and expertise on all things technical and non-technical alike to anyone who crosses her path.
As a dedicated advocate for STEM education, Kim uses her position to stay engaged with the FIRST community. She has an open-door policy for all students in Volusia County to participate. She says FIRST helps build better people and she wants to give as many opportunities as possible. In addition to her own teams, Kim helps to support over 90 teams in Volusia County spanning all levels of FIRST by helping to provide training, hosting FLL events, and helping to host FTC events.
Kim’s prior FIRST experience allows her to better understand how students are working throughout the day. She uses her soft and hard skills to guide students toward where they will succeed. Robert R. of Team 2152 said that “Her assigning me to the CAD team has allowed me to discover what I want to pursue in the future.” She always tries her best to ensure that students on the team are happy with what they are doing while still encouraging them to open their minds to trying new things or taking new approaches to the task at hand. Teagan R. of Team 2152 said that “Mrs. Stears helps us with the ins and outs of robotics and makes sure that we’re all having a good time while giving us a space where we can grow.” Kim is always available to provide her guidance for questions and topics that come up, but actively encourages us to research and find the solution on our own. Ben L. of Team 2152 said “She helps me to interact with and learn from people I wouldn’t have normally teamed up with.” The environment Kim creates on the team is one where students are encouraged to challenge themselves and their limitations. She inspires us through her positive nature, and validates the idea that we are capable of things beyond our imagination.
Her accomplishments in FIRST, like being nominated for the Inspire the Future: FIRST Educators Recognition Program, have made her a reliable source for her community. The dedication she has to SMASH and FIRST will forever be an integral part of her life. She even wore a SMASH bracelet to her wedding! Kim is a vital component for STEM in Volusia County. Through her teaching, Kim Stears has impacted and empowered thousands of students, teachers, and parents in her community by establishing a foundation for growth, creativity and success through STEM education.

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