Feature of the Week
August 22, 2019
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High school counselor retires again

By: Irene Hilsendager
May 3, 2019

Kimberly Bricker was an outstanding educator who dedicated her life to impact the lives of teens and adolescents.

Bricker had retired in June of 2015 after innumerable years as a teacher, counselor and principal.

She graduated from Rancho Cotate High School and credits the fantastic teachers she had in English classes that inspired her to become an educator. Bricker worked nights at the old Foster Freeze in order to attend Sonoma State University wherein she graduated with a BA in English and PE and after receiving her Master of Arts, Counseling and service credentials for Preliminary Administrative Services from the University of San Francisco, she decided to return to her alma mater to teach English.

Kimberly was also a principal at Phoenix High School, a Director of Student Services, a counselor at the Ranch and Creekside Middle School, now Lawrence Jones Middle School, an assistant principal at Mountain Shadows Middle School, now Technology Middle School and then retiring from the Rancho. Bricker also started the Peer Helping Group, an elective that connected students with the community. Peer Helping required students to dedicate 10 hours a week to community service and really help to connect students to the community. Many of these students became invested in their service projects, such as volunteering with autistic kids, becoming reading mentors and volunteered at the teen pregnancy center. This program grew from 20 students to more than 100. She sees students as leaders of the future and untapped resources. She encountered may students who wanted to give back and just needed a tool or resource to be able to do that.

After becoming a principal, Kimberly went back to being a counselor because that is where her heart lies…working directly with the students.

She forged on to college prep, went to college during the evenings and worked with the community to establish resources for her students.  Bricker’s job as an educator went well beyond the regular 9-5 routine and dedicated many nights, weekends and early mornings to her students. She loved her longtime career as an educator and knows that her career was truly her life’s passion.

Kimberly served on so many projects such as being a public speaker representing districts in a variety of settings, initiated and chaired a committee to develop a school/police handbook, volunteered for numerous community organizations and events, was a district liaison with the Cotati Police Department and Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety and recruited and coordinated county wide teams to implement the Gun Violence Information for Teens (G.I.F.T.) program. Bricker has also been affiliated with the US Autism & Asperger’s Association, the American Association of School Counselors and the California Association of School Counselors.

A few years back Kimberly was chosen by the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati to be the Educator of the Year, receiving a Rotary jacket and money donated to her favorite charity. Upon retiring she traveled to Europe and Tahiti and of course the usual things when you retire, you clean and declutter. Since Bricker is one that wants to keep her intelligence and mind alert, she enrolled in the culinary class at the Santa Rosa Junior College.

Since Kimberly lives in the country, she is the Tiny Tim of the country side. She is taking ukulele classes. She also had back surgery which kept her out of commission of a long while. 

After recovery, she was called back to the Rancho High School to fill in as counselor while another teacher was on leave. Bricker loves it and loves the kids at the high school, but now again has retired. Now she will be taking care of her garden and planning upcoming trips. Many people don’t know this but the Brickers nearly lost their home during the 2017 Oct. fires. They vowed they would not evacuate and stayed with their property. Neighbors around them lost everything, but Kimberly said they would not leave and stayed to the end. A nephew brought a commercial generator so they could keep the refrigerator and freezer going and did not lose anything. She said that after the fire she is so grateful for everything and realized how much “stuff” they had that was not necessary. Kimberly said “I went through the house and discovered how much and how many things I did not need and donated it to my neighbors.” The Brickers have hearts of gold.