The Tortoise’s Path

Kimberly Beeman’s FLC-fueled race to success

NFNRC – November 2019


As the childhood fable prescribes, slow and steady can win the race. Folsom Lake College alumna Kimberly Beeman admits she took the tortoise’s path, but as the owner, director and lead teacher at Cameron Park Montessori School, she’s satisfied with the way she crossed the finish line.

“There are so many people who can’t afford to be a full-time student. I want everyone to know that it is realistic,” says Beeman. “If it takes a little bit longer, don’t be discouraged.”

Beeman worked on her degree at Folsom Lake College for eight years, while working full-time in the field. Eventually, she would earn two associate degrees – in psychology and interdisciplinary sciences.

While Beeman was a student at FLC, she became connected with Cameron Park Montessori, a well-known and distinguished school in the community, operating as a leader in quality early childhood education since 1974.

“I was volunteering in the classroom one day a week doing readers and various tasks,” says Beeman. “As I got more units under my belt, I got more responsibilities.”

About five years later, an incredible opportunity presented itself. Planning to retire, Beeman’s mentor teacher offered her the opportunity to take over the program. So she finished her admin and site supervisor classes at FLC, and took over the school in 2017.

What made the difference for Beeman, providing perpetual inspiration and support, were the “wonderful” teachers in Folsom Lake College’s ECE department.

“It really was wonderful to have professors who had worked in the field themselves,” says Beeman. “A lot of the assignments that we had were very hands-on, getting into the classroom and meeting the children, not just theory from a book. You get to practice and apply your knowledge to real-life situations.”

One professor, in particular, went above and beyond to guide Beeman’s quest.

“Jennifer Kraemer is someone that I’ve been able to keep in touch with over the years,” says Beeman. “She’s been a great mentor and a really great resource in the community.”

Looking back, Beeman reflects on the day she started as a 17-year-old student at FLC, with no idea that owning and operating her own school was “in the cards.”

“It’s pretty humbling to think about starting as just a little volunteer… and then seeing that with work and with commitment that you can do something like that,“ she reflects.

With her slow yet steady pace, Beeman now realizes that “going the community college route was the most affordable way” to reach her goals. Now, she’s paying it forward, opening up her classroom to FLC students who need to do observations for their course requirements. And she says Folsom Lake College is her first choice, when recruiting new teachers.

“Whenever I’m hiring, I reach out to Jennifer [Kraemer] to share my ad to make sure that we’re getting local students involved.”