Kathryn "Kat" Kincheloe, the head distance track coach at Portales High School, is a senior at Eastern New Mexico University majoring in English with a secondary education licensure. Prior to taking the head coaching job, she was the assistant distance track coach in spring 2018 and the assistant cross country coach in fall 2018.
With her degree, Kat plans to become a high school English teacher, as well as continuing to coach track and cross country. After being a teacher, she aspires to become a principle where she will continue to impact the lives of students.
Throughout elementary and middle school, Kat disliked writing and reading, but through photography and music, she realized English was another form of art. During her sophomore year of college, she decided she wanted to be a high school English teacher to make a difference and encourage students to follow their dreams no matter how big they are.
"Ultimately, I plan on inspiring my students to not just believe this but know this is possible through me modeling this belief of mine in following my own dreams and making a difference," Kat explains. "I want to show kids that no matter your circumstance and no matter the obstacles you're facing, you are somebody who can make a difference and you are not just one thing."
As a child, Kat always had a plan to advocate for and save the sharks. To this day, she holds to that plan and hopes to use it to show students that anyone can make a difference. She states, "No one is just one thing, and the effect you can have through the different roles you hold in life is unlimited. I don't just want to tell my students this. I want to model it by making a difference. I am a sister, a teacher, a coach, a photographer and a shark lover. I want to show them you can make a difference so they not only believe they can but so they know that they can."
When Kat was in the Miss New Mexico pageant in 2016, the "Miss Congeniality" winner made her platform "Shark Conservation and Shark Finning Awareness," so she could bring attention to the issue. She has plans up her sleeve to bring change to this issue that she is so passionate about.
To others in her career field, Kat advises: "Remember why you choose to teach. You're not in this field because it's easy, you're there to make a difference. Have your support system in place to help you when it gets hard and when you need a reminder why you chose this field."
Kat's older sister and brother-in-law, Deanna and Hank Delgado, in addition to her cousin, Kelsey Johnson, were all attending Eastern when Kat was choosing a university. With their encouragement, Kat chose to attend ENMU. She feels "more blessed then I deserve because I was able to attend Eastern for two years with Deanna and best friend, Katelyne Woodruff. Not only were we attending school together but all three of us were in Chi Omega as well. Being able to go to college and share the sorority with Deanna and Kate was an experience I would not change for the world. Even though Eastern and Chi Omega brought us closer together, we were sisters long before it.
"Eastern provides you with amazing opportunities to help you grow and develop that you can't get easily at other universities. Eastern's community of students are so unified and the kindness and encouragement you find on campus help you to be involved and make so many friends. The care and consideration of the teachers help you to remember you are somebody, not just a name on a large class roster," states Kat.
This Greyhound, who has been on the Dean's list for six semesters, commemorates mentors in her life, Dr. Kathleen Wagner and Mrs. Limpkie, for encouraging her through both the easy and difficult times. "They not only helped with the academic aspect, but they are always supportive of me when I was super excited about my degree and also when I hit a roadblock," Kat says.
Carol Singletary and Marissa Garduno-DaSilva have also been mentors to Kat during her time at Eastern, as she is able to go to them for advice in her future career and her life.
Kat credits Dr. Micah Donohue as her all-time favorite professor. She explains, "He inspires me with his knowledge and shows me how many ways English is an art form. The excitement and passion that he radiates in the classroom are contagious, heightening my excitement to begin teaching. I aspire to be a teacher in the classroom like him but also continue to be a life-long learner as he is."
The senior had one class that was especially influential to her college career, "British Literature Survey II" taught by Dr. Carol Erwin. Kat declares, "It was this class that made me change my major to English with a secondary licensure so that way I could teach English as an art form to high school students instead of teaching it as a general education class that they have to take."
As a freshman, Kat joined Chi Omega, where she was named the model initiate of the fall 2015 pledge class. In 2016, she was voted to be the director of the sisterhood, which earned her an outstanding director award from the chapter. The same year, she was named the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi. Next, Kat served on the chapter's executive board for the past two years as the new member educator and this past December finished the last roles of her position as recruitment chair.
In the fall of 2017, Kat was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi Honors Society, which is an honor society for educators. She was elected to serve on the executive board for a two-year position as the secretary. She also became a member of Rho Lambda, the honor society for Greek women, in the spring of 2018.
Kat joined Eastern's choir, University Singers, in 2016 and has been able to sing with an elite choir led by Dr. Jason Paulk and his accompanist, Kayla Paulk. The choir room is Kat's favorite place on campus. She says, "Every time I walk into the choir room I am welcomed by friends and artists as well as a new day to make music. Dr. Paulk has reinforced my views of English as an art form as he guides us, his choir, to make the words come alive with emotion and music. The choir room is always a joy of mine and easily one of the best parts of my day."
In the little free time she has, Kat enjoys photography, going to the gym, running, swing dancing, learning about music and going to concerts.
Kat was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her father is a computer programmer, her mother is chair of the nursing program at National American University and her sister, Deanna, works at McNeese State University in Louisiana as the activities coordinator. She is excited to enter the working world alongside them and make them proud. Kat shares, "My family is my rock. They have shown me what hard work looks like. Their support and encouragement have made everything I have ever done possible."
Kat has one more semester in her undergrad before she begins her student teaching and will then graduate in May 2020. She plans to make the most of her last semester on campus by continuing to coach cross country and singing with the choir.