U-46 Team Member Karla Jimenez

Karla Jimenez, Family & Community Engagement Coordinator in the School & Community Relations Department

Karla Jimenez

What are some of your daily work responsibilities?
Every day looks different - I answer parent phone calls, plan events, plan parent leadership training sessions and webinars, and conduct outreach with our community partners.

How long have you worked for U-46?
Sixteen years.

What is it like to work for the District where you attended school and from which you graduated and what does it mean to you?
I am always proud to say that I am a U-46 graduate and it is fun to work alongside the teachers and principals that I once had! Now, my children, nieces, and nephews get to attend the schools I went to.

Which U-46 schools did you attend?
Sunnydale and Channing elementary schools, Ellis Middle School, and Elgin High School.

What year did you graduate from high school?

What was your favorite subject and why?
Math! I've always loved math - it was always easy for me to understand. I will never forget my high school calculus teacher, Mr. DeHaan! He made it so fun and extremely easy to understand.

One of my least favorite classes was English and it was the class I did the best. My teachers would always say I should go into a career that involved writing. I always thought to myself, no way! And look at me now!

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My sixth-grade teacher, Ms. McMurray. She wasn’t only a teacher, she was someone I confided in when I was facing many family struggles.

Please share a favorite memory from your time as a student in U-46.
U-46 gave me lots of wonderful memories with many great teachers and friends. One memory that stands out is when my sixth-grade teacher, Ms. McMurray, would walk home with me and fellow students. She always wanted to build a relationship with the parents of her students. By her walking home with us, it gave her the opportunity to build that relationship and connect in-person with parents. This came in handy for me when it came time for our sixth-grade camping trip! 

In my Mexican culture, sleepovers (with family or friends,) are not very popular. School is strictly for learning, so going on the camping field trip for a few days was an automatic no from my parents. When she walked us home, she was able to convince my mom to let me go on the camping trip. My mom then felt comfortable letting me go and for that I will always be appreciative of Ms. McMurray. The trip was an unforgettable experience.

Please share a favorite memory of working in U-46.
My favorite thing about working in U-46 has been getting to continue my relationship with my past classmates and being able to help them with their children's educational journey. In addition, my role has not only allowed me to make an impact within the District itself, but in all the communities it serves. I take pride in the moments where I get  to represent U-46 in community efforts that change the lives of our students and their families - such as Census, Project Backpack, Dream Moms, Basket Brigade, Mobile Food Pantries, and many more. I feel it’s a way for me to give back to a school system and community that provided so much for my family.

Briefly describe your post-secondary college and/or career experience.
After graduating from high school, I went to college to pursue a degree in computer programming. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Systems from DeVry and later obtained a Masters in Public Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management.

What important life or academic lesson did you learn in U-46?
One thing I learned from school was to advocate for myself. Having the courage and finding the way to have the best education I could have was a priority for me and my family.

Do you have children attending U-46 schools? If so, which schools?
Yes, I have one child in elementary school and one in high school.