Dr. Keyes Splits Her Time Between the Homestead and School


As playful baby goats rolled around inside empty barrels, Dr. Cheri Keyes gathered chicken eggs, pet her barn kitty, and said, “Good morning” to her dog Molly.

When she is not spending time with her husband Gregg taking care of animals on their farm, Dr. Keyes is coaching teachers in how to improve student learning.

The people are what Dr. Keyes really enjoys about Kimmons.

“Everyone is so kind and welcoming,” Dr. Keyes said.

Before coming here, Dr. Keyes taught English Language Learners (ELLs) Language Arts, Reading, and Math in Farmington, Bentonville, Springdale, and Fayetteville. This is her 24th year in education and her third time working as an instructional specialist.

A previous principal encouraged Dr. Keyes to pursue leadership. Thus, she earned a Specialist in Education Leadership and a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Arkansas Tech University and transitioned from classroom teacher to instructional specialist.

“When I talked to my fellow teachers, they all said that I would be good at leadership because I was already helping and encouraging teachers and finding resources for them,” Dr. Keyes said.

The biggest challenge Dr. Keyes has had as an instructional specialist is knowing when and how to help teachers.

“I never want to give teachers (or students for that matter) the idea that I do not believe in them,” Dr. Keyes said.

One of Dr. Keyes’ fondest moments as an educator is of the time she worked with a student who would come and talk to her often about her struggles.

“She grew multiple grade levels in reading that year,” Dr. Keyes said. “At the end of the year, she came to me, thanked me for helping her, gave me a big hug, and kissed me on the cheek. In her culture, kissing someone on the cheek like that is a sign that you consider that person to be a member of your family.”