By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Kristen Floyd was born and raised on the west side of Detroit, the oldest of 10 children. She says that although her father didn’t finish high school and never worked a traditional job, he always provided for the family and made sure their needs were met. Her mother worked in the healthcare field for a number of years and also cared for their family. Floyd attended Cass Technical High School earning high grades while participating in the National Honors Society, dance, and outside cheer program. She also worked several jobs throughout high school.
After high school, Floyd attended Eastern Michigan University and earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work. During her time at EMU, she was very active in student organizations, including student government, NAACP, Finesse Dance Team, and Phi Sigma Pi co-ed honors fraternity. She was most proud of becoming a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Delta Beta Chapter. Floyd always enjoyed working with children and families and plans to continue doing so. At some point in her career, she hopes to become a college professor. She has been serving as an Intervention Specialist at Forsythe Middle School for just over one year.
Floyd currently lives in Westland with her soon to be husband, Eric Reed. During her spare time, she loves traveling and spending time with family, especially her nieces. She also is an entrepreneur and owns several rental properties.
What do you remember most about your own years as a middle school student? I attended Ann Arbor Trail Magnet Middle School for 6th grade and completed 7th and 8th grade at Lessenger Middle School in Detroit. I remember my teachers being so hopeful and believing in me sometimes more than I believed in myself. My middle school experience still means a lot to me and plays a huge role in who I am today. One of my favorite memories was winning a 2nd gold ribbon at COBO’s Science Fair. I experimented on the heart rate of a microorganism called Daphnia. That win allowed me to travel to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. I also remember lifetime friendships I formed and how much of a positive influence we had on each other. I enjoyed being active in cheer and dance while also maintaining high grades.
What inspired you to become an intervention specialist? Prior to joining AAPS, I was a school social worker at a middle school in Detroit. I loved having the opportunity to play a part in helping youth grow and overcome dilemmas. I wanted to expand my efforts and broaden the population of students I worked with, which the intervention specialist role has allowed me to do so. I also worked with youth in Washtenaw County during my college years at Eastern Michigan University and as a cheerleading director for Maize Football and Cheer, so the youth of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti always had a special place in my heart.
What’s the best compliment anyone could give you? I’ve been told that I have a huge heart and I care about others sometimes more than I care about myself. Those compliments by far give me the motivation to continue advocating for those in need. Additionally, I’m really into beauty and fashion, so any compliment on my hair, nails, or clothes really makes my day.
In just over a year in AAPS, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned? The most important thing I’ve learned is that no child is the same. Many of us carry different weights and it takes strategic support to help a child find their balance.
Describe an average workday. Every morning at Forsythe I greet students and welcome them in. While each day can look different, I have check-ins with students I support while managing crises. Additionally, I hold focus meetings with each student I support to address academics and positive behavior support. I also run grade level groups where I incorporate Social Emotional Learning, Developmental Designs, and Restorative Practices.
What’s the happiest part of your day? I enjoy positive energy and the spirit of optimism as the school day unfolds; however, the happiest part of my day is being able to help a student solve an issue. This could be providing a snack, clothing, resources, and/or having a successful Restorative Circle. If I am able to create a better mood for a student having a not so good evening and/or morning by putting a smile on their face or making them laugh gives me joy.
How do you get kids to open up to you? Relationships are key and they take time to build. I always listen and never assume. Every day is a new day and I do my best to create an environment in which students feel safe and understood. I also do my best to connect with students by understanding cultural and generational differences.
What do you most want to say to parents of middle schoolers? Child growth and development is definitely a team effort. It is essential for AAPS staff and parents to partner and be on the same page in order for their child to achieve academic and personal growth. Positive extrinsic motivation is key, which includes not only rewarding youth but also holding them accountable for attaining goals.
How do you show school spirit? I love seeing our students thrive in areas they are passionate about, so I attend games or programs any chance I get. I also love wearing my Forsythe Middle School hoodie. Go Vikings!
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job is having the ability to provide individual catered support to students I cross paths with. I enjoy developing relationships with students and their families. It’s rewarding to use past instruction, skill sets, and lived experiences as a connection tool in helping students maximize their full potential.
How do you recharge? I do my best to eat as healthy as possible and exercise daily. Physical and mental health is a high priority as well as spiritual health. I’ve been meal prepping each week for almost two years and I also look forward to attending Bible study and Sunday services at Reach Church in Ypsilanti. Spending time with family and friends on the weekends always help me stay balanced as well.