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Instructor Spotlight: Kim Curiel

This month The Slice profiles LPIE instructor Kim Curiel, who is well-known at Lafayette’s elementary schools for her informative lessons about California’s Gold Rush history.

What do you do for LPIE and how long have you been doing it?

I teach the 4th grade Gold Rush program and have been doing that since 2002.

Tell us a little bit about your background in this area.

As someone very passionate about this time period, I came to my interview in full costume and wowed them with my enthusiasm. I have acquired about 15 different Gold Rush era costumes and enjoy teaching the students about how the fashion of the day kept most ladies away from the gold fields.

What is your favorite thing about teaching the age group that you work with?

Fourth graders are generally very enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoy the story telling aspect of the program.

What is the most surprising thing about your students?

They universally get very swept up in gold fever, which can be exciting to be around! Even when they know that the rocks are simply spray painted gravel, they are always eager to acquire more and more of it. They'll sing and dance, gamble and scramble on the ground looking for any dropped pieces.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Besides this program I teach garden classes at Burton Valley Elementary and have done that since 2006. Additionally I teach five living history programs at Wagner Ranch Nature Area in Orinda. When I'm not teaching I am almost always out hiking in the hills around my home.


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