|I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel compelled to try to make the world a better place or try to ease someone’s difficulties or discomfort. This overarching principle in my life was influenced by my parents, both nurturers, but in different ways. My mother is the poster child of a generous welcoming spirit; my father is the consummate educator, having taught physical education for almost 40 years in a small town in upstate New York.
From being the eldest of four children to Queen of my 4th grade class to high school Student Council President, my early years set the stage for leadership roles I’ve embraced throughout my life. In these roles I learned that, although systemic change can be slow and may occur in small steps, it can have a broad impact; and, compounded over time, people’s lives can be positively influenced in a sustainable fashion. Recognizing an opportunity to initiate systemic change was the basis for my formal engagement in government through elected office – first as legislator on the Otsego County, New York Board of Representatives (1986-1993) and then as Mayor of the City of Oneonta, New York (1998-2005).
Through these experiences, I learned that positive changes can occur by engaging stakeholders and empowering people with the tools and knowledge needed to seize opportunities and solve problems. At the same time, I recognized that it is critical for leaders of whatever ilk – teachers, mayors, presidents or principals – to implement effective decision-making to ensure that process doesn’t overwhelm or replace action.
| ESCORT’s work and the philosophy of its staff epitomize my perspective of how to make a direct and significant difference in people’s lives. Our work impacts educational systems at the state and local level, resulting in better education and a higher quality of life for targeted populations. We help administrators and educators identify and access data and research, and we develop effective strategies for implementation within their spheres of influence, whether that is in the classroom, the administrative office or out in the field. I am fortunate to be engaged with ESCORT staff members who so frequently go “above and beyond” the jobs required of them.
As Director, my work beyond leadership is primarily fiscal and administrative. Managing ESCORT’s contracts in compliance with federal and sponsor regulations provides an assurance to our contracting partners that their funds are being used to meet their expectations, further their missions, achieve their goals and realize their own visions.
Kim Muller became the Director of ESCORT in August 2010. Prior to that, she worked closely with the organization as Director of Sponsored Programs at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. She has administered hundreds of federal/state contracts, grants and subcontracts over 20 years and has vast expertise in overall program management, staffing, evaluation, and contract/grant management. Kim has also been actively engaged in local and state government; she served as Mayor of the City of Oneonta (1998-2005) and as an Otsego County Representative (1986-1993).