Yes girl

Letting Things Go

Sarah Kirchoff Uncategorized

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I am a yes girl. “Mrs. Kirchoff, will you take the lead on this?” Yes. “Mrs. Kirchoff, will you write this up for us?” Yes. “Can you be on this committee?” Yes. “We are looking for volunteers to help out with this event, can anyone help?” I can help. My co-worker even bought me a “no” button from Staples and told me I need to use it more often. I was voted by my colleagues, “Most likely to volunteer for anything.”

It’s hard to find balance at work, but it can be especially difficult for someone, like myself, that has a hard time saying no and setting boundaries. I always want to work toward the betterment of the people I work with and the students I work for. I have been on multiple committees at a time on our campus because I just want to make sure that the position is covered, and everyone has what they need. Is there such a thing as being too involved? The simple answer is yes. At one point in my career, not too long ago, I was on the PTO board, site council, conduct committee, social committee, and the leadership team all at the same time. I just couldn’t say no. It was a huge commitment of my time and energy. I wanted everyone to have what they needed, so I just kept saying yes. Since 2020, I have come to some new realizations and made some changes. My family was so relieved!

When the pandemic made us utilize distance learning, all the committees and meetings either ended or went virtual. The amazing part was that the school still functioned. All of the committees that I was on and took up so much of my off-contract hours just stopped. It gave me freedom I didn’t realize I needed. It made me realize that although those events are wonderful for our school and our community, for me, it was a lot of my extra effort and time. I took a step back and realized these events would still happen successfully without me once we returned in person. It was hard for me to accept that I wasn’t needed as much, but I was appreciated. My co-workers and administration often thank me for my work and my dedication to our staff and my students, but the pandemic helped me to reset my priorities. One or two committees for one person is enough. I can help the school community and the staff in many ways and let other people step up and take the lead. At the beginning of the school year, I limited myself to two committees this year, well maybe three. It’s not easy to let go, but I am making small steps toward my goal of being a teacher leader and helping others to realize their potential as leaders and assist others in becoming teacher leaders at my site. It is not an easy transition for me, but my family really appreciates it. I am more available to them this year, and that matters to me. “Mom, can you help me?” Yes, of course I can!


Sarah Kirchoff is a kindergarten teacher in the Higley Unified School District. She has over 20 years of experience in early childhood education. She began her teaching career way back in August 1999, when everyone was worried about Y2K. She did not even have computers in her classroom at that time! Since then, she has taught first grade for four years, preschool for three years, second grade for two years and kindergarten for twelve years. She has worked for three different school districts during her teaching career. During this time, she has been able to identify which grade she found to be the most enjoyable. Her greatest teaching passion is for kindergarten. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. She was teacher of the year at her school in the 2019-2020 school year. Most recently, she became a National Board Certified Teacher as an Early Childhood Generalist in December of 2020. She currently serves on numerous committees at her school including school site council, the instructional leadership team, and the culture and climate team. She is a mentor teacher at her school and has mentored numerous interns and student teaching candidates. When she is not busy with school commitments, she spends time with her family. She has a husband who is also a teacher, and four children. Two of which are students at NAU and two that are in high school. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading books and spending time with family, friends and her two dogs. Young children need a teacher that is always advocating for them, socially, emotionally, and academically. Sarah wants every student she encounters to realize their potential and she is willing to help in any way she can. The impact early childhood educators have on students reaches far beyond their younger years. Sarah wants to leave a positive impact on her students so they can continue to have wonderful educational experiences beyond her classroom.

Comments 1

  1. Rachel Perugini

    It is really hard to step back after being so involved in committees and roles at school. I made the choice to not be a tech coach again this year because I wanted to free myself up for more personal time. It took me a while to come to the decision, because I didn’t want to let my colleagues down, but not a single one has been upset at my choice. We need to stop telling ourselves they will be.

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