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Powerful Women: Let's Talk – 81: Kristyn Bomberg

Kristyn Bomberg
Kristyn Bomberg

Kristyn Bomberg, Kristyn is the Education Supervisor at WGVU Public Media, joins us on this edition of Powerful Women: Let’s Talk

Kristyn is the Education Supervisor at WGVU Public Media. Her career has centered around working with marginalized and vulnerable children in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals and recreation programs. Kristyn is passionate about creating equitable access to opportunities and resources that support children, families and educators.

Powerful Women: Let’s Talk is created by WGVU NPR and made possible by WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Full Transcript:


Intro: produced by women about women. Powerful women. Let's talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world transforming who we are and how we live.


Jennifer Moss: Hello everyone. It is time for powerful women. Let's talk. Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Jennifer Moss and it is a pleasure to bring you today's powerful woman.

Kristyn Bomberg. Kristyn is the education supervisor right here at WGVU public media.

Her career has centered around working with marginalized and vulnerable children

in a variety of school settings, including schools, hospitals and recreation programs

prior to her current position at WGVU Kristyn worked as a K through 12 teacher and coordinated educational programming in higher education. And so, we are glad to welcome you. Kristyn Bomberg to powerful women. Let's talk.

Kristyn Bomberg: Thanks, Jennifer.

Jennifer Moss: We're happy to have you here a little more about you before we dive in.

You are passionate about creating equitable access to opportunities and resources that support all children, families and educators in meeting education outcomes and strongly believe that listening to the community is key to developing effective programming. You say that through trusted relationships within the ecosystem in which children learn you have focused on actively working alongside partners. Parents and educators on local initiatives

along with curating pre-K through 12 educational content and experiences based on community needs you work with your team here at WGVU to share WGVU’s free tools and the resources that you have for students, educators and families in order to foster that curiosity and nurture lifelong learning expand the scope of voices and provide trusted windows to our diverse world of possibilities. You've also been involved here at WGVU in by leaps and bounds it is a radio series and podcast, right. And PBS edcamp West Michigan, cool teacher, education celebration a lot more the list can go on and on and on. But again, Kristyn, we do. Thank you for joining us today. You are very passionate about your work and about education and for those of us who work here with you, WGVU. We know that it is very evident. I read a bit about you. But I'd love for you to share a little more about your details about your work in education and really why it is important to expand the scope of voices. I mention that. And then to curate content based on the community's needs. Tell me about that.

Kristyn Bomberg: I think it's really important to ask the community what they need. Parents are the experts on their children. Teachers are the experts on their students and

it really makes sense. We have these great resources and it really make sense to create something that they need that they want that they'll use that really benefits children and their educational outcomes. And we know the importance of representation in media, in books, in learning for children and how powerful that can be to creating meaningful learning and for just boosting their sense of self. And when kids feel safe. When kids feel seen there are more likely to take in that learning piece. So, at WGVU we have a ton of really great free resources.

And it's really getting them out in the community and there's so much in West Michigan

organized around education, especially early childhood. Each County has different things going on. And so it's really coming alongside those things are already happening and seeing where we might fit how we can support using their platforms to help amplify what's going on there and just being a presence letting them know that we're there to support what they're doing and to plug in in a way where we can bring something to the table as well.

Jennifer Moss: And those tools and resources that are provided free again, from WGVU. They're very popular, aren't they. People are really utilizing those tools.

Kristyn Bomberg: Yeah. One of the big ones is learning media, which is platform. PBS has it's free and there's about 30,000 different resources that are state and national standards aligned

and the other platforms PBS kids for parents. There's a ton of resources on their activities and things that parents can specifically do with their children. But it really makes what parents and teachers are doing gives them a little bit, especially parents a little bit more confidence because I think parents struggle to know if what they're doing right or identifying. What makes sense to them in a way that that they're actually doing learning. They may not think that the game they're playing with their child at the table where they're sorting colored goldfish is actually math, but it is. And so, I really enjoy helping parents. See what they're doing is really being their child's first teacher and then supporting parents and teachers and working together in that journey as children go through the school system

Jennifer Moss: and it helps the parents to gives them a boost of confidence to know that they are actually impacting positively their child's education. So, tell me what your favorite is

thing about education.

Kristyn Bomberg: ugh

Jennifer Moss: let you count the ways, right? There is probably so many.

Kristyn Bomberg: I really, I love being with the kids. It was just the things that I was able to get my students to do that. They were willing to do was so much fun and I love going back into classrooms, especially I will say especially the early childhood and early elementary classrooms. It's fun I’ll often, you know, get to sit down and just kids will make me something to eat in their play kitchen or want me to dress up or they want to read a story with me.

But a lot of times you just kind of leave with a hug and kids are just such a wonderful little being. And I just feel so strongly that every child deserves the opportunity to discover the love of learning and to find their full potential and to chase their dreams. And we can't do that adequately without giving every child that opportunity. And that means making sure that every family and every school have equitable access to resources and all of those kids have equitable opportunities in their learning, but also in meeting some of those other needs a lot of schools, especially early childhood programs have parent coalitions or parent groups or outreach with parents to help kind of again create that cohesive school home connection, which is incredibly important.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely. And discovering the joy of learning is so key for our young people.

I want to ask. So, we should mention that you and your team have won awards for that cool teacher contests. That's the Michigan Association of Broadcasters or MAB awards

as well as being a finalist for the award for by leaps and bounds. Tell us about cool teacher. I love that. And I think that is something that, you know, really brings the community. The students together in ways to honor their teachers, which again, teachers being so important to our community. Love cool teacher tell me about that.

Kristyn Bomberg: Yeah, it's a program where students nominate their teachers.

So, they write in. They fill out a form and tell us what's great about their teacher and it's a program WGVU has been doing for about 20 plus years. So, I've only been part of it for about the last 5, but it is it's a really fun way to help Students have that opportunity to say thank you to give back and for teachers to have the opportunity to have that that accolade. It really is meaningful to many teachers. They're always so taken aback and very nervous to be on camera and obviously having a camera come into their classroom. But we bring, you know, a snack or treat or an activity. And we just kind of come in and we really want to highlight

what's going on in classrooms. Give people a real picture of what education today might look like. It's writing. Doesn't look like kids sitting at their desks with paper and pencil. It looks very different. There might be all kinds of different activities that are building those literacy and writing skills that again, people may not realize that that's what it really is. And because it looks different than maybe when they were in school. So, it's a really great program.

It's fun and I'm it's we get to the schools are so welcoming and excited. And I love going into the schools and seen, you know, the different artwork they have hanging up the student work, just all the creative ways that they, you know, put together their school community.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely. That is awesome. And so. As we look at powerful women. Let's talk. You know, we take a deeper dive into not only what women do but how they got there and how sharing their journey might help others. That's kind of our purpose and point. So, as you travel along your journey have there. If you encountered perhaps any barriers along the way.

Kristyn Bomberg: I wouldn't call it a barrier because it was a choice I made. And I think having choice is really important and empowering to be able to have that choice.

But I made the decision to step away from working full time to be home with my kids. And it was wonderful and crazy. And I think there's something about teachers where we're so used to having so much on our plate that we have all of this. I had all of this extra energy and this mental energy. So, I kind of Drove my family. Maybe a little crazy with. I can do. I can do that. I'd see something and think I could do that type of a phase. And so yeah, I think the barrier came in when I decided that it was time to go back and had to figure it all out again.

It was almost like starting over where I had to figure out what we want to do. What? What am I qualified to do?

Jennifer Moss: A lot of women face that when they decide to stay home and reentering into the workforce.

Kristyn Bomberg: Yeah. Yeah. And in interviewing is really it can be really tough, and you have to push through that frustration and not feel discouraged. And I just really wanted to do something that was meaningful, something that was involving education.

But it was hard to know what that was or what that looks like.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely. Because things change, especially with it, depending on how long you're often stay at home. It's a whole different world when you get back into it, been there. In education. You have to take a stand. On behalf of the children and the families that you serve or just in life. Even in dealing with obstacles or any kind of barrier. As we mentioned.

What's the taken for you to kind of find your own voice, you know, too so that you can take that stand, especially for inroads and in education finding your voice so that you're comfortable in saying, OK, this is what we need to do.

Kristyn Bomberg: I think it's a journey. There's for women in general. There's a lot of if you think about the different ways that we, you know, intersectional identify as just as women as a whole. There's a lot of confusing and conflicting messages about who are supposed to be. Well, how are supposed to behave of what we're supposed to look like. And I think part of developing that sense of self-worth is pushing through that and figuring out who you are at your core and what who you want to be. And I it's a journey to get there.

I think a lot of what changed for me was seeing the world through my students’ eyes and seeing the world through children's eyes and really it built my empathy. It built my patience. It built my sense of purpose in the world. I think to want to create these opportunities for children. I thought about my students. And you know what, interested them. What

made them tick and my kids. And I think it's finding your voice is about finding your passion. It's about finding yourself all in the mix. And I guess just kind of chopping through all of the other stuff. That is kind of getting in the way of that.

Jennifer Moss: Yeah. And finding out what makes you, you so that you can stand strong in that as well. So, tell me, you work with a lot of people. What are some of the leadership traits that you like to see in those around you and yourself and others? You know, what is that piece that you're looking for as you work on various projects and do different things.

Kristyn Bomberg: That's a good question. I really think being self-aware is a huge part of being a good leader. I want to work with somebody who really values the people they're working with and values. Their team, someone who listens and asks questions. Someone who is really invested in the success of those around them. I think those are really key in building a good team and in building good teams. You find that you just kind of do better work.

Jennifer Moss: Okay. So, we talk about let's move into your personal life a little bit. Always have to jump in there a little bit. You have a busy family life. You have 4 children. Tell us how you balance it all because again, I know you stopped and went back to stop working to raise the kids and do that. But you still are working, and you still have 4 kids, you know, various places. How did you all manage that you and your husband how do you manage having such a busy life and being a teacher. It's impactful in your own person because you are committed to them. You are also committed to your own children. There's a lot of emotion there. Tell me how you balance all of that out.

Kristyn Bomberg: My life is very much in order. Thanks to calendars. Ha-ha work calendar, Google calendar. But it really is a team effort. You know, we some weeks are little crazier than others. And we have everybody in her house who has somewhere to be at some point in the week. And so, it's really just who can do what and who can be where

Jennifer Moss: make sure you look at the calendar,

Kristyn Bomberg: right and use that calendar. But it also is just a lot about. I think you have to schedule in that down time. And you know, for me right now. work doesn't always feel like work. I really like what I do. I'm like the people that I work with. Really, it's just fun for me. So, I have to I do have to be cognizant of the fact that I have to

Jennifer Moss: separate and balance.

Kristyn Bomberg: I have to. Yeah, I have to take time. I have to make time. And so, we do try to schedule in and set that time were not in go mode and where we can do something like just have a lazy evening with the kids or do something fun or travel or go somewhere because it's important if you're going to be scheduled like that. Also make sure that your scheduling, you know that time where you. It's fun.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely that down time with the kids and they always, of course, appreciate that. so, my easy breezy question, what makes you laugh? Because in today's age with everything from the pandemic to so many things going on in life.

We need laughter is good for the soul what makes you laugh.

Kristyn Bomberg: Probably. I mean, my family, my husband and my kids make me laugh a lot.

We're a pretty we have a lot of dry humor and definitely some sarcasm sprinkled in there.

So, I laugh hardest when someone in my family does like a kind of a smart funny Mike drop moment where, you know, you didn't really expect us and they weren't really trying to be funny, but it just ends up. Turns out that way at. And I think to we my pets, my dogs and a cat. And they I love animals.

Jennifer Moss: I was going to say you are an animal lover, right.

Kristyn Bomberg: I am. Yeah. In fact, I recently noticed I'm on. All of the animal toks on TikTok.

And that's I do think maybe I could secretly some days be maybe a hobby farmer or maybe a zookeeper. But

Jennifer Moss: the secret life of Kristyn Bomberg

Kristyn Bomberg: But also. I you know, maybe I should go back to my career plans when I was 9 and be a marine biologist. So, you know,

Jennifer Moss: never too late, right. But we love what doing. No, we want to keep you here. So.

Kristyn Bomberg: Yeah, it's just you know, I it's it. Little things. You know, the little things in life that just bring that that little bit of joy.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely little things can be really big things actually. So, tell us, you know, a lot of times as we talk, and we have these conversations. People are looking just for that.

Just a little word of encouragement or something any mottos or anything that you use to encourage yourself, encourage your kids or your family


Kristyn Bomberg: I Really like Renee Brown and some of her things that she has said and one of them that stuck with me is that growth and comfort. It cannot coexist that, you know, we have to step into courage and discard comfort. If you want to if we want to grow. And I think it's really important time, you know, in my life, too, really. You kind of think about that path of growth that it's a journey. It's a path that we're on.

Jennifer Moss: well said move out of that comfort zone.

Kristyn Bomberg: Yeah, Like today

Jennifer Moss: so glad you joined us today I truly am glad Kristyn Bomberg that you joined us for today's edition of powerful women. And of course, we want to thank you, too, for joining us as well. We'll see you next time. I'm Jennifer Moss


Outro: Produced by women about when these powerful podcast focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live.

Want to hear more powerful women. Let's talk get additional interviews at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcast, please rate and subscribe powerful women.

Let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Myer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU.

Its underwriters are Grand Valley State University.


Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.
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