by Lauren Tashjian
Seven years ago, Immanuel High School hired a new addition to the English department. Now one of the main English teachers on campus, Mimi Kriegbaum has become an inspiration to more than a few students, including myself. Before Immanuel, she taught kindergarten in Cutler, Ca, and transitioning from small children to young adults seemed to be the best decision for her.
Growing up in a small town in Indiana, Mimi had a very rough start. Her mother died when she was fourteen years old. She stated in a recent interview, that her mother dying was the most defining moment of her life. “I was left with an alcoholic father and I realized at that moment I was meant for something way bigger.”
Growing up, Mimi said books changed her life. “Growing up in such a dysfunctional home, books were my escape,” she stated. “I wanted to give other people the same love of literature that I had. That’s why I became a teacher.”
Mimi Kriegbaum has shown many young adults including myself, her love of literature and has inspired so many to continue to read and yearn for more knowledge. I asked Mrs. Kriegbaum in our interview a curious question: “If you had to teach one author all year, who would it be?” Her answer? John Steinbeck, because of how diversified he is. Mimi pushes each student to pursue books and challenges us more and more each day. She knows every person has potential and she wants us to reach it so badly. Her love of literature is poured into her classes; she shows her passion everyday on the Immanuel campus.
Mrs. Kriegbaum has other passions. She strongly believes in health and she also loves to study psychology. “I study and worry about health because I want to feel good all the time. It takes a lot of energy to teach and if I don’t feel good, I am doing a disservice to my kids. I study psychology because I strongly believe it is the foundation of life. I always want to know why. It helps me understand and analyze others and myself. If I can understand people, I can read anything.” Mimi wants to know why people do what they do; it helps her understand characters in a book and why the author wrote each page.
Mimi has now been married for twenty-seven years to Arnie Kriegbaum. They have two daughters, Haleigh and Samantha. She currently teaches English 2P (sophomores), American Literature (juniors), and Critical Reading and Writing (seniors). Mrs. Kriegbaum continues to show her passion and love for literature every day and still finds books as her escape. She has been such an inspiration in my life and I hope that one day I will show others amazing literature and spread the love as well.