This column serves as a spotlight, highlighting the everyday people who work and live in Callaway County. The Fulton Sun takes a moment with someone who is not usually featured in the news but is just as instrumental in making our community the strong and beautiful place we all know and love.
Karen Snethen was born and raised in western Kentucky. She moved to central Missouri when she and her husband married in 1990, and have been in Fulton ever since. Snethen has two children, Andrew and Rachel.
She started her career with Fulton Public Schools as a science teacher for seventh and eighth grade, and after a year of that went to solely teaching seventh grade. In 2000, she moved to the high school and worked as the library media specialist until she started her current position as the director of school and community relations in 2012 and has been there for nine years. Though she loves FPS, she has decided to retire at the end of June to take on a new role as "Mimi," where she will spend her days with her grandson.
Q: What was your first job?
My first job was working on the farm with my dad. We raised veal calves. I can remember going to the field with him and helping him fill the planter with corn seed and riding on the tractor and in the combine. So my first job was really on the farm.
I think my first job in the public was at Walmart in Mayfield, Kentucky. I worked in the stock room. That was back when you put the green stickers with the price tags on things so I would go in at night put the stickers on all the cans and stuff. So that was my first job in the public. And then you know I've had various jobs through the years but then landed in Fulton Public Schools.
Q: Who inspires you most?
I would have to say, at this point in my life, my children because I always wanted to instill in them the value of hard work and working for what you have. I wanted them to see me in that way so they in turn inspired me to be the best that I could be.
Q: What have you done in your life that has been the most fulfilling?
Raising my children would be number one. And my work with Fulton Public Schools would probably be number two.
Q: What is something you are proud of that you have been recognized for?
I received the David W. White Outstanding Service and Education Award for some work I had done at the library at the high school. I'm very proud of that.
And then when Proposition K passed in 2018 and Proposition S passed in 2020 in June. I worked really, really hard on those two things for the school district and for the voters to pass those two issues — I feel really good about those things. It's so exciting to think about what is going to be in place when those children come back to school in the fall. Then next year, the gym at the high school will start, too. It's just fun to watch.
I haven't necessarily been recognized for this work, but it's something that I'm really proud of that we have done since I have been with Fulton Public Schools, is the establishment of Bright Futures. That experience has been so humbling and so fulfilling.
Q: If you can do any job in the world, what would it be?
I might want to work at a beach resort. Yeah, I think that might be it.
Q: What is a job you wouldn't want to do?
I would never want to be on a line in a factory where I had to stand and do the same thing over and over again. My current job every day is different. It was that way in the classroom and the library — no two days have ever been the same. I couldn't do it. I couldn't work in a cubical either; I need people.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Callaway County?
Callway County has been my home for the last 31 years; it's a very giving community, I've seen that through Bright Futures; I've seen that as we've gone to the polls with different things. Then within Fulton Public Schools, it's like family. People would give you their shirt off their back if you asked them, if they saw you needed something. It's the same way with this community. They give and they give and they give, it's amazing.
This article was edited on June 15, 2021, to correct misspelling in the headline.