Staff Spotlight: Kristin Garner

Let’s get to know the director of our High Hopes Pediatric Therapy Clinic: Kristin Garner. Kristin has served on the High Hopes Board of Directors and as our Clinic Director for more than 13 years, in addition to being the proud parent of three High Hopes alumni. She lives in Franklin with her husband Todd, their three children (eldest son Carson, and younger daughters Dylann and Emmy), and their “little white fluffball” of a dog (Ozzy). We sat down with Kristin to learn about the journey she took to get here, the role she plays in our organization, and the adventures of her life outside these walls. This is what we learned. Originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area, Kristin completed her undergraduate studies as well as her PT schooling at Ohio University. It was there that she met her husband Todd, who was also studying to become a physical therapist. After graduating from PT school, she and Todd moved together to northern Ohio and worked there for a year. “But it was a really cold winter, lots of snow,” she remembers with distaste. They had been to visit Nashville, because Todd’s parents had retired to the area to follow Todd’s sister and her husband, who is in the music industry. They had always liked the area, so they decided to relocate to Nashville the following year, to see how they liked it. That was in 2001, and they’ve been here ever since. Before joining High Hopes, Kristin worked as a physical therapist in both Akron and Nashville. She worked in a children’s hospital in Akron, as well as working with some schools to provide physical therapy services to students there. Once in Nashville, Kristin began work as a PT at Vanderbilt, where she stayed for five years. At Vanderbilt, Kristin worked in the Newborn and Pediatric Intensive Care Units. She also worked a little in the outpatient department and specialty clinics. It was during her time at Vanderbilt that Kristin was introduced to High Hopes while searching for childcare for her own children. “The staff at High Hopes were so welcoming and caring and I valued the inclusive environment for my children. I was confident that I found the perfect place for my kids to grow and learn while I worked.” She became involved as a parent and was soon asked to serve as a parent representative on the High Hopes Board of Directors. After a short stint on the Board, the Executive Director and Clinic Director asked Kristin to consider leaving Vanderbilt to head up the Therapy Department at High Hopes. So, in November of 2006, she made the move to High Hopes. She has worked as the Clinic Director ever since. Now, almost 12 years later, Kristin is still excited to be here. She’s passionate about these families and these kids. She works with her friends. She loves what they get to do every day. “I really do enjoy coming to work and doing what I do.” As the clinic director, Kristin’s role is challenging and varied in nature. “I get to organize the craziness of the clinic!” she jokes, and that is no small task. There’s a lot that happens behind-the-scenes of any therapy session: medical records, prescriptions, how things are paid and reimbursed, insurance issues, session notes, and more all fall under Kristin’s authority. She is always looking for ways to make the clinic more efficient. “My role is to figure out what’s in the best interest of the kids and the mission, but then, being fiscally responsible at the same time.” She is grateful to work at a non-profit, where the mission is the bottom line. The clinic has grown leaps and bounds under Kristin’s leadership, but it is a top priority for her to keep the close, welcoming, family environment High Hopes has always enjoyed. “We try and keep all the benefits of a big clinic, with the feel of a small practice,” she says. “For the most part, we all know every