Caps Off to Retirees: McKinney


Mary Ann McKinney has been an English teacher for 30 years, all at Warren Hills. One of McKinney’s inspirations was her fifth-grade teacher, who taught basic journalism.  McKinney said her  teacher would send students around the school to find something to write an article about. It was a competitive, first-come, first-served process.

McKinney said one time she had found the only place not yet being covered was the Nurse’s Office

“The nurse was checking students for scoliosis, so I had to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could,” she said. “I thought it would be boring to write about, but the article actually turned out to be pretty good. I think I headlined  it: ‘Is Your Spine Crooked?  The Nurse Can Check!’” 

In response to the question of something she wished she’d known when she first began teaching, McKinney said she would’ve liked to have known more about the politics of education and “how funding and curricular decisions are made into law, how and why public education is affected by the political pendulum and lobbyists.”

McKinney said while she doesn’t always remember students’ names, she almost always recalls their uniqueness. 

 “I remember their personalities, their interests, their struggles, something they wrote, what they had dreamed of becoming,” she said. “When I bump into them, they are usually surprised that I remember as much as I do.”

For students who are thinking about following a similar career path, McKinney advised having a Plan B and C in case Plan A doesn’t pan out.   

“Keep your head on a swivel, keep your sense of humor, keep snacks for students,” she continued, “and good luck!”