Follett Community Member Spotlight: Kenny McKee
Lora Cain's Interview with Kenny McKee, High School Literacy and Instructional Coach, Buncombe County Schools, Asheville, North Carolina. Named one of ASCD's Emerging Leaders for 2014.
Lora Cain: What led you to this career path?
Kenny McKee: I realized that I had a passion for working with other teachers in this capacity when I became a National Board Support Provider. After that experience, I continued participating in opportunities to develop and encourage professional learning. That work built my own instructional capacity and leadership skills until I had the confidence to apply for an instructional coaching position in my district.
Lora Cain: What are your day to day responsibilities?
Kenny McKee: Each day is different. On most days, I am working with teachers planning instruction that supports students learning. Sometimes I demonstrate instructional practices in classrooms; other times teachers and I instruct together. Sometimes I observe and collect data for the teacher. I also can be found researching professional articles and creating resources. Most afternoons, I am working with different school teams including Literacy Leadership Teams.
Lora Cain: How do you inspire learning?
Kenny McKee: I inspire learning by sharing my own learning. Excitement about learning is contagious for educators and students. It is rare that an hour goes by that I do not share something I learned from professional reading, browsing Twitter, working with students, or watching a colleague teach. Learning is fun, and it makes you feel good.
Lora Cain: What are your thoughts about being named an Emerging Leader by ASCD?
Kenny McKee: It’s an amazing opportunity. ASCD sets the standard for how exceptional educational leadership looks. I am sure that I will grow immensely as a result of being involved in the Emerging Leaders program. I believe that it will be an experience that will change my life.
Lora Cain: What did you do that caught ASCD’s attention?
Kenny McKee: I’m not completely sure. ASCD and I both share a passion for professional learning. I am involved in multiple professional organizations. I learn professionally from a variety of social media as well, especially Twitter. In addition, being an instructional coach gives me a unique perspective of the leadership in school organizations. I am one type of instructional leader, but I interact with a cross-section of teacher leaders, media specialists, administrators, district personnel, and other personnel everyday. These collaborations provide insight into the many levels of responsibility that influence teaching and learning.
I knew I made the right career choice when: I realized that I was learning as much from students and colleagues as I was teaching. Most teachers love to learn, and enjoy their work more when they view themselves as learners.
If teaching hadn’t been an option for me, my second choice for a career would have been: a financial planner or film director.
How I use and interact with Follett products: I have used the Follett database to help me align students with books that better meet their reading interests and quantitative reading levels.Although I do not have my own budget for books, I have ordered books from Follett with grants I have co-written with classroom teachers.I have also consulted with media specialists and ESL teachers when they ordered texts in order to represent a wide range of reading levels and interests in their collections.
For professional development, I’m currently reading Falling in Love with Close Reading by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts.
For fun, I’m currently reading: The Stand by Stephen King.
As a child, my favorite book was: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
Something most people don’t know about me is: Sometimes I am loud because I have trouble hearing.
Among my friends/colleagues, I’m best known for: My Thriller dance, but I think it may be retired now!
Among my friends/colleagues, I’m the go-to person for: vocabulary instruction. I am fascinated by general academic and domain-specific vocabulary acquisition.
As a student, my favorite part about school was: Writing. I actually wish that we had done more writing.
I can’t go a day without: Listening to education and movie podcasts.
My personal motto is actually one of Stephen Covey’s, “Be a light, not a judge; be a model, not a critic.” I find that I have more influence and impact when this motto guides my actions.