‘My father is my inspiration,’ Halcyon teacher says

Melissa McKenney says her father taught her how to be an educator.
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 1:23 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:22 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some days, it’s hard to tell if Melissa McKenney is a teacher at Halcyon Elementary School or a doctor. She’s usually wearing scrubs and a stethoscope because she says in her classroom, “she performs surgery and saves lives.”

Mckenney said she came up with the idea after recent state testing revealed they had low test scores. She said her goal is to “resuscitate the scores and her students’ spirits.”

“I said, ‘we’re not going to shy away from it. We’re going to own it. So, we decided that I was the doctor, and I was going to help fix it, and we’re going to stop this bleeding,” McKenney said, “I tell my students that in our small groups, that’s where we perform surgery, find the issue, and repair it.”

The principal at Halcyon Elementary School said McKenney is always coming up with creative and inspiring ideas for her classroom and the entire school.

McKenney said she learned everything there is to know about being an educator, at home, from her father. He’s been teaching at Carver High School in Montgomery for 32 years. She had an emotional message for the man she calls her true inspiration.

“You have no idea the impact that you’ve made and the impact that you continue to make, and I know that I am a living witness and the testimony of all of the hard work that you’ve put in and it’s not in vain,” McKenney said.

McKenney said she hopes she can continue making him proud by pouring herself into her students. For ten years now, she’s been teaching English and social studies and loves fifth graders.

“This is the age group where if we don’t catch them right now, we’re going to lose them forever,” McKenney added. “To my fellow teachers, keep going, keep doing it; we are making a difference.”

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