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Capital High School Math Teacher Carol McKay Named Capital Region 2017 Teacher of the Year

Capital High School Math Teacher Carol McKay has been named 2017 Regional Teacher of the Year by the Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113. 

McKay has been a teacher for 10 years, having spent the first part of her professional life in engineering and marketing positions.  McKay said she was ready for a change and, having been raised by two teachers, knew the impact they made on students’ lives.

During her tenure as a teacher, colleagues say McKay has worked tirelessly and successfully integrated her technical, problem-solving and communications skills into a successful career in the classroom. In a recent thank you note, a student wrote to McKay, “Thank you for being one of the best math teachers I ever had…your teaching style and constant support for all of your students are what make you great.”

McKay is one of nine candidates chosen by their respective regional ESDs and tribal schools as the 2017 Regional Teacher of the Year. A state selection committee will review and select one of the regional finalists as the Washington State Teacher of the Year. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is expected to make that announcement this fall.

Capital High School Co-Principal Michelle Anderson nominated McKay for the award. “Carol exemplifies a teacher willing to try new things,” Anderson said. “When she does this, she does it with full energy, enthusiasm and the willingness to give 100 percent to that endeavor.”

McKay was flattered by the nomination, but unsure she had the time to complete the next steps in the process (the submission of six essays and four letters of recommendation).  McKay had recently taken on the role of Math Department Head, and the team had been busy implementing a new curriculum all year.

At the urging of ESD 113, McKay decided to move forward with the process with only two weeks until the deadline.  She began to compile and write the six essays required for consideration including among other things, an essay on a major public education issue and her ideas on causes, effects and resolutions.  In addition, nominees were asked to select a platform on which they could support and advocate for if selected Teacher of the Year. 

McKay’s unpaid internship at a chemistry quality control lab during her senior year in high school inspired her platform for the competition. She described that experience as making a huge impression on her and steering her toward a college major in chemistry.

She said all high school students should have a job shadow experience because it can help them select a path that best aligns with their skills, abilities and interests.  McKay added that she sees too many students head off to a four-year college because someone said they should — not because they have a defined plan. Internships and job shadows help students figure out what they want to do with their lives, she said, — or, perhaps, what they don’t want to do.