Kathleen McKinley

Kathleen McKinley

Role

As a special education teacher, I work with students, parents and staff to support each child’s individualized learning needs and help them reach their highest potential. I collaborate with many different teams to provide everything a child needs to reach his or her goals. My mission is to create a safe and fun environment in which all children can succeed and achieve their full potential. I strive to inspire students to become lifelong learners and I am so excited for the opportunity to work with such amazing students, families and staff this year!

Professional Background

I have always loved working with children and dreamed of becoming a teacher. During high school and throughout college, I volunteer taught in Haiti and Kenya, where I spent my time teaching English at an orphanage and K-5 in a rural school with no electricity or running water. It was an eye-opening experience that made me want to make a difference and be a light in someone’s life every day. What better opportunity than to teach! I completed my Bachelors of Science in Psychology at George Mason University, where I volunteered and taught at a post-secondary special education program on campus. My experience there sparked my passion for special education, so I went on to complete my Master’s in Special Education while concurrently working as a first grade teacher in a private school last year.

Personal Interests

I grew up in a military family and got to experience some amazing places to live throughout my childhood, but I spent most of my life in Chesapeake, VA before heading to Northern Virginia for college. My favorite place to be is on a beach or in the mountains. I love to explore new places and go hiking with my beloved Mastiff/lab mix, Mocha. During school breaks, you’ll most likely find me in another country- this past year, I traveled to 8! When I’m not busy in the classroom, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, baking, crafting and organizing. As a lifelong learner, I am also taking classes at the community college.

Literary Connection

Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss is a classic that I heard many times growing up. I loved it because of the crazy characters and flowing rhymes. Now, I read it to my students and it holds a special meaning. This is a story that sends a very real and important message to kids. It’s not always going to be easy in life, and there will be hardships to endure and obstacles to overcome, but you persevere and they make you stronger. There will be different paths to take in life, but “you have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose”. You can do anything you set your mind to!