Eight Questions for Emerging Leader Kenneth McKee


We’re always looking for new ways to insert ASCD voices into our conversations on Inservice. With this in mind, we’ve developed a question-and-answer session for our ASCD emerging leaders. The Emerging Leaders program recognizes young, promising educators and prepares them to influence education programs, policy, and practice on both local and national levels. Learn more about emerging leaders on the ASCD website.

Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?ASCD Emerging Leader

Every day is full of new opportunities and challenges. As an instructional coach, no two days are alike. In the same day, I could plan a lesson with a science teacher, coteach a lesson with a math teacher, lead a data analysis protocol with a group of English teachers, and research resources for a world language teacher. Most days end with team meetings focusing on literacy, technology, or other school priorities.

What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?

Learning is not the transfer of information; it is a socially constructed activity that results from valuing and utilizing student assets, making content comprehensible and engaging, and strategically coaching the habits of mind used by self-directed and inquisitive problem solvers.

Why did you become an educator?

I wanted to make a positive contribution to humanity by helping others achieve their potential.

As an ASCD emerging leader, how do you hope to have an effect on education in your community and beyond?

As an emerging leader, I hope to inspire other educators to adopt a mind-set that is focused on growing as educational leaders. We all have the potential to greatly influence professional practice and student learning. Throughout the program, I want to share how ASCD has positively affected my career and how it is a valuable resource for any educator.

What professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses, etc.) have made a difference in your career?

The National Board certification process resulted in more reflective, student-centered practices in my classroom. Professional development on the SIOP model helped me improve my scaffolding for English language learners. Right now, the ASCD Whole Child Podcast keeps inspiring and challenging my thinking about what schools can be.

Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.

After my first year as an instructional coach, there was a two-week period where I received multiple notes and e-mails from my colleagues discussing how much I had helped them grow as teachers. My goal has always been to give teachers the coaching and support that I wanted as a classroom teacher, and this unsolicited positive feedback demonstrated that I was making a difference for my colleagues.

If you could make one major change in education what would it be?

I would embed protected professional learning time into every educator’s regular school day.

What’s the craziest thing a student has ever said to you?

“The library makes me uneasy. My face hurts when we go there.” I’m still not sure how the library caused this psychosomatic response.

Connect with Kenneth McKee on Twitter @kennycmckee. Check out other Inservice blog posts about ASCD emerging leaders.