Wednesday, June 25, 2014

To Kathie McGregor: A Great Teacher

Perhaps I didn't say this to Kathie when I could. I hope I did. I hope she knew how much I admired her, how grateful I was for her energy, passion, commitment, willingness to learn, lead, share, pitch in. Kathie embodied the learning teacher: she always questioned, wondered, explored, applied new ideas, struggled to understand, engaged in hard conversations; she was always willing to join in, to jump into a study group, to lead learning sessions, to try new things. Her work using literacy strategies in socials studies, her experimentation in peer editing and assessment, inquiry, historical thinking and technology infused teaching have played a significant role in transforming practice in our community. She was a passionate advocate for public education.

I have been looking through my pictures. Her work is woven through the fabric of my professional life. I have dozens of pictures of Kathie - leaning forward, intense concentration, listening hard or deep in conversation, standing in front of kids to connect them to big ideas, sitting beside to them to encourage next step thinking, working with colleagues to assess or share ideas or lead conversations. Or laughing. Learning and laughing, I think, should go together like salt and pepper. They did for Kathie.

I often worry that we only notice the big and noisy things, that the extraordinary work of teachers like Kathie passes almost unseen. I suppose it doesn't matter, really. I see it. Her students and colleagues know. Her friends and family. She worked passionately, individual to individual, changing lives, changing the way we teach, changing our path. Our lives are richer for walking with her; our possibilities for the future are brighter for her committed action. Kathie was a great teacher.


  1. Wonderfully written about a wonderful lady. She had that extra passion that she brought to everything that she did. She will be missed by all who had the opportunity to meet her.

  2. Excellent tribute Shelley. She will be missed.