David McKay

David McKay, '84, '88, always knew he wanted to be a teacher. As a student at Blanchet High School in Seattle, he loved to speak in front of his class. And at the age of 14, he knew he could do a better job than his drama instructor.

McKay knew what he was talking about. In October, the Aberdeen High School English teacher was named the 2001 Teacher of the Year in Washington state.

McKay, 39, who received his B.A. in education from the UW in 1984 and a second teaching certificate in 1988, was honored for his work that connects his students to their community.

Washington Teacher of the Year David McKay, '84, '88. Photo courtesy David McKay.
Washington Teacher of the Year David McKay, '84, '88. Photo courtesy David McKay

His senior English class was charged with identifying and researching community problems and proposing solutions. As a result, his students helped develop a new high school food service program, revise the school's athletic code and create a school program to assist local charities.

McKay's junior English class was just as busy, researching the state's longest-running continuous high school football rivalry-Aberdeen vs. Hoquiam-and publishing a 261-page book about the history of the game. He also had his students write honest, non-fiction pieces about themselves. Those essays were complied in the book Lutefisk for the Bobcat Soul, which is now in its third edition.

"David is the kind of teacher who helps his students build bridges between classroom learning and its application in the real world," says Terry Bergeson, the state's superintendent of public instruction, who presented McKay with the award.

"When students completely immerse themselves in an assignment and take their application of that learning to levels totally unexpected," says McKay, who has taught at Aberdeen for 17 years, "that is the greatest joy of teaching. My love of English and my sincere desire to have them love it, reaches into my students' hearts and minds."

-Maha Jahshan

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