2022 KCPS Teacher of the Year is 'Ideal Educator'
Congratulations to Kayla McClellan, 2022 KCPS Teacher of the Year! Ms. McClellan teaches AVID and American History at Lincoln Middle School.
In her application, Ms. McClellan described herself as the "ultimate hype woman" for her students. She draws on her own experiences in KCPS to motivate her students.
“I went to Lincoln Middle, and I was demitted in eighth grade, second semester,” Ms. McClellan said. “So returning to KCPS and returning to this building in this position, it speaks volumes about what KCPS can produce and what amazing people they have.”
According to Ms. McClellan, her trajectory changed when she was admitted to Grambling State University, a historically black college (HBCU) in Louisiana, where she studied history.
“I realized how important representation, or the lack thereof, had affected me as a student,” Ms. McClellan said. “I was encouraged, affirmed, and corrected when necessary by amazing professors, and I knew then that I would become a teacher.”
Ms. McClellan received a bachelor’s degree from Grambling and a master’s from Mississippi State University before returning to Kansas City to teach. In AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination), she helps students build the organizational and study skills they’ll need to be successful in high school, college and jobs.
"When I don't understand an assignment, Ms. McClellan will explain it a different way so I can know what I need to do to get the rest of the work done,” eighth grader Saih’Tam Simpson said.
Saih’Tam’s classmate, Selena Fahnestock, said she’s a better notetaker thanks to AVID and Ms. McClellan.
“She has taught us how to manage our time, which is something I personally struggle with,” Selena said. “If not for AVID, I’d likely be 10 times more nervous than I am right now.”
Lincoln Middle Principal Mary Bachkora said she jumped at the chance to hire Ms. McClellan, who had been teaching at Northeast Middle School.
“She’s a role model for teachers and students as well. She is the ideal educator in my mind,” Principal Bachkora said.
McClellan said she is teaching her students how to advocate for themselves, like her teachers once did.
“I love this place, and I’m so happy to be here,” she said.
- Teacher of the Year