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Cindy Haley named McLain Teacher of the Year

Cindy Haley has been selected as the 2022-2023 McLain High School Teacher of the Year!

This is Cindy's sixth year at McLain. She is a career tech teacher who teaches students in 9th through 12th grade. Her classes include Desktop Publishing & Graphic Design, Digital Editing & Production Photography, and Yearbook. One of her students even took the photo for this story.

"I love teaching these courses because there are so many real-world applications of the skills my students are learning, regardless of the future career they choose," said Cindy. "I also love that I am able to share my personal experiences with my students to encourage them to be entrepreneurs and artists one day!"

Cindy said she became a teacher by accident. When there was a middle school vacancy at her son's school, she was asked to fill in as a long-term substitute. 

"I owned my own photography business at the time, so my schedule was super flexible, and I had been subbing for their elementary classes as needed for some time. I thought, "Why not?"  The kids immediately won my heart!  I had so much fun explaining their grammar lessons and reading their literature stories that I decided only a few days into my subbing days that I would pursue my alternative certification!  After three years of teaching middle school English, I moved to McLain, where I had the opportunity to teach my other passions: photography and design."

She said her favorite part of teaching is getting to watch her students become who they are meant to be. 

"My students are what I lovingly refer to as 'almost-adults,' so I view my role as their teacher as one of a guide or mentor. I focus my energy on building strong relationships with my students so that they feel safe to be themselves and express their creativity in my classes. We become a family in my classroom, and I have stayed in touch with so many of my students after they graduate. It is a tremendous blessing."

"One thing I would like others to know about my students at McLain is that they are some of the brightest, most outstanding young people I've ever met.  They have hopes and ambitions just like anyone else, but the road to achieving those goals can be a bit bumpier for my students. So many of my kids have responsibilities on their shoulders that their teenaged counterparts elsewhere have never dreamed of, but they continue to push through hardships and overcome obstacles to earn every step of the way. I am beyond proud to know each of these kids, and they inspire me to be the very best teacher I can be every single day because that is what they deserve."