Current principal Brian McKenney brings new meaning to “pal.” He has been promoted to the role of assistant superintendent of personnel services. McKenney currently serves as director of elementary education and principal. The assistant superintendent is in charge of all the personnel for the district and works with maintenance, teachers and essentially all classified employees of the district. McKenney will begin his new duties officially in the 2012-2013 school year.
Growing up with parents who were both teachers, McKenney knew early on that he wanted to have a career in elementary education.
“During my first few years of college I did some substitute teaching at an elementary school where my mom was a music teacher and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I had kind of an ‘ah ha’ moment and being around younger students was the most rewarding for me.”
McKenney earned his Doctor of Educational Leadership at Maryville University, Master of Education at University of Missouri-St. Louis and Bachelor of Science in education at Central Methodist University. Before coming to Lindbergh in 2004, McKenney was principal of Hillsboro Intermediate School, taught at the International School of Frankfurt, Germany, and taught communication arts and balanced literacy in the Jefferson R-7 and Arcadia Valley school districts. He said that teaching at the International School of Frankfurt for a semester was a terrific experience.
“A lot of banking people work there—my job was to teach English to students from mainly Asia and Germany,” he said. “It was an immersion situation where everything in the school was spoken in English in American form. I got to do some traveling and made some great friends. I want to go back again at the end of my career and do some international teaching again.”
For now, McKenney, who also recently served as chairperson of the Elementary School Budget Reduction Committee and as co-chairperson of the District Boundaries Committee, wants to be a learning sponge. He said that the biggest goal for him for the remainder of this school year is to work with Dr. Rick Francis, who is retiring.
“He’s done a fantastic job and it’s a well-oiled machine (the department),” McKenney said. “My goal is to have a successful transition and learn from an expert. There are a lot of things that I need to learn. I have a very steep learning curve over the next eight months.”
Until the transition fully takes place, McKenney, a father of a 5-year-old, a 2-year-old and who has a child on the way in July, will enjoy the rest of his time being around the kids and teachers of Long Elementary.
“It’s vibrant, action packed. It’s definitely something I’ll miss moving into my new position, is having that direct connection with kids,” McKenney said.
McKenney notes that being sent to the principal’s office isn’t always a bad thing. He and the Long staff have established a culture where he’s involved in the kids’ lives in a number of ways: as a mentor, someone they trust, etc.
“Oftentimes (being sent to his office) is for good things like a good test outcome or to do morning announcements, so being in the principal’s office isn’t all about discipline,” he said. “But, I do handle those things as well and try to involve the parents and make those learning experiences. It’s also an opportunity to learn from mistakes and grow developmentally.”