826 Valencia is thrilled to announce that Pirette McKamey of Mission High School is our February Teacher of the Month! Ms. McKamey has over twenty years of teaching experience at the middle and high school levels, and currently she is the Educational Reform Facilitator (ERF) at Mission. This year, in addition to being the ERF, she took on the teaching of two extra English classes so that she could work with students on the Young Authors’ Book Project with 826 Valencia.
Ms. McKamey was crowned the Teacher of the Month on February 11th, amidst the wild applause of her students, their families, and all of the tutors who got to know her during the Book Project. It was the night of the book release party for Show of Hands: Young Authors Reflect on the Golden Rule, the professionally published end product of the semester-long collaboration. For seven years, tutors from 826 Valencia have worked with students from a different high school in San Francisco on the Young Authors’ Book Project. They write, revise, and design a book that is then distributed nationwide.
Ms. McKamey’s students feel inspired in her presence, a fact that was more than evident the night of the book release. Ravon Anderson said, “She is outgoing and charismatic in everything that she does. When you’re in a bad mood and your day is going badly, you can always look forward to seeing Ms. McKamey’s beautiful and warm welcoming smile to brighten your day.” From the beginning of September, she encouraged students to work hard on the intensive 826 writing project, she pushed them to pour their hearts into what they wrote, and she celebrated the brave stories they wrote and shared with their tutors.
Even at the start, students were comfortable embarking on the semester-long journey for the book project because Ms. McKamey was so supportive. As one student, Angie Colon-Chin, said, “Ms. McKamey is a great teacher because she actually takes the time to understand each student without taking away teaching time, and if you don’t understand something she will explain it until you do.”
Thank you, Ms. McKamey, for making your classroom such an inspiring and warm place. We’re so fortunate to have teachers like you in our community.