As memorable 5-years as principal comes to an end, John McKinney reflects on strength of SM East community
A lot has changed at Shawnee Mission East since John McKinney first walked through the door as an English teacher back in 2000.
McKinney recalls that when you stepped into the building via the main entrance off the circle drive on Mission Road, there were two PTA parents stationed near the doors who greeted you and asked if you needed any help figuring out where to go.
“Now we have a secured entrance on the opposite end of the building,” McKinney said. “As the world has changed, schools have changed. But I think one thing that’s stayed the same is great teaching is still great teaching, great kids are still great kids, and a great community is still a great community. And that’s what we have here.”
Friday will mark McKinney’s last day as principal at SM East with students in the building. Over the summer, he’ll transition to his new role as the district’s director of family services.
But with 18 years of roots at the school — eight as a teacher, five as an associate principal under Karl Krawitz, and the last five as principal himself — McKinney certainly won’t be disappearing from the SM East community. His own daughters will enter their senior and sophomore years at SM East next year — and he says getting to see them thrive at the school has been a special joy.
“If you’re having a bad day in some jobs, maybe there’s not a ton you can do,” McKinney said. “But for me, I could go and watch my daughters singing in choir or at work in the journalism room. Those are the kinds of perks that I’ve always appreciated and always enjoyed. So it is a little bittersweet.”
At a reception honoring him and outgoing school assistant Cris Pierson on Monday, McKinney said fond memories of his time leading the school outweigh any of the challenges incumbent with being in charge of a building with 1,800 teenagers in it — particularly the excitement that surrounded the school’s first-ever football title in 2015.
“It was a fun way to bring the community together, something we could all get behind and celebrate,” McKinney said. “And I could really appreciate it because we’re part of the community, too. I live here. I work here. My kids go here. I think all of that helped make the whole experience of being principal special.”
He says he’s excited by the chance to help connect district families with support and resources in his new job. But he’s confident SM East is in good hands.
“Dr. [Scott] Sherman will do a great job,” McKinney said.
SM East’s boys golfers got to celebrate another 6A state title with a single stroke team win over rival Blue Valley North — but
Following Santa Fe killings, Yoder says Congress should work on bipartisan ideas, warns against ‘politicizing’ shootings
In the hours after the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, that left 10 people dead and more than a dozen others injured, Rep.
The Lancers are Lacrosse Association of Kansas City champions yet again. With a dominating 17-8 win over rival Pembroke Hill in the title game
Briefly noted: Reception for outgoing principal McKinney set for today; Lancer XC earns ‘Team of Character’ award from NAIA;
Reception for outgoing SM East principal John McKinney set for today. The SM East PTSA, The East Fund, The All-Sports Booster Club and SHARE
Iman Jaroudi makes no secret about the fact that she’s pushed herself hard the past four years. So while the Yale-bound SM East senior
Members of the SM East swimming community are mourning the death of Hank Krusen, an influential coach who had served as a consultant to
With the consensus of a group made up of the district’s high school principals, the Shawnee Mission graduation ceremonies taking place this week will
The 2018 installment of U.S. News & World Reports’ annual Best High Schools rankings gives Shawnee Mission schools high marks. The rankings put three
Seniors Tommy Nelson and Jessie Stindt are the recipients of this year’s Art Newcomer Awards, among the most prestigious honors at SM East. Named
Following National School Walkouts, ACLU says it’s prepared to take legal action if Shawnee Mission doesn’t address First Amendment issues
The Shawnee Mission School District has asked for more time to review the alleged censorship of students participating in and covering National School Walkout