LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

« Return to Nominee List

Jeri McLean

Position: Retiring Kindergarten Teacher
School: Paul Banks Elementary School
School District: Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
City, State: Homer, AK

Support Jeri Leave a comment

Jeri McLean was nominated by Laura Zeiset, the parent of a student.

"Mrs. McLean is retiring after 31 years of teaching at our school," said Zeiset. "Sending your first born to kindergarten can be scary.  My fears were put at ease when I first met Mrs. McLean.  She seemed genuinely happy to meet my son and I. As my son moved through kindergarten, I knew she was the right teacher for our family.  Three of my kids were blessed to have her as their kindergarten teacher."

"I was not able to volunteer in her classroom until my third child was in kindergarten," said Zeiset. "When I did, I got to see her in action.  Mrs. McLean is very productive, always having one eye on the group in front of her and her other eye on the groups she has working on art, worksheets, or learning through play.  She freely gives emotional support to students who need a little extra attention.  I also appreciate her gentle, firm classroom management."

Over the past 31 years, Mrs. McLean has had about 800 students move through her classroom.  She is teaching a second generation of students, having taught their parents years ago. She heads up the school Sunshine Committee and is always encouraging fellow staff members to support one another. Mrs. McLean is also active with the PTA, attending meetings and giving guidance to help make Paul Banks a great school.

"The thing I appreciate the most about Mrs. McLean is her institutional knowledge of Paul Banks," said Eric Pederson, the school's principal. "Many times in education, the pendulum swings back and forth. Mrs. McLean has given a historical perspective that makes us, as a school, more effective and efficient. She has cultivated trust amongst families, which pays dividends when we have to deal with tough situations, like a global pandemic!"

Mrs. McLean did not plan to end her career with distance learning, but she has embraced it. She has done a great job connecting daily with her students through the school app and online meetings, and she supports those who may not have access to technology. Her presence at Paul Banks is going to be greatly missed!

Comments (4)

Margaret Priest Posted over a year ago

Mrs. McLean is a wonderful, nurturing, dedicated teacher who can be found at school after hours and many weekends! She's often the last to leave the building, and dedicates countless hours to her classroom and students. She is a Paul Banks pillar and we're going to miss her so much! She has taught the children of former students, which is an amazing legacy. I will miss her as a colleague and a friend when she is gone. Jeri is always someone I could go to for advice, resources, art supplies, and understanding. She listens with great compassion and humor. She's also a faithful attendee to PTA meetings and is on our school's committees and always supports Bingo for Books and is key to the Read-A-Thon plays and productions. You are irreplaceable, Jeri. Please come visit!

Eric Pederson Posted over a year ago

Mrs. McLean has touched many people's lives in her 31 years. She will be missed greatly at Paul Banks Elementary. Her willingness to support students and adults is second to none. She is one of those 'litmus test teachers' the principal seeks out to prior to making big changes. Enjoy your retirement, you have earned it!

Jennifer Reinhart Posted over a year ago

I’ve been lucky to be Jerri’s colleague for 13 years. She has a deep love for all her students and is always willing to do the extra things needed to make our school a safe, fun, and supportive atmosphere for her students and the rest of us staff as well. She is generous with her ideas and supplies, and as a “super collector” of craft items she is my first stop when I realize I am short on anything to complete a class activity! How many people can you rely on to have extra large google eyes, fat brown yarn, small white pom-pons, or fine red glitter at the drop of a hat? We’re going to miss her incredibly!

Mindy Hunter Posted over a year ago

As a preschool teacher at Paul Banks I have had absolute confidence that students transitioning to Mrs. McLean's kindergarten would be nurtured and supported. She knows the value of learning through play and meets each child where they are at. With her calm demeanor, she builds classroom community and emotional intelligence, guiding young learners to be confident and compassionate problem solvers. Mrs. McLean will be missed deeply at Paul Banks, but her legacy lives on in the many, many lives she has touched and made better. I wish her the best on her well deserved retirement and thank her for the role model she has been in my own teaching.