2002-2003 Teacher of the Year chosen Linda McKay, a high school teacher from Belle Fourche, is South Dakota's 2003 Teacher of the Year.
For 14 of her active 36 years of teaching, McKay has taught grades seven through 12 at Belle Fourche High School. She currently teaches business, computer technology, career preparation and school-to-career.
In announcing McKay's selection, Gov. William J. Janklow said, "In her application for Teacher of the Year, McKay describes her belief that teachers are most effective when they create 'a disciplined, goal-oriented, well-organized, caring atmosphere' in which mutual respect exists between teacher and student. She describes herself as being a guide for her students 'providing a road map to their futures, encouraging and leading them on their way.'"
"I hope that as a teacher, I am able to continue, in some significant way, to instill in my students the desire to embrace change, to establish a good work ethic, to love a challenge, and to remain curious," McKay writes in her application. "I hope that students learn from me, to reserve judgement; to take responsibility for their lives, their learning and their actions; to learn to fail with grace and to use the experience to propel future success. I will have succeeded as a teacher when my students take action to engage their lives by striving to make a positive impact on their world."
South Dakota Board of Education President Glenna Fouberg said," We are proud to have a teacher of McKay's caliber representing South Dakota educational leaders. She is a model of quality teaching and we congratulate her on her selection as the 2003 Teacher of the Year."
McKay encourages parents to be involved with their children's education and urges communities to offer and support students' learning and growth experiences.
McKay said, "Establishing the connection between students and their parents, educators and communities is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. These partnerships can make the difference in every student's life by empowering each child to attain his/her potential as a productive community leader."
McKay is an active community leader and volunteer and has been the director of religious education at her church, a member of the PEO and Beta Sigma Phi service organizations, an instructor for adult computer education and GED, a testing-site proctor for area post-secondary institutions and has been involve d with the Future Business Leaders of America and Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, she developed an internship program in Belle Fourche for high school students that has been successful and growing for 14 years.
McKay holds an undergraduate degree in business education from Black Hills State University, Spearfish, and a master's degree in business education from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff.
McKay will represent South Dakota in the 2003 National Teacher of the Year competition. The process in South Dakota begins in April, when local teachers of the year are chosen. Nominees are screened by a state committee based on identified criteria.