It was a combination of tears and smiles when the Aledo ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the district’s next elementary school after Deputy Superintendent Lynn McKinney at a special meeting on Thursday, April 20.
McKinney has announced her retirement at the end of the school year.
McKinney, who began teaching in the Aledo ISD 37 years ago at the elementary level, became the principal at Aledo High School in 1990 before moving into administration in 1999.
The administration worked to keep the board meeting a secret from McKinney while at the same time adhering to open meeting laws that require notice to be posted.
Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn opened with comments about the purpose of the meeting, saying one of the projects in the upcoming bond proposal is building elementary school number seven.
Board member Forrest Collins then moved that, upon her retirement, elementary number seven be named for McKinney.
“You know how much you personally mean to me. And I know how much you personally mean to so many people in this community,” Collins said to McKinney. “There's not a person I meet in this community who has an interaction with Lynn McKinney that doesn't love her. When I think of Aledo ISD, I think of Lynn McKinney, when I think of growing greatness, I think of Lynn McKinney, and it is a great honor to be here today to recognize you and everything you've done for this school district.”
“I don't think you have any idea the impact you've made on so many lives,” board member Julie Turner added. “We are so excited and there's no one more deserving.”
Board President Hoyt Harris recalled when he met McKinney for the first time in 1995 when she had to turn him down for a project he had proposed.
“I learned that she had one of the skills that I think is one of the most important skills anyone that has to be working with the public or children and parents could ever have. And that is the skill of being able to tell somebody no without them being offended,” Harris said.
“I think this is such a great way to to honor you and can't wait for us to have the school open for you to visit,” board member David Lear said.
Bohn recalled meeting McKinney when she (Bohn) was interviewing for the superintendent position.
“I remember sitting and talking to her in her office ahead of time. And what I really remember about her is that she had a very deep love for this place. And she was also very honest with me, and I really appreciated that about her,” Bohn said, recalling that McKinney was near retirement at the time. “I came in and people told me that, you know, ‘she might not be around long,’ but she's stayed for five years — I'm really, really grateful that she did. And we would not have had the last five years that we've had if she hadn't chosen to stay, and, in fact, be sort of the rock of stability through lots and lots of change in the district.”
Bohn said the school district was doing “37 Days for Lynn McKinney” in commemoration of her 37 years, and the board naming the school was their part of that program.
Harris then pointed out that the board needed to vote on the motion, which passed unanimously.
A visibly moved McKinney then rose to speak, and recalled that first meeting with Bohn. She and her husband had been talking about retirement, but McKinney said she decided to stay on a year for the transition.
“And I found out in about a week, she didn’t need any help, that she had it. And then it was like, ‘I want to be on this person's team. I want to be a part of this,’” McKinney said. “I'm so glad that you got here, Dr. Bohn, and to work under your leadership has been amazing. And not a regret, but one of the things I wish could have happened was that I met you much younger in my career, I guess I would have definitely followed you all over the state wherever you went.
“And it's been amazing to do what I love with people that I love, in a place that I love. And I think sometimes when we've been here for a while, we take for granted what a special place this is. So we just have to keep remembering what makes us who we are, and keep working towards that every day. And I cannot imagine a greater honor than the gift you all have given me today.”
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