“It was quite an honor. I do believe all of our secondary principals are fantastic leaders on their respective campuses and to me, I wish we could all share the honor as we all work really hard for this district. I thank them for this recognition and I’m very honored,” McKinney said.
When Tomball Star Academy opened its doors two years ago, the district was tasked with hiring its first Principal to lead the charge.
“The initial draw for me was that there was the ability to think outside the box at TSA. Sometimes when you walk into a position that is already created, has an outline of what the school is suppose to look like, it can be a different experience than walking into a school that had no blueprint. I was trusted to develop a vision and run with it. We have been able to incorporate a lot of out-of-the-box experiences that haven’t necessarily been done district-wide, some successful, some we have had to revamp, but overall, we have been able to meet the needs of the kids,” McKinney said.
McKinney’s ability to demonstrate leadership while also maintaining a personality that is relatable to her Star Academy students is evident and has provided her with one of the most rewarding jobs in her career.
“Being Principal at TSA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career in a lot of ways. This position gives me the ability to have my hands in everything. A lot of times administrators, especially at the upper level, lose sight of being able to build relationships with your students. In this job, I get to do all those administrative tasks but I also get to build relationships with kids which at the end of the day, when you see them and their successes, that’s what it is all about.”
She demonstrates a passion for education, a passion for developing the students on her campus and when asked what is the best part of her job, it only required two words.
“Watching our kids grow and learn how to be successful in advance classes, watching the little wins, seeing them achieve their goals, there really isn’t anything better than that.”
McKinney is no stranger to Tomball ISD, having served in the district for 14 years. She began her career as a teacher and coach and moved into administrative roles as an Assistant Principal at Tomball High School for four years before earning the Associate Principal title at THS for five years.
Now in just her second year leading the charge at Tomball Star Academy, McKinney has implemented an encouraging learning environment, supports her educators through a rigorous college-readiness curriculum while still maintaining her understanding of leadership in Tomball ISD.
“I’ve seen the district change a lot. The thing that has consistently drawn me to this district is the atmosphere that has remained to be a like a family. Even as we have grown as a district, transitioned throughout, that sense of family and sense of pride, has continued to be a draw for me. We continue to push the boundaries with academics and wanting our students to be successful not just academically but in life. There is a real push across our district to build the whole kid and I love that.”