“The greatest gift any teacher can ask for is the knowledge that they have helped to improve the lives of their students in some small way. I am blessed and humbled that this incredible community feels I am building that legacy, and hope to continue to serve my students, their families, and my colleagues for many years to come.” – Meredith McCullough
Meredith McCullough is a teacher at Kenai Central High School. She teaches 11th grade English and honors English, and French two, three and four. She’s been a teacher for eight years, five in Alaska.
Raised in California, Meredith graduated magna cum laude from Linfield College in Oregon with a teaching certification and two bachelor degrees, one in literature and one in creative writing. During her first teaching job, in Oregon, she obtained a Master of Education with an emphasis in literacy and technology.
Her students say she has a passion for teaching. One wrote, “She doesn’t just want students to pass or slide by–she wants them to learn and remember what they learned. She wants them to have the same hunger for knowledge she has.”
Her enthusiasm often makes appear like one of her own students, excited about the lesson or book on which the class is studying. In fact, one student tells us Meredith even has ways of explaining things in “teen lingo” so students can better understand them. She hosts Shakespeare Club, drawing like-minded students together who love the Bard as much as she does, which generates spirited discussions of the English language’s most famous works.
Meredith connects with her students on both educational and social levels. She makes it a point to learn all her students’ names as quickly as possible at the beginning of a term, and several former students have written to her that she inspired them to become teachers.
When one of her students lost his father, he walked into Meredith’s room on his first day back, gave her a hug and said her class was the only reason he wanted to come to school.
Another student wrote, “I know it sounds crazy, but she genuinely cares about her students and wants them to succeed. She will do whatever she can to help them however she can.”
“One of the greatest joys of my job,” Meredith says, “is that every day I walk into Kenai Central High School, my students inspire me to become a better educator and human being.”
Meredith has served as an English Department and World Languages Department head for several years. She is also an advisor for several school clubs, including Creative Writing Club, Drama and the aforementioned Shakespeare Club. She also helps students complete the Job Shadow unit at the high school, which places students into the workforce for a day and requires them to complete career technical writing.
As one student wrote, “Her class is unlike any other class I’ve ever had and I just love it.”
“Meredith is a superstar teacher at our school, where she provides leadership and support to her fellow teachers while being a model for innovation and personalization,” said Alan Fields, Kenai Central High School principal. “Meredith is first and foremost an expert at developing relationships with students. Students are drawn to her enthusiasm and knowledge that she brings to her subject area. Meredith is always adding a fun way to engage students with the material and allowing them to share that interaction outside of the classroom.”
This year’s nominees were again, an excellent representation of our staff as a whole,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They are humble, hard-working and student-centered. They are willing to go above and beyond to help students succeed and reach their full potential.”
“BP is proud to honor these great teachers and their tireless work in the classroom,” said BP Alaska Regional President Janet Weiss. “We see it as part of our ongoing commitment to the communities where our people live and work – and an investment in the people who help make Alaska great.”
Now in its 22nd year, the BP Teachers of Excellence program honors K-12 teachers from all school districts statewide, including public and private schools.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District BP Teachers of Excellence winners are:
- Stephanie Cronin, Seward High School
- Jonathan Dillon, Mountain View Elementary School
- Barbara Larrivee, West Homer Elementary School
- Meredith McCullough, Kenai Central High School
- Colby Way, Port Graham School
Congratulations, Meredith McCullough, BP Teacher of Excellence!