A special education teacher at Alpenglow Elementary School is retiring at the end of the school year — but not without first winning KTVA’s Teacher of the Week.


Christie McLean has been an educator for 35 years. She started her teaching career in Alaska at Fairview Elementary School in Anchorage before moving to Alpenglow.


McLean said she was motivated by one of her three sons to get into special education.


“I have a son who’s extremely attention deficit disorder, super hyperactive,” said McLean. “And he really motivated me to just sit back and think, what do kids need?”


McLean said patience, kindness, a sense of humor and being able to cater to the individual needs of her students has been a recipe for success.


“Over the years, I’ve basically come up with my own McLean method, I guess,” she said. “Because with each of these kids, you have to do something different so it’s not one set, standard program.”


Art projects also play a key role in her classroom, helping her students connect to specific lessons.


Still, McLean said her true key to success is a simple one.


“Just taking it one day at a time,” McLean said. “That’s the secret. Just, let it happen.”


As McLean retires, she encourages new and current educators to do the same. She says the rest will fall into place, as long as you love what you’re doing.



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