This week's Head of the Class makes learning fun, while fostering confidence and enabling growth in the classroom. Kindergarten can act as an important introduction to a new phase in life's journey, and Muldoon Elementary School's Mallory McKay takes that introduction very seriously.

"[Teaching kindergarten is] an enormous responsibility, to be sometimes the first person [students] have ever seen outside their home," explained McKay. "Just introducing what an educational setting looks like... it's challenging, but it's also really beautiful to introduce this world of learning and to just share the joy of being curious and share how much 'knowledge is power' with kids."

While she takes her job seriously, McKay likes to engage and have fun with her students. She's a thespian, whose passion for theater directly translates to how she conducts her lessons.

"A challenge as a teacher, kindergarten through high school, through college... what we're working towards is really engagement," said McKay. "Being a performer, it does help [keep students interested] and you kinda feel like you're tap dancing all day with the kids, but it keeps them engaged, it keeps them entertained and just adding movement and adding life to your lessons is really helpful."

As McKay's lessons come to life, so do her students.

Five-year-old Sean says, "Ms. McKay is the best teacher because she makes me happy and makes learning fun!"

Parents agree, saying McKay is a great communicator. And she needs to be, as there is much to accomplish before her students continue on to first grade.

"We start and we're just tiny and sometime we don't know how to walk in a line, we don't know how to sit at a chair… So we do teach a lot of life (sic) iout n the school and you just see them grow up before your eyes, and compared to the beginning of the year till now, it's huge," McKay said with a smile. "Such independence. It's really fun to see."

This is McKay's first year teaching in Alaska, following seven years in Minnesota. While the scenery may be new, the mission remains the same: Instill confidence in her students that will carry throughout their academic careers and beyond.

"I want to see them leave [kindergarten] with just a really strong sense of self," said McKay. "Knowing their own talents, knowing things that they struggle with, but then having that confidence to push through and be resilient."

She's getting young students on the fast track to success, while providing a comfortable and fun atmosphere. Mallory McKay is KTVA's Head of the Class.

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