Staff departs

Michael McGuckin

After teaching in Alief ISD for 34 years, social studies teacher Michael McGuckin will retire for health reasons.

“While Parkinson’s is not a disease which spreads from person to person, I am left with less strength and energy,” McGuckin said.

Despite his health, McGuckin will still travel with his family. “We are looking to go to the country of Israel in October. We are going to a conference in Pennsylvania in June,” he said. “On the way, we will stop and visit several Civil War battle sites.”

While his teaching years in school have nearly come to an end, another teaching job has opened up elsewhere: at home.

“I will be teaching my daughter, who is 15-years old and home-schooled, all high school social studies courses,” McGuckin said.

Although he is leaving, McGuckin is grateful for all the students he’s worked with. “I have been extraordinarily lucky,” McGuckin said. “I have known since age 12 that I wanted to teach, and I have been able to do that. I’ve grown a great deal. Kids have taught me more than I have taught them.”

Patti Drachenberg

After 16 years at Kerr, choir director Patti Drachenberg will retire to carry out long-term plans she and her husband made five years ago.

“My husband retired at the end of February,” Drachenberg said, “So we decided that we would like to go ahead and start traveling a little bit and have time with the grandkids, family, and parents. We just wanted to, while we’re still young and can enjoy it.”

The staff has made her time here very rewarding.

“[The staff] is very supportive of the fine arts department,” Drachenberg said, “They attend our concerts, and they’re always very complementary of the work our kids do. It’s just been a great place to work.”

Above all, she reflects on the lessons learned from her students.

“I learn not to procrastinate,” Drachenberg said.  “I learn the simplicity of life, which is pretty awesome. They keep my sense of humor about me most of the time.”

Dawn Walls

Counselor Dawn Walls will depart not only from Kerr but also from the country. Her destination: England. “It wasn’t my choice,” Walls said. “My husband has been transferred, so we are moving to England in July.”

Though unsure of what to expect, she imagines that her new life will hold many challenges.

“It’s little bit more difficult in England to work sometimes,” Walls said. “I am going to get everyone situated the first year, and then I’ll either start volunteering or substituting at my child’s school. Everything is so different there: the food, driving on the wrong side of the road, the way people talk.”

However, she is certain her time at Kerr will make the move easier.

“We are so multicultural, and I think that’s going to benefit me,” Walls said. “If I do teach, the school is going to be like [Kerr]: a lot of different people from different places.”