Crystal Apple Award: Kelly McCann

2020 Crystal Apple Award winner, Kelly McCann from Thoreau Elementary School in Madison. (WMTV)
2020 Crystal Apple Award winner, Kelly McCann from Thoreau Elementary School in Madison. (WMTV)(NBC15)
Published: May. 4, 2020 at 10:39 AM CDT
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Teacher Appreciation Week has begun, and NBC15 is honoring five teachers with a Crystal Apple award and 20 honorable mentions.

The first recipient teaches at Thoreau Elementary School in Madison, where both colleagues and parents call Kelly McCann an equity warrior and champion for social justice.

She’s been shaping minds for 34 years, spending 23 of them at Thoreau Elementary.

McCann began a summer reading program after seeing struggling readers leave school for the summer and come back in the fall a couple levels lower.

Seven years ago, McCann secured a grant that allowed her to purchase books for 20 underprivileged families each summer.

"I give books every time and we read and I sit and we ready and I make sure all the siblings have books,” says McCann. “It's been very successful, and I can't tell you what a wonderful job that it, it's very fun!"

Another program McCann started goes back 19 years. Every Thanksgiving, she prepares a food basket and delivers them to parents who are struggling to put a meal on their table.

“Teachers come up with families that might enjoy a meal, and then we put all the food in there, and then we have delivery teams who take the food out to the families,” says McCann. “"We want families to know that even though it's one meal, we're thinking about them, we want the best for them, we want the most for them."

McCann is also addressing racial issues and disparities, with a lot of people who nominated her labeling McCann as a leader in the field.

"It may not affect you directly, but it really does affect you and all children deserve to feel as though they belong in the school,” says McCann “All children and families deserve respect, the utmost respect, and as a teacher, it's my job to make sure I'm looking out for ALL of my children."