Cleveland’s Freshest Educators (part 1): Feowyn MacKinnon

“All of our students have a unique story
and they deserve the time to tell it
and I want to hear it. . .“

This week’s feature: Feowyn MacKinnon
Head of School- MC2 STEM High School

We’ve interviewed some of the freshest educators we know. They operate from a place love, care, discipline and personal sacrifice on behalf of Cleveland's precious students. Let these stories honor ALL Cleveland teacher who do this important work every day!

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at    Fresh Lab Cleveland   .

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at Fresh Lab Cleveland.

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at    Fresh Lab Cleveland   .

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at Fresh Lab Cleveland.

What got you interested in becoming a teacher/principal? 

I attended CMSD schools. I had great teachers and was challenged every day to do great things. Cleveland is my home and I thought that becoming an educator here would be the best way to give back!

What might we catch you doing when you aren’t in the classroom? What do you enjoy doing for fun?

 School IS what I do for fun! When I’m not in school, I like watching movies and tv, writing stories, and finding ways to relax.

Why does high quality education in Cleveland matter?

 “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Nelson Mandela

 What is the most challenging thing about your work?

 I can’t be everywhere for everyone all the time. All of our students have a unique story and they deserve the time to tell it and I want to hear it, unfortunately with so many students who deserve so much, I find it hard when I can’t be around.

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at    Fresh Lab Cleveland   .

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at Fresh Lab Cleveland.

 Tell us about something that really keeps you going when you are feeling exhausted.

 Every year I have a countdown to graduation, and around March and April, it gets exhausting. However, when May comes around and I start checking names off my list, and we get the delivery of caps and gowns and yearbooks, and we practice in the auditorium without an audience, and there is energy and excitement and tears, I know I’m doing the right thing.

 Tell us about a time your life was changed/impacted by a student or because of a student.

 I could tell you 1000 stories of how my life has changed by my students. Robert Bruce graduates in the class of 2018. When he was a freshman the police brought him to school in hand cuffs. He had done nothing wrong, but the officers at the rapid station were collecting all of the students’ names and he wouldn’t provide his. He kept saying, “I’m under 18, my dad told me I shouldn’t ever talk to police without him present.” He tried to give them dad’s phone number, but they kept pushing to get his name. Finally, he directed the police to the school and, as embarrassed as he was, he let the cops bring him inside in cuffs. The officers tried to ask me for private information about Robert, and he just kept saying, “please call my dad Ms. MacK, he told me not to talk to police without him around.” That moment had an impact because Robert was only 14 at the time, I saw the power dynamic between the police and a student and I respected that Robert knew his rights and was willing to be threatened, embarrassed, and accused to protect his own rights, and I knew at that moment that I had a responsibility to teach and protect the rights of my students. I have experiences like that all the time that remind me that there is a real world outside of the school walls and I have to present information to our kids that they find meaningful enough to keep with them when I’m not around to be their advocate.

What would be your message to your peers?

 Be a good person. Ask good questions. Make good memories.

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at    Fresh Lab Cleveland   .

Photo by Bivens Photography. Shirt printed at Fresh Lab Cleveland.

Each year Dee Jay Doc and more recently, Lee Harrill, guide all 9th graders at MC2 Stem High School in the process of producing their own songs for change.

The 2019 Fall/Winter line of hand-printed apparel from Fresh Lab Cleveland is dedicated to the educators of Cleveland students.