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Diane McKee, flanked by Williams MS students and School Board Member Sally Harris after she flew in 50 feet overhead on MOSI's Sky Trail Zip Line.

HCPS Teacher of the Year soars like a superhero

March 25, 2016

Diane McKee, Hillsborough County and Florida's Teacher of the Year, soared high in the sky, like a superhero, with her cape billowing behind her.

It was all part of a ceremony at MOSI, as they begin a month-long Superhero Festival, which begins with the opening weekend of the new film Batman v Superman. McKee flew in 50 feet overhead on MOSI's Sky Trail Zip Line, reminding everyone who the real heroes are in our community.

Several students from Williams Middle Magnet School, where McKee teaches, came to MOSI but had no idea about the surprise waiting for them. Within just a few minutes of the students arriving, they were directed to look overhead, "It's a bird! It's a plane! No- It's Mrs. McKee!"

The students cheered their teacher on, waving as she zipped past them on her way to a safe landing. During a brief ceremony MOSI presented Mrs. McKee with a MOSI Lifetime Membership, to honor her dedication to Florida's children.

A year ago, McKee was announced as Hillsborough County's Teacher of the Year. She is an English teacher at Williams Middle Magnet School. She has been a teacher for 14 years, before that she worked in the private sector. Last July, Diane McKee was honored as the Florida Department of Education- Macy's Teacher of the Year. She has spent the year touring the state, serving as an ambassador for education.

She says her zip lining adventure at MOSI has been a highlight of her year. "It was absolutely the most wonderful experience I had all year. The skies are so blue today and the wind was nice and soft as it blew in my face. And the view from up there, you can see all across USF. It was just fabulous and I want to do it again, and again, and again," said an excited McKee.

Diane McKee is also excited about returning to the classroom, where she can make the biggest impact. But she's not always comfortable with the title of "hero".

"Hero is a big word and I teach about heroes in 8th grade and I would never think of myself as a hero. I do what I do, because I love the students and I love making a difference in their lives. I had a teacher make a difference for me. And if I can make the path easier academically or personally for my students, and emotionally for my students, that's worthwhile," said McKee.

Her students embraced her as she came down from her "flight". They were thrilled she and other teachers are getting the attention they deserve. "Teachers do not always get the appreciation that they should because, think about it, they're the leaders that go and take children and they shape the children's dreams. They are the ones that teach you, don't give up, you can always succeed in the end. They teach you to never give up on your hopes, keep trying, even if you fail you need to keep on trying. And I think Mrs. McKee really does invest in that idea because she has taught me to keep on trying, keep on striving, keep on learning and keep on achieving," said 8th grade student Nafisa Uddin.


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