Source: Sherman Publications

‘I can have more impact here’

by Susan Bromley

January 15, 2014

Brandon Twp.- Kristy McDonald worked in an office for seven years before earning her teaching degree. Now, after seven years as a teacher, she will combine her skills.

“It’s the best of both worlds for me,” said McDonald, who has been named the director of the Brandon Alternative High School, a new position in the district. “The students have always seen me as a principal, I was around for discipline, so it’s not a huge change for the students.”

Diane Zedan formerly oversaw BAHS as the special education director, a position she will retain.

“She was wearing too many hats,” said McDonald. “It’s too much for one person. Now there will be an administrator on campus the majority of the time and the teachers can focus on the education piece as opposed to discipline. The students have already built a good relationship with me, it’s not just for discipline.”

McDonald has worked at BAHS since earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Eastern Michigan University in 2006. She attained her master’s degree from EMU in curriculum and instruction in 2009 and will return to school to earn an administrative certificate after the twin sons she is expecting arrive in February. She is married to David and has a son David, 3.

BAHS currently has 55 students enrolled, most ranging in age from 15 to 19. The students have faced various challenges and BAHS helps them succeed in a smaller, non-traditional school environment.

“Everyone goes through issues with their families and things happen in life we can’t predict or help, but the important part is to come back to school and get the diploma,” said McDonald, who will continue to teach algebra. “It doesn’t matter what year you graduate, just that you get the education and graduate... The reputation of the BAHS does not always tend to be good, but the majority of the students don’t come for behavior issues, more for attendance issues. They had to drop out of school for reasons out of their hands—a parent died, or they moved, things out of their control... I’ve always felt that working at the alternative school, I can have more impact here than at a regular school. My heart has always been here.”