Your Math Teacher Represents You: Kate McCann

This article was written by Lei DeGroot, a student in U-32 Journalism class.

State Representative Kate McCann of Montpelier was elected to the House in 2022. Kate works as an AP Statistics teacher all day on Mondays and part-time on Wednesdays and Thursdays before going to the State House to perform her legislative duties. This is a big shift from her previous lifestyle before she won the election.

Kate by the door of the Education Committee. (Lei DeGroot/Chronicle)

Kate enjoys what she does and is passionate about it. “I really like the work that I do at the state house. And I really like getting up in the morning to teach AP statistics. And when I decide that I don’t feel great about waking up and going to school to teach AP Stats, that’s when I’ll know that it’s time to retire from teaching. But right now, I love it,” Kate said.

 

“Just before I was elected, I was told that I have stage 4 colon cancer,” she said. This diagnosis was a heartbreaker and added more unnecessary stress to her, before she even started working at the State House. 

 

Things have improved since then, Kate said, “Just before Thanksgiving of this past year, I was told that I was tumor and cancer-free after three rounds of chemo and two surgeries.” 

 

Principal Steven Dellinger-Pate described the process the school had to go through to make this work for everyone so that Kate could continue teaching and attending to her legislative duties. “We were able to work so that her schedule would fit into the legislative schedule for her still to teach the AP Stats class. “

 

Willow Mashkuri, a senior at U32, was enrolled in Kate’s AP Statistic class but decided to drop it. She cited issues with too large of classes that were going to be created in Kate’s absence. “I do not do well with big classes,” Willow said. 

 

Harper Gullage, also a senior, had Kate as her Algebra II teacher and liked her. So when it came to AP Stats, she became disappointed when Kate was no longer readily available. She said, “I mean, it was definitely cool that she was doing that, but it was also a little bit disappointing because I love Kate and we ended up having a lot of subs, which was kind of not fun.  

Kate in the education committee. (Lei DeGroot/Chronicle)

Harper feels as if she lost part of her education due to this, “I probably would have learned better if Kate was there consistently. She had a lot of good information and was very understanding about everybody’s needs,” she said.

 

Her absence opened up a new salary within the school. The school hired Alex Donelson an Algebra II and Algebra II STEM teacher, “So we brought Alex in as a teacher to take part of the schedule that she would have taught. Remember, with her reduced salary, there’s a salary available for somebody else to do some work,” said Steven. 

 

Kate’s story is rare, but not unheard of some other districts had to go through similar hoops because faculty had won elections.“So two other schools in the state have had a similar situation I had a teacher who was elected to the State House, and I talked to both of them and they had done something similar with their teachers,” said Steven.

 

Kate’s role as a legislator impacts both her students and her colleagues. Olga Benoit is a math intervention teacher and friend of Kate’s. “I feel like she’s in the right place. She is where she needs to be… she knows how to advocate for issues and she knows what issues should be on the forefront of people’s minds,” Olga said.

Kate at the Women’s Caucus (John McCann)

When Kate is done being a teacher and or a legislator she will continue her passion in educating people. “I am teaching mathematics to aspiring elementary educators. Primarily geometry this semester,” Kate said. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.