Educator of the week

Kristin McNeal 
Cathedral High School

Los Angeles, CA
Director, Math and Science Academy
Favorite Subject: English

Being a strong academic leader who continuously is in search of creative ways to guide each of her students in their individual STEM career pathways, is just one of Kristin McNeal’s greatest qualities.

Throughout high school, Kristin was exposed to STEM backgrounds and she was most inspired by Mr. Paul Jenkins who not only taught her Chemistry, but helped her excel in her classes and encouraged her to take AP Chemistry with him as well. She was intrigued by the topics he shared in class since they varied from basic conversions to identifying an unknown substance and even basic thermodynamics. Mr. Jenkins not only served as a key support system in her interests in Chemistry but also as a teacher of the well-rounded life lessons, “He was tough and demanding, but he had a heart of gold.”

In her continuous pursuit of higher education, Kristin attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania, received a Bachelor of Science degree and later attended University of Notre Dame where she received her Master of Science degree. She has been teaching, collectively, for 17 years and has been with Cathedral High School for 13 years. Kristin chose to become a teacher because she enjoys making a difference in the lives of teenage students. She wanted to show them that they can have control of their own lives and that they are fully capable of forging a path in life that will bring them gratitude, success and happiness. As she mentors students at Cathedral, she enjoys watching students grow and solely figure out who they are and what they want out of life. In her eyes, it’s accomplishing to see students understand that they can make any desire into reality.

Well into her first year of teaching English Honors II at the Math and Science Academy of Cathedral, a special opportunity arose to support the Math and Science Academy. The Academy was in need of a leader who will stand by the students and who enjoys making a difference for the better. They were in need of someone who would tell the students to shoot for the moon, and if you miss you will land amongst the stars! They were in need of Kristin’s expertise, a director who could counsel them, push them academically and help offer them experiences to see how the STEM fields could play a role in developing their personal dreams. “I love that a large part of my job is finding ways for our students to experience STEM not just within a classroom, but outside in the everyday world. Sometimes it blows their minds!” As a goal-setter, this year Kristin plans to help students become more actively involved in STEM, through different programs and experiences so that they can internalize their own personal role in the STEM fields.

In addition to teaching, communicating, researching, involving and inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders at Cathedral High School, Kristin enjoys reading, having coffee dates with her husband and spending time with her children.

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