McGlaun retiring after 25 years

Published 1:14 am Saturday, April 22, 2017

When the doors close next month for the school year, Straughn High School will say goodbye to a face that has graced the hallways since 1994 – Karen McGlaun.

McGlaun has served as career tech teacher at the school since she was hired at her alma mater in 1994.

She spent time at Crenshaw Christian Academy in Luverne and at Brantley High School before that.

Moving to SHS, McGlaun said she had big shoes to fill replacing her former high school teacher Regina Fisher.

“I remember being nervous because I had such high regard for her as a person and as a great teacher,” she said. “With the help of my sister, Diane Tucker, counselor at SHS at the time, I survived my first year.”

McGlaun said she was happy to be at her alma mater and planned to stay until she retired.

“SHS is an excellent community school with great tradition, pride and wonderful students with supportive parents,” she said. “I loved SHS then and now – great memories and relationships. My children graduated from SHS as did I and my husband, Randy.”

McGlaun said education and tradition are something very important to her and her family.

“I can think of no better place to have spent my childhood, met my husband, raised my family and spent 25 years as a teacher,” she said. “I have made many lifelong friends and will forever bleed black and gold.”

McGlaun said that her mother, Jewel Franklin, was her biggest influence in choosing education.

“She said, ‘You’ll do well, just like your sister,’” she said. “Also, for me personally, the decision to teach was easy. I’m a school girl and always have been. I loved school, enjoyed being in a school environment, and being involved in school activities when I was younger and growing up in Rose Hill.”

McGlaun said her favorite part of being an educator is working with students and helping them learn, grow and mature to become extraordinary people.

“It is truly a special feeling when you nurture a relationship using expectations, strategies, dedication, hard work, respect and time then observe a student reach a goal and succeed,” she said. “Any time I see a student with a SHS diploma wearing a cap and gown, I still get goose bumps. I am so excited and proud for them.”

McGlaun said that after 25 years in the classroom, she has realized that her students have taught her more than she ever taught them.

In addition to her teaching career tech, she also is the sponsor for the FFA string band and quartet.

“This has been my most favorite extracurricular – extremely enjoyable, fun and gratifying for me,” she said.

McGlaun shared a little about the changes she’s seen in her two-and-a-half-decades of teaching.

“Wow, bunches has changed,” she said. “Daily routines and schedules include a great deal more paperwork. Course offerings and equipment have increased tremendously. I see our schools as being more liberal. I, too, see a great focus on supporting individual student needs. Parental support, I believe, has certainly increased. My favorite change, personally, is the addition of more tools in the classroom, including computers, laptops and boards. Yes, I still love my tech gadgets.”

McGlaun said she is looking forward to a daily schedule that’s a little less routine.

“Maybe not waking up each morning at 5 a.m., and getting home at 9 p.m.,” she said. “Right now, I plan to enjoy my family, my pets, and my slowed down time. We are currently making plans for a music room-quilting room for myself and my mother-in-law, Betty McGlaun. I plan to continue teaching focusing on music instruction as long as I can.

“Please allow me to say thanks to my family and all my students who helped my career to be as exciting and rewarding as I imagined it would be 25 years ago,” she said.