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Kelly McAlister

Kelly McAlister

Mission Viejo High School

Mission Viejo, CA USA

"My life and work have meaning. I'm fulfilling my purpose and living my dream!"

Career Roadmap

Kelly's work combines: Education, Writing, and Teaching / Mentoring

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Day In The Life

English & AVID Teacher; AVID Coordinator

I teach English and AVID to high school students.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

    Blackford High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    English Language and Literature, General

    San Jose State University

  • Graduate Degree

    Secondary Education and Teaching

    San Jose State University

Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be an English & AVID Teacher; AVID Coordinator:

Bachelor's Degree: English Language and Literature, General

Graduate Degree: Secondary Education and Teaching

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    I had a difficult childhood because I was a child of several divorces. (My mother was married 4 times). I was the luckiest kid, though, because my mother was very loving and supportive through it all.

  • 2.

    I am the first generation in my family to graduate from college, so I didn't have guidance to help me along the way. My mother was very supportive, but she hadn't gone to college and couldn't help.

  • 3.

    I didn't take the SAT, so my only choice for college right out of high school was community college. This was the best "mistake" I could have made because I came out of college with no debt.

  • 4.

    Being 4 units shy of graduating, I had to take an extra semester. I took graduate classes and earned my ESL supplemental credential before it became a requirement, making me a desirable hire.

  • 5.

    I got married and divorced within a two-year period. After my divorce, I moved to Southern CA to be with my mom. I regretted leaving Northern CA, but found I liked it better here.

  • 6.

    When I married again, I married a teacher. Being married to a teacher is great because we understand the demands our jobs place upon us. We both have a heart for kids.

  • 7.

    I took eight years off from teaching to have and raise my kids. I thought it'd be difficult to find a job again, but got one in a better district!

  • 8.

    I was Teacher of the Year for 2019-20 for my school and district. I was a nominee for TOY for my county as well!

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Society in general:

    Everyone I told that I wanted to become a teacher would always mention how I wouldn't make enough money for all the education I had to get and hours I would put in. They all felt it was a noble cause but a poor choice.

  • How I responded:

    I always wanted to become a teacher, so even when I heard these comments, they just faded into the background as white noise. Being a teacher is like breathing to me; it is necessary for me to really feel like I'm living. I never went into this career to become rich; I only cared that I would make enough money to get by. I am the luckiest person because I look forward to my job every day! How many people can say that? My life and work have meaning. I'm fulfilling my purpose and living my dream!

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • My mother left school after 9th grade to become a cosmetologist. She couldn't guide me on my pathway to college, but she supported me every step. I had to learn to advocate for myself, a quality so important for the rest of my life.