Not long before the British Conservative Party selected Margaret Thatcher to be its first woman leader a young woman in Texas was about to make a decision that would lead to a remarkable career in education.
Lynn Boger’s dad, a career military man, encouraged her to sign up for physics and calculus in her senior year at Western Hills High School in Fort Worth.
Lynn didn’t want to do that.
“I was not interested in that and I was looking for an easy way out,” Lynn said. “There was a class taught at the high school that focused on elementary education, and you got to leave the high school and go to an elementary school and work in an elementary school for a couple of hours. And I was all about that.”
Lynn was fortunate to have two great teachers — one at the high school level and one who supervised her at the elementary school level.
One of the episodes that cemented her life-long love of education was in a fifth-grade class.
“There was a child in the class I was volunteering in who had been burned terribly in a house fire and, because of it, her fingers re-fused. She had missed a lot of school — had missed about a year and a half, two years of school,” Lynn said. Because of the amount of instruction the fifth-grader had lost, Lynn was assigned to tutor the girl.
“I spent a lot of time with her. We really had a good time together, and she was smart as a whip. And we started getting her caught up,” And so it was really exciting to watch her learn how to write again to figure out how we were going to do that,” Lynn said. “That was when I figured out this is what I want to do. So really, by Christmas of my senior year, I knew that I wanted to go into education.”
When she was in high school, a car load of Lynn and her girlfriends met a carload of boys from Brewer High School in the Jack in the Box drive-thru on old Hwy. 80 in Fort Worth.
One. of those boys was Randal McKinney, and they became good friends.
It was a teacher who guided Lynn into education and it was a teacher from the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her degree in 1979, who guided the next step of her journey.
In March of her senior year at UT Lynn had been hired to teach in the Austin ISD, but one of her professors, Dr. Bethel, had a different idea.
“Dr. Bethel came to me and said, ‘there's a program called Teacher Corps.’ He said it's like the Peace Corps. And he said, ‘I really think you need to go into Teacher Corps if you really want to make a difference.’”
Teacher Corps offered a scholarship — so by joining and teaching in inner-city Houston schools, Teacher Corps paid for her masters degree at the University of Houston.
So in April of 1979 Lynn went to Houston and found out in May that she had been accepted into Teacher Corps.
Her graduation week at the University of Texas was a whirlwind, as she graduated on a Friday, married Randal on a Saturday, moved to Houston on Sunday, and started at Teacher Corps the following week.
While in Houston Lynn, now Lynn McKinney, taught elementary through high school students in the inner city.
“We taught in those schools, we tutored kids again, I was getting to do what I really love to do, all while I was getting a master's in curriculum and instruction,” Lynn said.
She had been working at Sam Houston High School, and they eventually offered her a permanent teaching position, which was her first official teaching job.
Later Lynn and Randal moved back to Austin so Randal, who had a history degree, could get his teacher certification.
Lynn taught at Campbell Elementary School in Austin and recently discovered that it’s a small world. Going through old photos, Lynn and Aledo ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn discovered that Lynn taught Bohn’s younger brother in fifth grade.
Lynn was a reading specialist at Campbell and also taught fifth and sixth grade, and said she loved it there.
While in Austin their oldest son, Jarrett, was born. Randal was teaching at Martin Junior High at the time, and the couple decided that Randal would take a year of parenting leave from Austin ISD.
“He stayed home with Jarrett during the day. I taught during the day, and then I would come home and Randal would work. He was working with a publisher (Harcourt Brace) and also doing history materials for a Texas history book. And so I would come home and Randal would leave.”
After a year they realized that arrangement was not sustainable. Lynn’s mother and father, Anna and Allen, told the couple that if they moved back to Fort Worth, they would take care of Jarrett.
During spring break of the 1985-1986 school year the McKinney’s returned to Fort Worth and started looking for teaching jobs. Noting that there were no electronic applications in those days, so Lynn’s mother had gone around to several school districts to pick up applications.
During that spring break week Lynn and Randal interviewed with about 20 school districts. Lynn received job offers from some, and Randal was offered jobs at others.
But the sweet spot was the Aledo ISD, where they both received offers.
“We decided okay, let's do that,” Lynn said. “And when we came out here the very first time we were both very impressed because of course Nell Anally was one of the first people we met — you can't get any nicer than Mrs. McAnally.”
They met in the superintendent’s office which was, at the time, a little white house in front of what is now Aledo Middle School. Randal went to interview with Weldon Turner, the middle school principal, and Lynn interviewed with Aledo Elementary School Principal Willard Stuard.
They started their Aledo careers in the fall of 1986. Since that time Lynn has served with 11 superintendents, including Stuard, who retired in 1995.
Lynn taught first grade for a couple of years and then was approached by Stuard, who asked if she would be interested in working with older students. Along the way she taught fifth- and sixth-grade students, and then became halftime assistant principal when the new Aledo Elementary School (now Coder) opened up, and half time assistant principal at Aledo High School.
McKinney became full-time principal at Aledo High School in 1990, and served in that capacity until 1999.
One of her favorite sayings during graduations was to tell students, when life doesn’t seek fair, to “get over it and get on with it.”
When asked about that saying, Lynn recalled that her dad grew up in poverty. He dropped out of high school and joined the military, and in a 20-year career became a Lieutenant Colonel.
“In our house you worked hard,” Lynn said. “It didn't matter what you were doing. You did it to the best of your ability and you worked hard. And one of my dad's favorite sayings was ‘It's a very unfair world. Get over it. Get on with it.’ He would give you a very short time. Don't feel sorry for yourself. And then it was time to get refocused and to go do what needed to be done. And so at our house there you couldn't give an excuse for not getting something done. With my dad there was no rationalizing. What's your plan? What's next?”
Lynn’s career took another turn at the prompting of another educator. In 1999 Superintend Allen Norman gave his resignation, and while the district began a search for a new superintendent, long-time Weatherford educator Joe Tison was brought in as interim superintendent.
“I had I had known Mr. Tison, just from being in the community, and had met him on numerous occasions,” Lynn said. “I had had heard so many people speak so highly of Mr. Tison, and with such great respect, and I had had the opportunity to meet him at several different things.”
Lynn was the high school principal when Tison came in as interim superintendent.
“As he was named interim superintendent, he asked if I would be willing to come and help at the central office level if I was interested in that,” Lynn said. “And of course, I had my master's in curriculum and instruction and I had been working to I had been working on another master's at TCU in administration.”
And so McKinney took the next step in her career at the little white house that served as an administration building.
“I loved being high school principal. I loved being in with the high school kids during the day. I mean, I just, it was a dream. It was a dream job. I couldn't wait to get to school every day. And so it was a hard decision for me,” Lynn said.
But family matters helped her make the decision.
“I will tell you, my oldest son Jarrett had a big part of that vote. Randal was teaching at the middle school, Jarrett was in middle school about to come to high school. And so when we sat down to talk about what should we do as a family, Jarrett was like, ‘mom, please. I love you, but I don't want you to be principal where I'm going to high school.’”
It turned out to be a good thing all around as it also gave Randal the opportunity to move from teaching at the middle school level to teaching at the high school level.
“Randal was super close to the kids in middle school. And so he thought how fun to go to high school and be able to have those kids again and watch them go all the way through and graduate.”
When Don Daniel came in to be superintendent he tasked McKinney with bringing all special services in-house. Up to that time Aledo ISD had been part of a special services co-op. So Lynn became Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs. Daniel also brought in a Aledo ISD’s third administrator, Marsha Miholovich.
“What he wanted us to do was to begin our own special programs in Aledo ISD; hire all of our own teachers, all of our own diagnosticians, all of our own speech therapists So Marsha joined us, and she took over curriculum and HR.”
Both McKinney and Miholovich had additional duties as well in the growing district.
“Everything that has to be done in a big district has to be done in our district,” McKinney said. “You just have fewer people over which to divide all of those responsibilities. So you know, those those duties were just divided and and we just we took off and had a blast doing it.”
After Daniel retired, the new superintendent, Dan Manning, asked McKinney to take on the role of Deputy Superintendent.
One of the hallmarks of Lynn McKinney’s career at Aledo ISD was that it was not just at Aledo ISD.
She was there when the Aledo AdvoCats started. She was there when the Center of Hope moved into east Parker County.
She has represented herself and the school district in numerous activities, and when her mother, Anna Boger, moved in after the death of Lynn’s father, Anna did the same at Aledo United Methodist Church.
In 2019 Lynn received the McFadden Award, presented by Camp Fire First Texas to “recognize the accomplishments of organizations and individuals that serve youth, heighten public awareness of the needs of young people, and encourage others in the community to invest time and money to help improve the lives of young people.”
Russ Morris, a board member of Camp Fire and Aledo ISD graduate, described McKinney this way:
“Over the years she’s held many roles from classroom teacher, to principal, and now, Deputy Superintendent of the Aledo ISD,” Morris said. “Guiding her each step of the way was her mantra of, ‘Give it your all every day and base all decisions on what you truly believe is right by the students.’
“I know that Aledo ISD, the larger community, and Camp Fire have all benefited from Lynn’s commitment to doing what is right for the students. She works diligently each day to offer the best possible educational experience, not just through academics, but serving the whole child – which also means advocating for quality and robust programs for students when they are out of school at Camp Fire After School, art clubs, drama classes or a Bible club.”
McKinney announced that she will retire at the end of this school year after 37 years of service to Aledo ISD. Those who know her realize that doesn’t mean the end of her service to the community.
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