Teacher Profile: McKim


Mr. McKim is an outgoing and well-loved teacher here at Helena High, but how much do you really know about him?  Did you know he once opened for Fall Out Boy? Or that he makes custom furniture? The Nugget sat down with Mr. Mckim to learn more about his past and his plans for the future. Mckim began his academic career as a carpenter’s apprentice, taking classes at the University of Montana. After a while, he left the apprenticeship to study geology full time. he attended University of Montana where he studied geology. From there, he studied conservation of wildland resources at a community college in Seattle, Washington. He finished an already impressive resumé at Eastern Michigan University where he studied earth science and earned his secondary education degree. During and in between schooling, Mckim opened his own construction company, and worked in the industry for 15 years. Meanwhile, he began to realize that his favorite part of the job was educating new employees about construction, which prompted him to get his secondary teaching degree.

Mckim has taught earth science for 10 years, the first four in California, and the remaining six here at Helena High. He teaches freshman honors and regular earth science. Mckim said he “loves teaching freshman” and “dig[s] what [he’s] doing.” In class, Mckim’s favorite unit to teach is historical geology, because he likes, “looking at the rock record. it’s like telling a story of all the progress on the planet,” McKim said. Outside of class, Mr. McKim runs the Helena High Outdoors Club with Mr. Benson and Mr. Lynn; His love for the outdoors lends itself well to the premise of the club: “I would probably be out doing these things anyway, it just make it more fun when I can do it with kids,” said McKim.

Aside from teaching McKim enjoys running his construction business part time, woodworking, playing in his band, Copper Queen (country/folk with a touch of Americana), and traveling, all of which he plans on continuing to do in the future after he retires*.

Before we finished our conversation, Mr. McKim offered two pieces of advice to the students of Helena High; first, “You don’t always have a crystal clear direction on what path to take or what to do, so part of the deal is you take your best guess and go with it and deal with the consequences later. Second, don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re not making mistakes, if you’re not failing, than you’re not trying hard enough. We don’t learn from our successes, but through our failures.”


*The Nugget does not support or advise this action by Mr. McKim. We sincerely hope he has a long and prosperous teaching career.

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