By Kim Johnson

COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s the middle of May, and that means the school year is winding down. But for one teacher in Coon Rapids, it also means his career is coming to a close.

“I’m a little melancholy because I’m going to miss the kids,” Tim McLean said.

McLean is retiring from Coon Rapids High School after 31 years. But the mark he’s made on countless students over the years can never be undone, and that’s what makes McLean this week’s Excellent Educator.

McLean teaches physics, a subject he’s been passionate about since he was in school.

“I had an excellent high school physics teacher that influenced me,” he said.

Now, McLean is influencing younger generations, including his own children. All three of them grew up to be teachers.

“It makes me very proud,” McLean said. “I feel like they thought, as my children, they had a good upbringing as a result of having a father who’s in education and I think that was part of their influence.”

But to understand McLean’s love for all of his kids, you have to look at his walls. They’re lined with pictures of students he taught as far back as 30 years ago.

“It kind of just brings back memories,” he said.

He admits he doesn’t remember the names of all his students. But there’s one name on the wall he won’t forget. Jackie Polloway, once his student, now his coworker, teaches just down the hall.

Polloway says she can’t imagine Coon Rapids High School without him.

“I want his room to be retired, kind of like a jersey, because it’ll be weird. When I went to school here, and now teaching here, it’s always been Mclean’s physics room, and now he’ll be gone,” Polloway said. “It’s going to be sad.”

As for what McLean plans to do in retirement, he hopes to spend time with his three grandchildren and also kayak.


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