INFLUENCER OF THE WEEK: Kimberly McNally, Castleview Elementary School

Kimberly McNally is a third-grade teacher at Castleview Elementary School.

Courtesy photo
  • Observer School Zone
  • Influencer
  • Share

Kimberly McNally is a third-grade teacher at Castleview Elementary School. She has been at the school since it opened and previously served at Sand Lake Elementary School for 12 years. In addition to her work at Castleview, McNally is the track coach at Horizon West Middle School. McNally is also a finalist in this year’s Dish Network’s Hometown Heroes contest.

What brought you to your school?

I taught at Sand Lake Elementary for 12 years, and there was an opportunity to be part of the opening staff of Castleview Elementary in 2019. As a result, I was the first staff member hired by Dr. Julie Helton.

What do you love most about your school?

My favorite thing about my school is the sense of community and belonging. This is established through our house system. There are four houses: Wisdom, Chivalry, Loyalty and Valor. With the opening of the school, each student was given a dragon egg that held their house color inside — you don’t choose your house, your house chooses you. Only new students to Castleview are sorted into a house when they arrive each year. 

What is your motivation?

My motivation is my students and giving them a sense of security and stability. I take pride in showing up every day for them and building their confidence in that they can do anything they set their mind to. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part, and my why, is when my students have a moment they are so proud of themselves for accomplishing something that seemed so difficult in the beginning.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy cheering for my children at their sporting events. I am a busy mom and enjoy spending time with my family.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

I don’t have a favorite teacher, but I do remember all of my elementary teachers. Each of them made an impact in my life and inspired me to be the teacher I am today.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

When I was younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I love animals.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

My favorite children’s book is “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You.” This book is meaningful to me and my own children.

What does it mean to you to be a finalist in Dish Network’s Hometown Heroes contest?

I am extremely flattered and honored to be nominated for The Dish Network’s Hometown Heroes contest. I never would have imagined being a finalist.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have any superhero power, it would be the ability to read people’s minds. This would give me the ability to understand and meet their needs better. 

If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

When I am out for a run, my playlist includes Carrie Underwood. She has many songs that are motivating and are inspiring. 

What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?

My go-to lunch was a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich with a Capri Sun. A real treat was when the cafeteria was serving Gold Bars (if you are from Albuquerque, you know).

What is your favorite holiday and why?

Christmas because we share traditions with my family. But my favorite part is spending time with my family and seeing my children’s pure joy and excitement on their faces.

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?

My best friend was Rani Waterman. We used to do gymnastics together and entered the talent show at school multiple times. Sadly, we are not still in contact.

What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?

I was a competitive gymnast through elementary and middle school. In high school, I was a cheerleader. We were back-to-back state champions, top 10 at nationals; I was a UCA all star and voted for senior superlatives for my senior class.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.