A safe place, a safe person


Freshman counselor Tim McKean counsels senior Mia Russo. “I think that is not that I am impacting them, it is that it’s more that they are safe to talk to me about things,” McKean said. Eagle photo by Grace Flock.

Within GlenOak High School’s lower D halls, there is a man who has been living longer than the first iPhone. That man is freshman counselor, Tim McKean. 

McKean has been working for Plain Local Schools for 13 years. During his time here, he has been able to counsel numerous different students. Even though McKean has been a counselor for many years, being a counselor was not his first pick. 

“I loved history and I wanted to be a social studies teacher and then a principal. But I never considered going into education in college; it was more working in college ambitions that drove me to become a counselor. But being a Broadcaster was the main thing in college,”  McKean said.

Since becoming a counselor, McKean has created many connections with students and loves helping and talking with them.

“I think that is not that I am impacting them, it is that it’s more that they are safe to talk to me about things,” McKean said.

McKean is able to see both sides of the story, using his own experiences from high school  in order to better understand the students that he counsels. 

“Well I think it is about how I grew up and who I am by nature and I remember what it was like in high school and I see both sides and it creates an understanding,” Mckean said. 

McKean views himself as someone who is a naturally caring person, making the effort to help others however he can. 

“By nature, my personality is showing compassion, caring, and being able to see all sides of the story. When I was a sophomore in college I worked at NBC as an intern,” McKean said. “I started to explore if I was meant to be a journalist. Junior year I applied to be a tour guide on campus and I like to be able to help people to show people and people with college.”

During his college years, McKean became one of the freshman class advisors. He not only taught the freshman about the campus but was a tour guide, freshman orientation advisor and recruiter. All of these things are part of why McKean wanted to become a counselor. 

McKean has always wanted to help kids and felt like he could improve young lives. He sees every side of the story and tries to understand what each person is trying to say and tries to find common ground. He makes the effort to find a way for students to open up more in order to help them, trying to make them more comfortable with their situation. 

“I feel like he is accommodating and he focuses on what they need and goes to extreme lengths to get them what they need,” freshman Pressley Grzybowski said. “I think that he is a fun, caring person and he is great to be around, he can tell if your having a bad day and can tell what you need even if it’s a hi in the hallway or a smile or if you need to talk and if you don’t want to talk he will respect that.”

Many people do not realize that there are counselors available to talk with, even if they do know some find it intimidating to do so. 

“I think in general people are scared to go to the counselor and it is not as scary as it seems and it helps to decompress. Keeping all those emotions in it can affect your school work and other things,” Grzybowski said.

However, McKean is the opposite of scary and often helps students feel at ease.

“I think that he is a great person to talk to, he is a very sweet guy and I feel like many people think that he is a “bad guy” and that he is human too and that he is just doing his job,” freshman Jillian Haun said. 

It is important that students realize that counselors are here for students and are available for students to talk about their problems even if they do not relate to all the problems on a personal level.

McKean and other counselors have a website set up for students to sign up for meetings. https://www.plainlocal.org/students/high-school-resources/glenoak-counseling-department