Home > Staff > Dan McKeon

Dan McKeon - TrekNorth Executive Director - dmckeon@treknorth.org

High School bull riders and goat-ropers in South Dakota, madly skilled jump-ropers and basketball players in the South Bronx of New York City, Alaskan Natives and salmon fishermen on Baranof Island in southeast Alaska... No, these are not my previous lives. They are the lifestyles of the various students I've taught. After graduating from St. John's University in 1999, I spent a year teaching with an emergency license on the Cheyenne River-Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota. My experience that year left no doubt in my mind that teaching was my lifestyle of choice. I wonder what the kids of Bemidji will add to this list?

One of my favorite writers said something about being excited to graduate from school because he'd finally have time to "sit against a tree in the woods and read a good book." That is one image of education I'd like to cultivate; a person sitting in the woods enjoying a good book. But education can look as diverse as the students experiencing it. It might be an intense classroom discussion that leaves everyone feeling smart and exhausted. It might be framing houses for Habitat for Humanity and realizing how good it feels to help people who need help. It might be a rock-climbing trip to the North Shore that includes campfire chats concerning ways we might save this incredible world of ours. It might be an essay test that leaves you humbled. The common threads: rigor, relevance, and adventure.

Why would I leave a place as beautiful and adventurous as southeast Alaska, which, by the way, has the densest Brown Bear population on Earth? Because of one compound word you won't find in the dictionary: TrekNorth. My diverse teaching experience has shown me methods that work well and methods that don't work well, and I firmly believe that TrekNorth is leading the way to making high school an important and relevant educating experience for young adults. After all, one shouldn't have to wait until one graduates to have the time to read a good book in the woods.

top of page



Email Trek North High School Click here to request an application.