Mike McKiernan has a reputation as an outstanding educator, mentor, coach and friend. His peers know him as a serious professional who constantly seeks improvement. He is innovative and tries new things such as starting the Latin American History class at Handley. He is the recipient of the Stewart Bell Excellence in Teaching Award for exceptional performance in classroom teaching.
A graduate of William and Mary, he holds Master’s degrees in Classical History and in Education Administration. A member of the Social Studies department since 1998, he mentors and collaborates with new faculty. He takes time to ask them how things are going, what he can do to support them, and reminds them that the life of a teacher is hard but good.
Mike has coached girl’s cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. His cross country teams participated in the state meet six of the seven years he coached. His teams have won one state championship, five regional championships and 21 district titles. The Winchester Star named him Coach of the Year for the sixth time after Handley won its fourth straight Class 4 Northwestern District track title in 2022.
Jeffrey Keller, Virginia’s Teacher of the Year in 2023, stated: “There aren't too many veteran educators who still connect with students the way Mr. McKiernan does. Walk by his classroom in the morning and you will see it packed with students who just want to get an extra few minutes talking with Mr. McKiernan about movies or track or music or you name it.”