Support available for students grieving teacher’s death

A popular Juneau-Douglas High School teacher passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.

Forty-two year-old Alison McKenna was found dead in her home Saturday morning.

Juneau police responded to call from a family member at 10:43 a.m. Police say her death is NOT considered suspicious. The body has been sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

McKenna leaves behind two young children, a son, age 11 and a 9-year-old daughter.

She also touched the lives of hundreds of students over the years. McKenna taught World Literature and Creative Writing at JDHS as well as Writing for Publication. She was advisor to the student publication, The Ego.

In 2006, McKenna helped KTOO launch the high school broadcast journalism program, giving her students the opportunity to report stories for KTOO’s Morning Edition.

McKenna knew the importance of teaching students how to conduct interviews, work with adults, reach out to the community and meet deadlines. She said she wanted her students to be taken seriously and the program inspired them to do quality work.

As a long time educator, friend, teacher and colleague, her loss will be particularly hard on staff and students at both JDHS and Thunder Mountain High School. School district spokeswoman Kristin Bartlett says support is available for students and families at the high schools. While there is no school for students today and tomorrow (Monday and Tuesday), the high schools are open and counselors will be available to help students during this difficult time.

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