Degrees and Certifications:
B.S. in Art, University of Montevallo M.Ed., University of Montevallo
Mrs. Dian McCray
I am a local girl, whose parents graduated from Thompson High School in 1939. My Dad was the Co-Captain of the football team and catcher for Thompson’s first baseball team. His girlfriend, a cheerleader, became my Mom! When they married, they lived and worked on the family farm, Kent’s Dairy, on Hwy. 119. I grew up on that rural farm with the silo that can be seen today (behind the Alabaster Post Office) practically in my back yard. I had several pet cows and calves that were winners at county and state fairs. They were groomed and housed in a red barn where Starbuck's now stands. Thompson Road was pasture land. Kent Dairy Road was known as the Maylene Road and was not even paved. At age twelve, I drove our station wagon across the pasture to cut our Christmas tree. For years I found the best ones in the woods just about where our ninth grade building stands today!
My roots run deep on that farm and equally deep at Thompson. I attended elementary school in a rock-covered building located on the P.E. field at the current Thompson Sixth Grade Center. The same year I started to first grade, my mother began a 30-year career as a bookkeeper in the school office. Creek View, Meadow View, Thompson Intermediate, and the Middle Schools were not even a dream at the time. I graduated from Thompson (located then at the current Sixth Grade Center) in 1967.
A short five-year career in the publishing industry and the start of my family followed college. My irresistible, life-long career began in the fall of 1980 when I was lead to teach at Thompson Elementary School (currently the home of Thompson Intermediate School). I fell in love with my second grade class that year and with teaching. I became Shelby County’s only Elementary Art teacher there in 1981. Nine years later, I followed those second-graders to the high school, where they were my senior art students! Today, several of them are teaching in our Alabaster Schools.
This year, I celebrate my 37th opening of a Thompson school (49th if you also count my years as a student). Each year I face challenges and discoveries that add to my art journey of learning about art and myself, making art, sharing art, teaching art, and starting young artists on their own art journeys. I’ve been blessed to combine my passion with my calling. I have a lot of retired friends who yearly encourage me to join them. They always ask, “When are you going to retire?” I always answer, “When I have nothing left to teach!” Is it any wonder my favorite quote is also about this process? “Life is not a destnation. It is a journey.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)