Debbie's McShan Leadership Merits More than 250 Words

August 1, 2022

Since 2010 PHPC has wrapped its arms around the students, staff, and families at McShan Elementary in Vickery Meadow. In the fall, we will be embarking on our 22nd year of partnership with the school! For 22 years, students, staff, and families have come and gone, but for over ten years, one face has remained constant: Debbie Tunnell. Debbie is half of our dynamic two-person lay leadership team overseeing our McShan partnership. In one way or another, Debbie has walked with, loved, and uplifted every person who enters the McShan building.

Debbie is stepping back from her leadership role this upcoming school year but not leaving our McShan mission, and we are so grateful for her ministry and thankful to her. I have asked Dalene Buhl (the other half of the McShan dynamic duo) to reflect on her time with Debbie. She aptly titled her email to me, "Debbie's McShan leadership merits more than 250 words". Please read with me Dalene's words below.

Having served McShan Elementary as a tutor before being handed the leadership reins from Trudy Kennedy, Debbie Tunnell has skillfully guided PHPC's support of McShan faculty/staff with classroom supplies and coat drives, teacher appreciation meals and holiday/testing day treats, special events, and the highlight--PHPC's annual staff appreciation luncheon. Debbie coordinates PHPC's fifth grade etiquette luncheons, Girls in Pearls and Guys in Ties, and serves as a valued member of the school's Site-Based Decisionmaking Committee to increase community involvement. Further, Debbie has a special connection with nearly every McShan teacher, counselor, and staff member.

Beyond the school walls, Debbie has steered PHPC's response to resourcing McShan families in the wake of apartment fires, leading pandemic vaccination needs, advocating for food, water, and electricity during multiple snowstorms, and myriad other ad hoc needs of the Vickery Meadow/McShan community.

Debbie and her husband, TR, have built shelving and transported weekly supplies for Food for Kids from far south Dallas, painted hallways and overseen the installation of murals to brighten school spirit. This past year Debbie asked her two sons for their Mothers' Day gift to be for McShan, so the boys and TR installed three sturdy, permanent picnic tables for outdoor study and teacher respite during recess.

The icing on the cake has been Debbie's tutoring. First, she tutored a boy with special needs who has now been promoted to sixth grade. Additionally, every month for two years, she has tutored "Malcolm," a boy with behavioral challenges who was asked to leave his two prior schools. Even when "Malcolm" moved away from the McShan area, Debbie continued to tutor him every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday so successfully that "Malcolm" ranked second in earnings for our McShan Reading Homeroom monetary award program for his online phonics prowess.

Debbie is skillfully handing her leadership baton to her hand-picked successor, Cindy Bunnett, a longtime McShan volunteer who knows the school very well, having worked side-by-side with Debbie on nearly every project. 

While Debbie will be redirecting her focus to her new first grandson and other family members in need of her loving attention, she will continue tutoring with McShan Reading Homeroom, where the needs are endless, and her love makes a powerful difference. 

Help us thank Debbie for her powerful "PHPC presence" at McShan.

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