SIS remembers student Kristen McLean

Kristen McLean, a fellow of the School of Information Sciences’ Project RUSL: Restoring Urban School Libraries, died January 14, 2022. She was a sixth grade English teacher at Michigan’s Harper Woods Triumph MiddleSIS student Kristen McLean School.

McLean was part of the inaugural cohort for Project RUSL, a three-year master's level project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to provide education and professional development for exceptional classroom teachers to become certified school librarians and to help restore the school libraries at their respective schools. As a fellow, McLean received mentorship from school library professionals and professional development on implementing Hip Hop-based education into school librarianship.

"Kristen was an enthusiastic and cheerful educator who promoted a culture of reading in her classroom, which is why she was one of the first people recommended to be a part of Project RUSL,” said Project Director and SIS Associate Professor Dr. Kafi Kumasi. “Her principal, Dr. Michael Carrauthers, has been an advocate for restoring school library programming at Triumph and its even that much more heartbreaking that she won't be able to finish that work physically, but perhaps we can carry forward in her honor." 

Dr. Carrauthers, a Wayne State alumnus, will remember McLean as a committed educator who helped lead her students to the joy of reading. "She was a consummate professional who had a passion for teaching reading to young people," he said. "When I was made aware of Project RUSL, Ms. McLean was the obvious choice to recommend for this program. She has made a lasting impression on our students."

McLean’s personality, professionalism and passion will be remembered and missed by all who knew her.

“Kristen was so excited to become a school librarian for her students. She was consistently positive, and passionate about her own learning and her students’ success. I will miss her sense of humor and tenacious spirit.” – Gwenn Marchesano, SIS adjunct faculty member and Project RUSL mentor

“Kristen absolutely loved getting kids and books together. She would have been a terrific presence in any school library and a dynamic addition to the library media profession.” – Kathleen McBroom, SIS adjunct faculty member and Project RUSL practicum coordinator

"Kristen was such a joy to have known. Her FUN personality and spirit are greatly missed.” – Project RUSL fellow Aritsa Coleman

“Kristen had an infectious personality. She was true to herself and displayed her love of life and learning from the moment I met her. In the small time that I knew her, she shared her journey, her drive to be fully involved in life no matter the circumstances, and her dreams for her students. I am so thankful to have known her. Her life is a testimony for living to the fullest no matter what.” – Project RUSL fellow Angela Stanley

“Ms. McLean really had a way of bringing her characters to life. She loved her students, teaching, and reading. She was passionate about expanding literacy in every way for all learners. She will be missed.” – Project RUSL fellow Yolanda Crawford

“Kristen was an amazing educator that loved to share books with her students!  Her positivity, strength, sense of humor and passion for teaching will be greatly missed.” – Project RUSL fellow Michelle Smith

A memorial service and visitation will take place Friday, February 11, at the Schrader-Howell Funeral Home, 280 S. Main St., Plymouth. Live streaming of the service will be available at 6 p.m. at Read the complete obituary here for more information.

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