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'I'm really just one part of the puzzle:' Longtime Millard teacher retiring after 40 years

Posted at 8:12 AM, May 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 09:12:43-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For decades, teacher Cindy Barr McNair has changed the lives of hundreds of students in the Millard Public Schools District.

"I'm really just one part of the puzzle," said McNair. "I'm here to do my part and help students succeed."

McNair works one-on-one with blind and low vision students across the district, using adaptive technology like an Onyx machine that uses a camera to enlarge text.

McNair has worked with Millard West Senior Halle Christenson for two years. Christenson has cataracts and uses technology like the Onyx machine, as well as an iPad to help her learn.

She said McNair has played a tremendous role in her education.

"She's always there when I need her to be there," said Christenson. "There's never been a time where we met and she didn't have what I needed. She's always encouraging me to do the best I can."

McNair said the technology to help visually impaired students has improved drastically, from the evolution of devices like iPad's to even cameras.

She said seeing the smiles on student's faces gets her up in the morning.

"Every single one is unique and special to me," said McNair.

Administrator Amanda Hunt said McNair's role is special because she's been working with some students since they were born.

"Cindy serves our families from birth until their 21," said Hunt. "She's really watched them grow up along the way. That impact, I don't even know how to put into words."

To end her career, McNair received the Dr. Benton and Harriet Kutler Outstanding Vision Teacher Award. Along with a plaque, the award will include a $10,000 grant.

"I will miss my connections with students and staff. I work with an amazing group of people," said McNair.