Principal's Message



    Welcome to McKean! 



    Welcome Message

    Welcome to Thomas McKean High School and our proud Highlander Family.   For the past 55 years McKean has been known for having a staff and student body that is tight-knit and supports each other through thick and thin.  My name is Brian Mattix, the proud principal of this great school.  This is my 25th year as an educator.  At McKean I began teaching 20 years ago, started as an assistant principal 14 years ago, and was lucky enough to become the 12th Highlander Prinicpal 9 years ago. 


    One of our goals is to help each student get a job now and find their career for their future. In order to achieve this goal, we take a personal approach to supporting students at their achievement level; we collaborate as professionals and with our families; we have some of the strongest vocational programs in the state (for example, our FFA became a State and Regional Champion Chapter, we have several student-run businesses, including a catering business, an auto repair shop, and a fully functional preschool to name a few).  We are the most diverse secondary school in Red Clay and our diversity is one of our strengths  (28% Caucasian-28% African-American-33% Hispanic, with 35% Students with Disabilities and 15% English Language Learners).  We expect our students to engage in community service projects, to learn from their mistakes, and to grow into leadership opportunities.  Our staff strives to find the right supports for each and every student, so please partner with us to find what works best for your child.  We are blessed with many resources and the best staff around. 


    Thomas McKean High is a traditional, comprehensive school offering about 20 courses that earn College credits (AP and Dual Enrollment classes) and 10 Career Pathway options. This dual approach affords our students the best of both worlds – opportunities to compete for entrance into college along with the chance to begin a path towards a career.  Our Vision is simple at McKean – #FutureReady.  We have upgraded our facilities; hired staff with industry experience; created student-run businesses; and increased work-based experience opportunities (Coops, Internships, job shadowing, etc).  Unlike at the Vo-Tech schools in Delaware, at McKean students can choose to take and complete more than one career pathway.  Most of our students graduate experiencing more than one pathway.  Another benefit from attending McKean over a Vo-Tech school is that McKean offers more elective opportunities.  We welcome anyone considering our school to schedule a visit and explore our CTE webpages.  Come experience why we believe always that “It’s a Great Day to be a Highlander!”


    Welcome to McKean, Welcome to our family. Thanks for trusting us with your child. 



    What is a Highlander?

    One of the most common questions asked by our freshman each year is

     “What is a Highlander anyway?”                                  …Please indulge me as I try to answer.


    Did you know we are the only school in the country named after Thomas McKean, a proud Scottish-American who signed the Declaration of Independence…..and Highlanders are native to Scotland, McKean’s homeland?


    Scotland has 3 distinct geographic regions: The Border with England, The Lowlands, and The Highlands.  By its name, you might correctly guess that the Highlands have a lot of Tall hills.  It is the most northern, remote, and mountainous part of Scotland.

    ---- Let me draw a comparison... McKean is located in the area of highest elevation in Delaware, impossible to reach by public transportation, difficult to find by car, and the building is set back off the road, ...then once you make it here, you have to manage our maze of hallways...much like the many rooms of an old Scottish castle.


    The Original Highlanders were a very strong people enduring the rugged landscape and weather. They were self-sufficient and independent as a group, which helped them develop into a close-knit clan system. Because of their distance to trade routes, they typically did not have much money, but their wealth was in the strength of their clan and their fierce fighting force and in their Highlander Hospitality.


    Highlanders are tough, proud, resourceful, brave, big-hearted, and tons of fun....

    Highlanders are you,

    Highlanders are me and my staff,

    Highlanders are the 51 years of strong prideful and loving people that have attended and worked at Thomas McKean High School.


    In our building, “if these walls could talk….the stories they would tell.” You have had 51 amazing graduating classes come before you walking the halls of McKean High - they have become business leaders, politicians, artists, Olympic and Professional athletes, professors, doctors, lawyers, actors, bankers, some of them are your parents and relatives; and we are the only high school in the state with TWO Super Bowl Champions (Randy White and Anthony Anderson).


    Welcome to our Highlander Clan!