The principles Leon McKinney gleaned from twenty five years of teaching and a lifetime of experiences in an incredible family are powerful indeed. His stories of overcoming great diversity can motivate one to live positively in almost any circumstance. The inspiration he received from watching his parents’ struggles and triumphs in raising his special needs sister shaped his life. Add to these his keen observations about living joyfully in the middle of the most difficult situations, and you have a hint of the empowering words he brings to readers of Heroes and Hope.
Founder of H.O.P.E., a non profit program dedicated to helping kids pursue education through community-supported scholarships, McKinney walks the walk by reaching out to young people with hope for a better future. H.O.P.E. stands for Help Our Kids Pursue Education. The K is missing because H.O.P.E.’s goal is to bring in the kids who are left out by doing everything possible to help students who want more education but lack the financial resources to take the first steps.
McKinney earned a BA in Education and a Masters in Music Education from Central Washington State University. After teaching music for four years at Pateros schools, he taught for 21 Years at Eastmont High School and served as the Director of Music for the Eastmont Schools. Since retiring from education, he has worked in insurance and investment, where he is a leading agent and mentor for New York Life. He is a Life member of Million Dollar Roundtable, an organization of the top five percent in the U. S. insurance industry. He spent 12 years as board member of the NCW Community Foundation and has served as its Vice President. Leon was honored as the friend of the year of Wenatchee Valley College in 2006. He and his wife Bonnie have four adult children: Jeff, Brent, Christy, and Brian.