Carrie McKee enjoys being a part of Coloradans’ lives and being trusted to share their stories with thousands of people around the state.
“I love inviting people to be a part of something bigger than themselves. I love being a part of win-win situations, like partnerships,” McKee said. “And I love connecting people to new opportunities, their passions or new people.”
McKee serves as Rocky Mountain PBS’ vice president of statewide regional innovation centers, which are the offices of Rocky Mountain Public Media throughout Colorado.
McKee was born in Indiana and raised primarily near Washington, D.C. She studied and played basketball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and came to Colorado Springs for her first job out of college.
She got her start working for the U.S. Olympic Committee, then worked at other nonprofits. She served in ministry for 10 years with Young Life, then worked for United Way and went on to serve at Junior Achievement before arriving at Rocky Mountain PBS. In her current capacity, McKee provides support to leadership and staff around the state at the company’s four offices in Grand Junction, Pueblo, Durango and Colorado Springs.
“We strive to tell stories of all Coloradans,” McKee said. “We are the only public media entity in the state that reaches 90 percent of the state of Colorado.”
At Rocky Mountain PBS, McKee helps develop partnerships for programs like “Colorado Classroom,” which offers literacy lessons for children in kindergarten through third grade. She’s also working on a program that offers Colorado children a link with NASA and the International Space Station; kids can submit questions that will be answered by astronauts in space.
McKee likes knowing that even though every child may not have access to internet or cable television, all families can hook up an antenna and have access to Rocky Mountain PBS programming.
“Literacy is so important,” she said. “The reason we focus on children in kindergarten through third grades is because in those grades, kids are learning to read. In third grade, they start reading to learn. So if they are not strong readers by third grade, they are going to fall further and further behind. We’re trying to make sure our kids aren’t slipping during this season of COVID.
“We’ve also offered [science, technology, engineering, arts and math]-themed weeks, and kids are being introduced to STEM and STEAM careers that they may never have had exposure to in small towns.”
Rocky Mountain PBS airs some of the most co-watched programs on TV, meaning that more than 50 percent of children have a parent or caregiver watching with them, McKee said.
“So we’re not just exposing kids to STEAM themes. We’re exposing families, parents, young adults, grandparents to these ideas,” she said. “It all goes back to connecting people to ideas that they otherwise may not have heard about or seen before.”
This year, McKee said, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way Rocky Mountain PBS connects with children and families. Last year, Rocky Mountain PBS offered premiere screenings where hundreds of people would attend to see and engage with new content. This year, the focus shifted to virtual events and giving children opportunities to engage in new formats.
Looking to the future, McKee said she wants to continue to push forward for the betterment of the community.
“A thread that goes throughout my whole life is my faith. On a very fundamental level, my hope every day is to see and share God’s glory,” she said. “I want to do that by loving people well, being able to be a part of solutions and not problems, and really to be able to share people’s stories throughout Colorado. And I want to be supportive in making Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region a world-class place.”