Keeler steps down as Glacier Creek principal

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Tim Keeler announced this week he will be stepping down as principal at Glacier Creek and will be replaced by Kromrey associate principal Bill Deno.

The moves are effective as of Monday, Jan. 18. The announcement was made during simultaneous after-school staff meetings at Glacier Creek and Kromrey on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Keeler received a standing ovation after he made the announcement.

Keeler has been at Glacier Creek since the middle school opened in 1996. He served as assistant principal before becoming principal. Before that, he worked as a social studies teacher in Colorado and started his career in the District as a teacher and dean of students at MHS.

Keeler said he has been mulling the decision for close to a year. He said he wanted to move into a position that had more daily interaction with students.

"Life doesn't always follow the school calendar,'' Keeler said. "It just felt like the right time.''

Keeler will begin his new position as a special education teacher at MHS on Jan. 26, the first day of the second semester.

Superintendent Don Johnson said while it is natural to wonder why a transition would occur in the middle of the school year it isn't uncommon. The District typically has 15-20 openings that are filled during the school year, he said.

"Tim basically desires more personal-professional life balance, an opportunity to work with students on a personal level, and a change from the daily demands of being a principal,'' Johnson said. "It is really as simple as that. I respect Mr. Keeler’s resilience and willingness to make a challenging life decision for both personal and professional reasons.''

Deno joined the District in 2005 after serving 11 years as an intern assistant principal in the Minneapolis Public Schools. He also worked for six years as a special education teacher in Minnnesota. He has an administration degree from St. Thomas, a master's degree in special education from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor's degree from UW-La Crosse.

"Bill has an exemplary reputation as an administrator, an instructional leader, and as a collaborative educator,'' Johnson said. "It is rewarding to have such a capable leader to step in at this time.

Associate principal Ken Metz and special education coordinator Adrienne Emerson will remain in their current positions at Glacier Creek. Colleen Young, currently a English Second Language teacher at Kromrey, will replace Jalateefa Joe-Meyers as the dean of students at Glacier Creek. Joe-Meyers will assume a new position as student engagement coordinator for second semester to expand the District's work increasing graduation rates among credit deficient students at the high school level.  

Eric Engel, who has worked as a science teacher and dean of students for 16 years at Kromrey, will replace Deno as the school's associate principal. Lindsay Vicenzi, who has been Kromrey's math integration specialist, will replace Engel as dean of students.

Johnson said both dean of students are interim positions. He said the timing of the changes made it difficult to hold inteviews for the positions now. However, he wants to especially given other internal candidates an opportunity to apply for the positions in the spring.

"Although I recognize that many will be very sad to see Bill leave Kromrey, the leadership transition should be very seamless as Eric and Lindsay know the staff, students, and families well,'' Johnson said. "Strong administrators like Bill often have opportunities to assume more responsibility and new challenges. This is just such a time for him.''

Johnson said Deno plans to meet with Glacier Creek staff before school on Thursday. A meet-and-greet with Glacier Creek families is also being planned and will be held in the near-future.