Alder selects new leader for Canaan Middle School

Matt Keller
Matt Keller

(Posted July 1, 2015)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Long time education leader Matt Keller is the new principal at Canaan Middle School.

The Jonathan Alder school board approved the hiring on June 24. Keller replaces Jamie Pund who accepted a position in Indiana.

“He has extensive experience in educational leadership, and we are excited about what he will bring to Canaan Middle School and the Jonathan Alder Local School District,” said Superintendent Gary Chapman.

Since 2013, Keller has been principal at Wilson Hill Elementary, a K-6 school in the Worthington City Schools District in Franklin County.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene College where he played basketball and was captain of the team in the 1999-2000 season. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Keller taught physical education at Navin Elementary School in Marysville in 2004-05, was assistant principal of an elementary school in St. Mary’s in 2005-07, served as an assistant principal at Willis Intermediate School in Delaware in 2007-11; and served as principal at Laura Woodward Elementary School in Delaware in 2011-13 before moving to the Worthington School District in 2013.

The Jonathan Alder board bid farewell to high school Principal Phil Harris who retired after 35 years with the district.

Harris said that during his time at Jonathan Alder, he was proud that his three children attended the schools.

“Keep your focus on the kids,” he said to a standing ovation for his service.

In other action, the board adopted a schedule of professional development days and set dates for make-up days after the five allowed calamity days are used. Professional days will be Sept. 21, Oct. 23, Feb. 12 and March 11. Make-up days will be the professional day Feb. 12, Presidents’ Day Feb. 15, professional day March 11 and Easter Monday March 28. Any other missed days will be made up at the end of the school year. The calendar also calls for graduation on May 29.

Commendations from the board were extended to several coaches and players:

  • baseball coach Craig Kyle for leading the team to the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference (MOAC) Red Division title;
  • softball coach Dave McGrew for leading the team to the MOAC Red Division title and player Tori Walker who was named first-team all-conference, honorable mention all-metro, first-team all-Central District and first-team all-state; and
  • boys’ tennis coach Ryan Swinehart and the team for winning the MOAC tournament.

In other work, the board

  • approved the appointment of Plain City resident Amy Polaski to the Plain City Public Library board and approved the library board’s request to put a 1.5-mill levy on the November ballot;
  • approved the renewal of the lease of the Vineyard Church of Plain City to operate its Daily Needs Assessment program in the former Plain City Elementary school;
  • approved a lease agreement with the Union County YMCA to operate a latchkey program in the former Plain City Elementary school; and
  • approved an overnight lock-in for July 31-Aug. 1 for the high school volleyball team to kick off its practice season.

The board’s next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. July 15.

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