MEREDITH — After 32 years as a teacher and administrator — 26 of them at Inter-Lakes Elementary School — Steve Kelley has announced he will retire when the school year ends in the spring.
Kelley, who graduated from Plymouth State College in 1983 and later earned master's and doctoral degrees at the University of New Hampshire, first came to Inter-Lakes Elementary School fresh from college. He taught second and fifth grades as well as serving a stint as acting assistant principal for the next five years and in 1988 was named assistant principal, with responsibilities for Sandwich Central School and Lang Street School as well as Inter-Lakes Elementary School.
In 1992, he left Meredith to become principal of Conway Elementary School. He recalled spending several years commuting from Meredith to Conway before he was able to sell one home and purchase another. He said that six years later he began getting phone calls from Jean Schlager,the retiring principal at Inter-Lakes Elementary School who first hired him to teach there. Soon there was a house on the market in the Mount Washington Valley and Kelley was making the same journey he made earlier in the opposite direction.
Kelley has spent the last 17 years as principal of Inter-Lakes Elementary School, noting that he and Schlager have been the only two principals at the school in the past 40 years. Stressing the importance of continuity, he said that the entire administrative team at the school has been together throughout his tenure as principal. "I'm the first out of the gate," he remarked about his retirement. The continuity of leadership, he said, "speaks to the special type of educational we have here in Meredith."
Kelley said he was especially proud of his role bringing the "living classroom," a greenhouse on the school campus, to fruition by helping to raise the $65,000 to fund the project.
Kelley counted being honored as the top elementary school in New Hampshire in 2009 among the high points of his career, which also featured personal awards as a national distinguished principal, which earned him a visit to the White House, and as New Hampshire Principal of the Year in 2007.
Kelley said that the school has "just begun traveling down a path of personalizing learning for our students." The initiative, he said was "in its infancy," but promises to be "a very interesting journey" for his successor.
While "open to possibilities," Kelley said he has no specific plans for his retirement, but is eyeing college teaching. "I think I have something to offer aspiring educational administrators," he said.
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 467