By Anna Skinner
Dr. Mark Keen may have recently retired from his superintendent position at Westfield Washington Schools, but his mission to help students is far from over.
In addition to continuing his term as a city councilor, Keen will now work with the Dept. of Workforce Development with the State of Indiana.
“A lot of superintendents are looking for information about careers, and only about 20 percent of jobs in the county require a college degree, yet all we talk about is kids going to college,” Keen said. “We really need to start rethinking careers and giving schools information about careers available to students so they can start planning in middle school and think about different options.”
Keen will also be working with counties across the state to expand the Youth Assistance Program. He will serve as the one speaking with superintendents and encouraging statewide implementation of the program that has proved successful in Hamilton and Boone counties.
He said he plans to have six to 10 school districts in the state trained and ready to use the Youth Assistance Program in their communities.
“The job of schools is to prepare students for the day after graduation. Instead of calling it career and college readiness, it should just be called career readiness,” Keen said. “We need to get that information to the schools and to the parents so they realize there’s not just one pathway to success; there are multiple pathways to success. If we get more kids thinking in those terms, we can build Indiana.”
He will remain in Westfield, and Dr. Sherry Grate, new superintendent for WWS, will assume her position July 1. Until then, the school board will delegate all documents to the correct administration that need the signatures from the superintendent.
“And I’m a phone call away if they need somebody to give some insight,” Keen added.