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Yough principal Reidmiller retiring after 37-year career

Joe Napsha
| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
West Newton Elementary School Principal Keith Reidmiller sits at the desk in his office with just days left before he retires. He has worked for the Yough School District 37 years.
Joe Napsha | The Times-Sun
West Newton Elementary School Principal Keith Reidmiller sits at the desk in his office with just days left before he retires. He has worked for the Yough School District 37 years.

Keith Reidmiller is capping a 37-year career as a teacher and administrator in the Yough School District at the end of this school year and is looking forward to a new phase in his life – spending more time with family and pursuing his woodworking hobby, as well as hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors.

“It's been a good career. I just hope everybody has one as good as mine. I'll miss it, but at the same time, I'm moving onto a new phase of life, one that hopefully, is at a little slower pace,” Reidmiller said as he sat in his West Newton Elementary School office, amidst family photos and children's artwork.

The Yough School Board already has selected Reidmiller's successor and he has worked with Brian Sutherland since April. Sutherland is a former Monessen High School principal and a teacher and administrator in the Penn Hills School District.

The changing of the guard means that for the first time since 1977, Reidmiller will not be working for Yough. His career path veered toward education at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where he began his college education studying criminology. But, after taking an early learning class, he enjoyed it so much he switched majors.

Reidmiller started as a substitute teacher at Yough in 1977. He was hired in 1978 to teach social studies at the junior high school level and worked in West Newton, South Huntingdon and Sewickley Township schools. He taught at the high school level for about 20 years.

“I loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed teaching government and having the discussions with students,” Reidmiller said.

As one of the more veteran teachers in the high school, he served as the head teacher in the building. He decided to join the administration and earned his principal's certification from Point Park University in Pittsburgh at age 50. He served as an assistant principal at the high school for five years, before becoming principal at West Newton Elementary three years ago.

“It's nice to know you can have an impact on kids' lives in general,” Reidmiller said.

One aspect of education that has changed for the worse in his career has been an increase in violence among students. He was working at Yough High School when two students went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999, killing 12 fellow students and one teacher.

Increased security measures at the schools are just a sign of the times, he noted.

“I hate to see it come to the point where we need it. You never know when something like that is going to happen,” Reidmiller said.

Reidmiller praised the Yough School Board for balancing the need for maintaining quality education at an affordable cost.

“With (Superintendent) Dr. (Janet) Sardon's leadership, the district is on the right track. The district is in a good place right now,” Reidmiller said.

Retirement will give Reidmiller, 59, a native of Sewickley Township, the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Marsha, and their three children: Stephanie, a teacher at Yough High School, Matthew in Arizona and Daniel in Florida; and granddaughter.

He has a basement full of woodworking equipment and tools in his West Newton home, where he will have more time to build furniture and other items. He also will have more time for hunting, fishing and golf, adding he loves to take walks in the woods.

“It's nice to go (retire) when you want to go,” Reidmiller said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.

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