By: Trisha Brahmachari – Editor-in-Chief
In an email sent to the community on March 13th, Dr. Botelho announced the selection of the new principal of Sharon High School — Ms. Kristen Keenan.
Dr. Botelho recapped Ms. Keenan’s extensive work experience and thanked all of the members of the hiring committee for taking part in the process. Ms. Keenan will be starting at Sharon High on July 1, 2023 and will spend a few days at SHS before her official start date.
“Kristen Keenan has tremendous experience leading a complex building, creating and navigating the high school schedule process, and setting strategic goals for improvement at the high school level. She looks forward to collaborating with the awesome SHS team to promote excellence and equity and the overall experience and well being of our diverse and dynamic group of students,” said Dr. Botelho in the email.
Ms. Turner, a member of the hiring committee, said that both Ms. Keenan and Ms. Ravesi-Weinstein were incredibly strong candidates. “I loved a lot about both of them, and by talking about Ms. Keenan’s strong points I do not want to imply in any way that Ms. Ravesi-Weinstein was not a strong candidate / is not an outstanding administrator / does not have many of the same assets as Ms. Keenan,” said Turner.
Dr. Botelho agreed, and said it was a difficult task to come to a final decision, but he is optimistic about how the two will work together. “ It was a difficult decision as Mr. Ravesi-Weinstein is extremely talented and dedicated as well. I look forward to them teaming up with the rest of the faculty, student body and community at SHS,” said Botelho.
Dr. Botelho said that Ms. Keenan’s experience contributed to his decision. “Ultimately, Ms. Kristen Keenan’s wealth of experience, with over a decade as an Assistant and Associate Headmaster at Taunton High School as well as time as a former teacher and department head, led to my decision,” he said.
“She is a thoughtful, experienced and committed educational leader who I am confident will have the best interest of the students and faculty at Sharon High School at heart,” Botelho added.
Turner added that Ms. Keenan’s experience in Taunton is valuable. “Ms. Keenan has spent her entire career in Taunton, a more urban system than Sharon. She has worked with a diverse cultural and academic population as a teacher, a department coordinator and assistant headmaster (the equivalent of an assistant principal),” Turner said.
Ms. Keenan said that she values everything she learned as a result of her extensive experience. “I started as a history teacher and then was fortunate to become the Curriculum Coordinator for the Socials Studies Department. I learned a tremendous amount in both positions regarding curriculum and instruction, but most importantly I had the opportunity to work with amazing students and teachers!” she said.
“I was primarily responsible for overseeing attendance and discipline for a certain number of students at the high school. The highlight of that position was helping students that were struggling in one way, shape, or form and giving them some paths to success,” Keenan added.
Ms. Turner noted Ms. Keenan’s calm and composed approach to conflict. “I was impressed by her calm demeanor, her belief that there are “no problems that cannot be solved”, and her excitement about coming to Sharon,” Turner said.
Dr. Botelho said that Ms. Keenan will allow SHS to grow. “I believe Ms. Keennan will bring a calm and thoughtful demeanor along with a unique perspective and collaborative spirit that will allow Sharon High School to build upon his tremendous strengths while looking forward to the future in a way that prepares students for a complex and ever changing world,” he said.
Ms. Keenan spoke about her true love for Sharon. “I love that Sharon is a diverse community and that people appreciate and nurture that diversity. I appreciate that the families of Sharon have always valued education and they have worked hard to provide their children enormous opportunities. I believe that the students and staff at Sharon High School have tremendous insight, intellect, and a passion for learning that is inspiring,” Ms. Keenan said.
“I live in a neighboring community and so I do feel like I am already part of the larger Sharon/Stoughton/Easton community. My family and many of my friends live in this area and as an educator, I have always had tremendous respect for Sharon Schools. When the position opened, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me,” she added.
Ms. Keenan said that Sharon High School has amazing potential. “Truly, the deciding factor was the opportunity to work with a great team of educators, the opportunity to shine a light on all of the amazing things happening at Sharon High School, the opportunity to build on the great foundation that has been created, and the belief that Sharon High School can be the best high school in the state!” she said.
Ms. Keenan says she is developing a game plan for SHS. “First and foremost, I need to spend a lot of time listening to every stakeholder in the community. I plan to spend much of my first year listening to the voices of the students, teachers, families, support staff, custodial staff, coaches, advisors, and administration to get a feeling for what is working, what is not working so well, and what collective dreams the community has to build a great school environment,” Keenan said.
“From there, as a team, we start to build ways in which to improve the school community. I believe every successful classroom has to have relationships, routines, and rigor. I think the same is true for the school community at large. How do we build trust and respect among different groups? How do we create routines so students and staff feel grounded in their learning and their profession? How do we then leverage those things to challenge ourselves academically, socially, and civically?” she added.
Ms. Keenan said she is very excited about contributing to the SHS community. “I want to help build a school community where every person feels appreciated and cared for and where EVERY person enjoys showing up every day! I am a positive person by nature and I want Sharon High School to be fun and where students are able to build some of their best memories!” she said.
““We have had a number of years of instability at SHS caused largely by the pandemic and administrative turnover. I am hopeful that next year will begin a chapter of stability. I think that Ms. Keenan and Ms. Ravesi-Weinstein are going to be a dynamic team and will work well with the other administrators,” said Turner.
“I am beyond excited to be the next principal of Sharon High School,” said Keenan.