Principal Keene’s ALL IN era ends, new leader to be selected

GRC Principal Jamie Keene has taken a Central Office position after 13 years at GRC, including the last two as head principal.

With 13 years of pure dedication and being “all in” with every step, Mr. Keene has served the school and students while always making an effort to “make someone’s day better,” and encouraging us all to do the same.

As assistant principal for 11 years and head principal for two, Mr. Keene’s journey as a staff member at GRC has come to a bittersweet end.

While many are sad to see him go, they are just as excited to see him excel in the new opportunities as Director of Innovation and Alternative Programs for Clark County Public Schools.

His dedication to students and to education has left an indelible mark at GRC which will continue to push students to be “All In” after he leaves. Mr. Keene reflects on his time as head principal and shows his excitement for the future.

What have been your favorite thing you have done as principal?

Always the students. I’ve enjoyed everything about being around students and staff, and building relationships. I absolutely love what I do. There’s an old saying that goes, “If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.” I have felt that way for 13 years here. I love being around people and I love being with the students.

What do you think is your defining accomplishment as head principal?

Sometimes when you talk about defining accomplishments, other people may see something different than I may see individually. In the broad sense, I hope I have instilled a desire with students to have less apathy and more empathy. I want GRC to produce good people, people who do the right things and have compassion for others. If I were to pick an event that I am most proud of, it would be Difference Makers. That is just something that I take personally. Every staff member should try to provide that positive experience to make a difference in a student’s life.

How do you think “All In” will change as you leave?

We started that two years ago, so the new principal may want to do their own type of branding. I hope to have a conversation with the new principal about why we started it and what it means. Even if there is something new, I do think “All In” will always be a part of GRC. I hope we are to the point where “All In” is not an event,it just happens. Whether it changes or not, I hope “All In” stays with everyone.

Do you have any advice for the new principal?

Sometimes in education we get caught up in the content or standards. Those are important, don’t get me wrong. The curriculum is very important in school. But for me, the relationship piece is more important. That is something we’ve tried to do in the last two years. I would tell the new principal to take some time and make some time to get to know the students and the staff. I was asked two years ago how I am going to get to know everybody. I said I would try, but that is probably impossible. But, to me, it is more important for all the students to know who the principal is.

What will the new position entail?

Director of Innovation and Alternative Programs is a brand new position in Clark County. There is some flexibility for us to make it how we want it to look. I am excited about the opportunity. It provides innovation opportunities to all students. We are looking to create an academic or career center that has alternative education. Part of it may be Phoenix Academy or the virtual platform, or flexible scheduling possibilities. Maybe we start some stem or additional pathway courses. A big building like GRC is not for everyone, so what else can we provide for kids instead of home school that keeps them in our district and involved with our students?

Why did you decide to leave?

It was a difficult decision for me because I love what I do so much. However, this is also an opportunity for me to challenge myself and try something new. I feel like if you are truly going to be a lifelong learner, you have to push yourself a little bit and try something you haven’t done. This is an opportunity for me to keep challenging myself, to learn, and keep doing better. I’ve enjoyed all 13 years here. This is an opportunity for me to help students across the district instead of just the high school.

What is the process of choosing a new principal?

When the district announced I was taking this position, they posted the head principal position on the website and began taking applications. People interested will apply and Superintendent Howard will work with the GRC Site-Based Decision Making Council to choose. They decide criteria when looking through applications and choose candidates to interview. From there they will choose the right person to lead GRC. We’ve done a lot of good things in the past two years and someone with new and fresher ideas can take what we started and run with it and make it even better.

We thank Mr. Keene for everything he’s put into the school and community. He has created an incredible learning environment at the high school which will expand across the district in his new position.

His energetic transformation at GRC has not gone unnoticed, and even when he’s gone, the school will remember 2 words in particular that represent Mr. Keene well.

Thank you, Mr. Keene, for being “ALL IN.”