Kennedy selected at Shearer Elementary principal

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, August 6, 2019

It’s the “little victories” that keep Kevin Kennedy going.

“Every time you see the light bulb come on, it gives you a charge,” Kennedy said. “When you work with that kid that struggles and struggles, and finally they get it, that’s what keeps you coming back the next day and the next week.

“Bob Seger has a song called ‘Little Victories,’ and I can’t remember what the lyrics of the song are about, but that’s kind of what education is. You get a kid to understand how to add fractions, whatever it might be that they are struggling with, and they get it, and then they move on to the next (victory.)” 

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Kennedy has a week left before the start of his first school year as the new principal of Shearer Elementary School. In all, it will be his 26th school year in education. 

After accepting the position just weeks ago, Kennedy is in full preparation mode, ready to earn that next victory to the tune of Bob Seger. 

Kennedy comes to Shearer from Justice Elementary School, where he spent the last six years as assistant principal. Before that, he taught second and fourth grade at Strode Station Elementary School. 

“I think they all know and would say I was very caring, very fair, very open-minded, and very student-focused,” Kennedy said of his Justice family. “We always made sure our decisions were student-based, what was best for the kids. I think they knew I had a passion for education and I’ve always wanted to do what I could do to help them help the students.” 

Before that, he wasn’t in education at all. He worked in radio broadcasting for several years before making the change.

Kennedy’s co-worker told him he was an excellent communicator; she saw him give his nieces a tour of the radio station and told him he was good with kids.

“You’d make a really good teacher,” she said. 

After a bit, Kennedy said he took what she said to heart, and started to transition into teaching by first subbing before working as an instructional assistant and then pursuing his teaching certificate. 

“I’m almost certain my first sub job was at Shearer,” he said. 

Kennedy said Shearer especially holds a piece of his heart, as he met his wife at Shearer. She had worked as a teacher there when he first started subbing more than 26 years ago. 

Kennedy said he has roots in western Pennsylvania. He grew up in Louisville, though, before moving to Winchester during his sophomore year of high school. He graduated from George Rogers Clark High School. 

Outside of his work in education, Kennedy enjoys spending time with his wife and his two daughters. 

“Always, family first,” he said.

Kennedy also loves to read; though work can sometimes get in the way of that, he said. Kennedy is a fan of music and runs when he can, sometimes as an excuse to listen to his music; he’s got a few marathons and half-marathons under his belt. 

Since the career change, Kennedy said he feels more fulfilled. 

“It’s a lot more rewarding knowing you’re helping to teach kids,” he said.

Kennedy said his initial interest in administration began when he yearned to widen his impact beyond the walls of his classroom.

“Helping other teachers do their job, for me, that’s what this job is: trying to help facilitate the whole picture so my teachers can focus on the task at hand, which is providing the kids with the best possible education they can,” Kennedy said. 

On days where the day-to-day operations of administrative duties may seem overwhelming, Kennedy said he sometimes misses the classroom, though.

“I had a blast as a teacher,” Kennedy said. 

But being an administrator is just as good, even on the hard days. Throughout his six years n administration, Kennedy said he enjoys getting to see the process throughout all parts of the building. 

“It’s not always going to be the most fiscally-rewarding profession, but every time I see a new, young teacher who comes in with fresh ideas and fresh energy, and really see them at the beginning of their career, really kind of take off, you’re kind of like ‘here comes the next generation,’” Kennedy said. “… It’s good to see the new generation coming up.”

Kennedy wants his new family at Shearer to know his door is always open.

“They can come to me with whatever issues they want,” he said. “Every decision I make is going to be a student-focused decision.”

After all, if principals are always making decisions based on what’s best for the kids, they can’t go wrong, Kennedy said. 

“I’m a hands-on, hardworking administrator,” he said. “I used to get to Justice at 6 a.m. My teachers need to know I am working just as hard as they are.”

Kennedy’s goal for his first year as principal is to observe and make a note of any opportunities for more “little victories.” And he can’t wait to start  Aug. 14. 

“It’s a really good school,” he said. “Hopefully, with a fresh set of eyes, I can see ways to enhance what they’ve already started.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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