Dr. Keith Kinder


Dr. Keith Kinder, current BOE Director and candidate for the 2014 election, has lived in RSD for 27 years and in those years he has been an administrator at EHS for seven years, MHS for three years, and seven years at LHS

In addition to his involvement in the district, Dr. Kinder’s daughter, Mrs. Emily McCown, is an assistant principal at Rockwood Summit High School, and his grandson attends Babler Elementary.

After retiring, Dr. Kinder continues teaching in a Master’s program at Maryville University where he trains teachers who are seeking their administrative certificate.

This is Dr. Kinder’s second BOE campaign after being elected to the BOE in the 2011 election.

“My experience is one of my biggest pluses in the BOE. It’s not an easy job, and there is a steep learning curve that you are expected to become familiar with,” Dr. Kinder said. “I think from being first a teacher and then a principal for several years I have dealt with a lot of those things on a day-to-day basis.”

Role of the BOE

As a candidate running for re-election, Dr. Kinder plans to continue the mission of the district, which is to create a secure education.

“Our vision is to ensure that the students that we are entrusted with are in a safe environment and that they learn,” Dr. Kinder said. “Our mission is to make sure the students are offered the best education that we can help them get in the Rockwood School District.”

To be on the BOE, Dr. Kinder believes that a candidate must have the right attitude.

“I think you have to be a positive person and look on the positive side. We are the guardians of the Rockwood School District in a lot of ways with the policies, and we do the same thing for the middle schools, elementary schools, the T.A.G. program, Early Childhood Center and many more,” Dr. Kinder said. “Yes, things will come up that will even concern me, but you have to stay positive and promote the Rockwood School District.”

From his previous experience on the Board, Dr. Kinder believe his broad perspective of RSD is beneficial.

“You can’t come in as a board member and think every school runs just like EHS; you need to have a working knowledge of all the other schools. The more you know about the district the more it helps the board,” Dr. Kinder said. “Some people get on the board and they have this big change they want to make, and they don’t think about the ramifications down the road because that’s all they are interested in.”

Funding and finances

In concern to the funding of RSD, Dr. Kinder directs his concerns to the fiscal issues that affect the District’s renovation of buildings.

Two bond issues and they both have failed, which is unheard of in the Rockwood School District,” Dr. Kinder said. “So the financial situation is that we have to keep up the infrastructure of the district.”

He believes that programs need to be reviewed before their implementation.

“We have to be stewards of the taxpayer’s money and be cognizant and watch the money that RSD spends, and to evaluate programs and only ask for educational programs where we have direct evidence that they work.” Dr. Kinder said.

Dr. Kinder believes that the RSD’s current monetary methods are sufficient.

“I am O.K. with the present funding arrangement. I have not seen a more equitable approach offered,” Dr. Kinder said in his response to the Hub candidate survey, March 4.

Common Core and curriculum 

In terms of RSD’s curriculum, Dr. Kinder encourages the BOE to break the mold of former methods of test taking.

“We test because the legislature has to justify the means for their funding. To me, that is not what education is about,” Dr. Kinder said. “Education is about what you have learned throughout your 13 years as a student. A lot of people can memorize stuff and regurgitate it. I want Rockwood students to come out to be thinkers, analyzers and people who can see something and apply their knowledge to it. We need to get away from graduating test takers, and graduate thinkers.”

Dr. Kinder’s experience as a teacher has helped form his opinion that Common Core will help guide Rockwood teachers and better prepare their students for the next level.

“I am a proponent of Common Core. Common Core helps guide the teachers, instead of giving them a book and say ‘Here, teach,’ it gives them certain things to work towards for their students,” Dr. Kinder said. “I wish we could throw away the term Common Core and just call it ‘mastery learning,’ if we could just take the politics out of education and just educate because that’s what we are here for.”

First Amendment

Dr. Kinder also encourages students to employ their First Amendment rights because it is necessary to learning the limits of proper speech.

“The First Amendment is essential to the learning process of students. Students are in public situations because they go to a public school, so we need to, as an educational institution, allow students to learn those limits of proper speech,” Dr. Kinder said. “We need to help students channel and allow them to think on their own with their First Amendment.”

By taking the First Amendment from a broader perspective, Dr. Kinder believes that students must utilize their First Amendment because it is essential in being a U.S. citizen.

“As a public figure I am very cognizant the First Amendment; there is a reason it is the First Amendment. It is one of the most important rights,” Dr. Kinder said. “The First Amendment is a fundamental right in the U.S., so I think we have to allow, promote and encourage that because it is the American way.”