Purple Knights News · Interim Superintendent Keyser plans to listen and learn

Beloit Schools Interim Superintendent Keyser plans to listen and learn

BELOIT — School District of Beloit Interim Superintendent Dan Keyser said he is learning about the district, getting connected in the community, and planning for the 2021 school year with lots of listening and learning along the way.

Keyser, who started his duties as interim superintendent on July 1, said he’s met with board members, administrators virtually, some staff members and with the NAACP.

He said his role will be to help build a vision for the district and to connect with the community. Living in Janesville, he said he has strong interest in the permanent superintendent position.

“I fully know the position I’m in, but I’m planning for 10 years out,” he said. “We can’t afford to be thinking one year out. We need to be thinking 10 years out and building a vision for the opportunities we want to bring to our students.”

In a letter to parents, Keyser said his goals are to build a culture and climate of trust, respect, and transparency with internal and external stakeholders; prepare for a school year amidst a global pandemic to ensure high-quality instruction continues; and support student achievement and growth that includes inclusivity, equity and the needs of each and every student.

“My goal is that we have a school system that prepares each and every student for what they want their future to be and not have their future limited in any way by opportunities that weren’t presented to them,” he said.

When asked what the district needs to be successful, he said academics are important as well as social and emotional experiences.

He said industry partnerships will help students to earn industry certifications while in high school, and that college credits earned in high school open up doors for students.

With the board recently setting short-term goals, Keyser said he looks forward to starting the strategic plan visioning process in the spring with lots of community input.

 Keyser said he envisions community engagement being reaching out to families and residents where they are most comfortable so a plan can be made that is representative of all stakeholders.

While there are concerns about the district’s academic performance, Keyser said success will be listening to stakeholders, learning what has happened in the past and seeing what is working and not working so everyone can work together moving forward.

“I’m really interested in understanding why we are seeing students and families leave the district,” he said.

Keyser said it will be important to listen and learn and he hopes to recapture minds and hearts to rebuild trust and bring people back to the district.

“I need to learn and connect with the community. The community needs to see me and know who I am and what I’m about and build a relationship so they can reach out to me with ideas and concerns,” Keyser said. “I’m really focused on culture and climate, building trust and transparency in the district and across the community, and high quality instruction remains a priority.”

When asked if he would like to become permanent superintendent, Keyser said he shared in his interview for his current position that he was applying because of full intent to provide for the permanent position.

“Having lived in the Janesville and Beloit area, it’s home,” he said.

Keyser began his career in education in 1998 as a physics and math teacher. Most of his career was spent in Janesville. He came most recently from the Waukesha School District and prior to that, was in Madison Metropolitan School District. Outside of work, he and his family like to walk, hike, and bike ride. Keyser lives in Janesville with his wife and two sons.