New Superintendent for Provo School District
The Board of Education has appointed Keith Rittel as the district’s superintendent
A new superintendent is now leading the Provo School District. Appointed by the District Board of Education, Keith Rittel began his new position July 1. In addition to his district administrative responsibilities, Rittel will contribute to the BYU-Public School Partnership as leader of a district that is active in Partnership initiatives and as a member of its Governing Board. The Partnership involves five public school districts, the McKay School of Education, and those colleges at BYU that participate in secondary teacher education.
“This is a great honor,” Rittel said of his appointment. “I am absolutely excited.” Though Rittel is currently finishing his fourth year as deputy superintendent of Clover Park School District in Lakewood, Washington, this position won’t be his first as a Utah educator.
Originally trained as a professional trombone player, Rittel followed his love for teaching to become a full-time music instructor at Woods Cross High School in 1995. He then served as assistant principal at East High School in Salt Lake City before moving to Washington, where he held several administrative positions and received the “Washington State High School Principal of the Year Award.”
As an educator for the last 28 years, Rittel influenced the lives of many. He often receives notes of appreciation from students he guided as a teacher or principal. Though it can be difficult to maintain such close contact with students as an administrator, Rittel is determined to do so. “I interact with students as much as I can so I have first-hand knowledge of the quality experiences we’re providing for them,” he said.
Rittel’s main goal as superintendent is to help Provo School District make positive strides forward. “I know the Provo students work hard and achieve well,” he said. “They successfully compete for job and university placements. I’m going to continue that success by doing what I can to help individuals and the system improve every day.”
Rittel intends to make a long-term commitment to his role in the Provo School District. “I plan on being here for a good, long time,” he said. Rittel is happy to move back to Utah, as he loves spending time with his family. He has five children and ten grandchildren living nearby in Utah, Minnesota, and Washington. In addition to family time, Rittel enjoys following sports and picking up the trombone on occasion.
Whether learning music or mathematics, Rittel believes one of the most important aspects of education is enjoyment. “Without it, learning can become drudgery. But when students study things they’re interested in or that have become interesting from high quality teaching, they’re much more engaged, and the learning is more lasting.”
Commitment to such learning is just one example of what Rittel likes to see improve in school systems. “I’ve seen when schools improve,” he said. “Parents, educators, and students have a sense of teamwork, a wonderful symbiotic relationship as they perform different roles on that team, working toward goals that are common and felt throughout the system. My hope is that’s how we’ll work together in the Provo School District.”
Steven Baugh, director of the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling, congratulates Rittel on his appointment. “I wish him every success in his new responsibilities. As he joins four other superintendents on the Partnership’s Governing Board, he will be a great addition in helping strengthen teacher preparation and student achievement, as has been the pattern of the Partnership for the past 28 years.”
July 31, 2012