October 2016 (Volume 67, Issue 1)
by Brian Perlman, staff writer
“I want to start off this class assembly today with a selfie,” says new assistant principal Mr. Keith Ford. The sophomores packing the auditorium look around at each other laughing, thinking it is a joke. But Mr. Ford whips out his phone, and takes a selfie with the 500 students behind him. Having the attention of the auditorium, Mr. Ford moves into his introductory speech, laying out the rules and plans for the new school year. When the sophomores leave the assembly, they all talk about the new assistant principal and his selfie-ing. Mr. Ford has made a big impression on day three at Needham High.
Mr. Ford starts his NHS career this month, and so far, he has fit in splendidly. “The Needham community has welcomed me in with open arms,” Mr. Ford says. “I enjoy greeting students in the morning as they enter the building, as well as the few moments used each day to talk with staff as we pass each other in the hallway.”
Before joining Needham High, Mr. Ford had a long career as a football coach at several local high schools and at Curry College. His most recent job was as head coach at Randolph High. Mr. Ford explains that unlike Randolph, “NHS has a college feel, which I like. Students are given privileges and treated like adults in many ways with the open campus policy and the [fact that students are allowed] to wear hats.” He also likes how Needham High has “the backing and support of the community, which helps create a caring environment throughout the entire town.”
Mr. Ford will continue his high school football work at Needham. Coach Duffy has added him to the staff as a defensive line coach. Mr. Ford is very excited to work with NHS Athletics, which was recently featured in The Boston Globe for having a 70.50 winning percentage, the highest winning percentage in its division.
As a former coach, Mr. Ford hopes to bring the lessons and values he gained in football to the NHS administration. “The lessons and values that I have gathered in coaching [are mainly focused on having] proper preparation. To be a good administrator I want to ensure that all my students have been prepared to make their next steps in life, whether going to college, military, or the work force.”
Finally, when it comes to aims for this year, Mr. Ford has one big aspiration. “My main goal for this year is to gain a better understanding of the Needham Community. We have so many programs to offer and I want to be familiar with the people involved in these programs.”