Saying Goodbye to Mr. Keener

After 39 years in the field of education, Assistant Principal Donald Keener is retiring from Woodgrove High School in December. Mr. Keener has been the Assistant Principal at Woodgrove for 5 years. “After almost 40 years of doing something, it’s time for a change,” says Keener. 

Mr. Keener, sporting a classic Woodgrove mask. (Robbie Showers)

Mr. Keener graduated from Edinboro State College in Pennsylvania. He started his education career in Shacklefords, Virginia, then traveled to Arizona where he joined the Ganado Unified School District and Ganado Fire Department on a Navajo reservation for several years. He moved back to Warren County, Virginia for 12 years until 1999, when Keener landed a job teaching at Lovettsville Elementary School. In 2000, he began working at Harper Park Middle School in Leesburg, until 2016 when he  joined Woodgrove’s administration team.

Mr. Keener says the most rewarding part about his job is “helping struggling students be successful and watching them grow over the years.” Some of his best memories at Woodgrove involve playing in the staff/student games. In fact, Mr. Keener was a central figure in the recent Staff versus Seniors volleyball game.

On and off the court, Mr. Keener has positively affected the school in many ways. “I think that his greatest impact is with students, especially those students who are having challenges with school. He has gone and picked people up from their homes to make sure that they can get to school and be present,” says Assistant Principal Ms. Christina Thompson.

Principal Sam Shipp recalls one of the first experiences he ever had with Mr. Keener, while overseeing a school fundraiser at Harper Park Middle School in the year 2000. Shipp remembers Mr. Keener’s outstanding ability to juggle multiple jobs within a school fundraiser, all for the students, and “he did it with a smile on his face.” says Shipp. “He is one of the most positive people I’ve ever had the great fortune with whom to work. I think his positivity is infectious; he looks at what he can do to make things better. He’s always been like that. He’s just a positive influence in everything he does.” 

As Mr. Keener gets ready to retire, students and staff alike wish him well, with Ms. Thompson saying, “I wish him all the best, and I hope he gets those special moments with his friends and family.”

Dr. Shipp adds, “I wish him much happiness. He’s dedicated 39 years in education, and for all those years, I wish he has just as many years with a happy retirement.”