Stan Keim is the new principal of Valemount Elementary School. He takes over from Priscilla Davis who retired last year. /SUBMITTED

By Andrea Arnold

The name of the new Valemount Elementary School principal is a name that is quite familiar to the people of McBride. Stan Keim has lived in the Robson Valley for most of his life. He attended McBride Elementary School and graduated from McBride Secondary School in the mid 1990s. Keim earned his Bachelor of Education (after degree) in Elementary Education and a degree of Bachelor of Arts at The King’s University College in Edmonton before he began his journey into teaching. He was working towards a Masters in Counselling through the University of Calgary, but had to put that goal on hold due to life situations. He plans to return to school in the next couple years to complete that certification. 

“I have always enjoyed working with people,” said Keim. “I think ‘education’ has always found me. My parents are my role models and they pointed me in the direction of helping people. Our house growing up was always full of people and my parents were always helping people.”

He said his home was always a place with food, laughing and learning. When he married his wife she also shared the same vision.

“So it’s been a natural progression to always be in ‘education.’”

Once finished his own schooling, Keim continued to live and work in Alberta, taking jobs at Elk Island Public Schools, Grand Prairie Public Schools, and Peace Wapiti Public School Division before returning to the Robson Valley in 2008 to work with Prince George School Division 57.

Keim said that the move back to the valley was motivated by the need for a lifestyle change. They had three young children at the time and Keim wanted them to grow up back home with the Robson Valley as their backyard.

“The schools were large in Grande Prairie and I wanted to educate, and my children be educated in a rural setting,” he said. “Our family also wanted to farm and raise our own food supply.”

Since the move, Keim has taught at McBride Elementary and the Dunster Fine Arts school. He spent many years serving as a coach for boys basketball at McBride Secondary School. 

In addition to teaching and being a teacher on call in the Robson Valley, Keim also worked in a  leadership/management role in the energy sector for a variety of companies.

Although he has many years of working with students, Keim knows this new role is going to be a whole new experience.

“There are going to be highs and lows with this job, but I’m excited to lead a school and develop an effective rural education model that is unique to Valemount,” he said.

He expects to be challenged and personally stretched. He feels that this experience will allow him to grow and learn more alongside the students.

“I feel that students need to understand that learning is an everyday process… from figuring out how to perform maintenance work on their bikes, how to understand animal care on their family farm, or becoming a doctor – it’s all the same process,” he said.

Keim hopes to help kids enjoy learning, and wants to see them to be proud of their school and community.

“I am very eager to serve and look forward to a great school year,” he said.