By Robert Barron
Kem Keithly, former Enid Superintendent of Schools is this month’s Local Legend. Keithly was superintendent of schools in Enid for 24 years and has now lived in the community for 37 years.Originally from Nevada, Mo., he received his first Master’s degree at Central Missouri State and his second master’s at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He also received an Educational Specialist Certification from Pittsburgh State University in Pittsburgh. Keithly received his doctorate in Education from the University of Missouri at Columbia. “I thought I was going to go to school for the rest of my life,” he said. He then went into administration and was eventually hired as Enid superintendent, retiring in 2008. Commenting on the state of Education today, Keithly said the biggest change he has seen is the increased influence of state and federal governments in the educational process, which he called “politics.” “All of the decisions used to be made at the local level” then the state and federal governments began stepping in. That started after the Russians put a man in space. The federal government began demanding more concentration on math and science,” he said. Today’s teachers are better trained and exposed to more educational theories than they have ever been. Among the problems in today’s educational system are teachers leaving the profession because of low salaries and a lack of parental support for teachers. Keithly and his wife Karin have two children, nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.