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Administrator biographies

Richard Keeler, CVA principal

High School Principal Rich Keeler graduated from Mohawk in 1998. He earned his A.A.S. in Business Administration from Herkimer County Community College in 2000. He went on to Utica College where he earned his B.A., majoring in Business Economics and minoring in Secondary Education. In 2005, he graduated from SUNY Albany with an M.A. in Educational Administration and Policy Studies and received his School Administration and Supervision certification. He is certified to teach K-12 business and computers and 7-12 math.

He began teaching as a long-term business substitute in Mohawk. He taught secondary math in Ilion 2005-13. He was also an assistant football and wrestling coach and also coached track. When Mohawk and Ilion merged in 2013, he was named the Central Valley Academy assistant principal. The board of education selected Mr. Keeler as the new CVA principal in 2015.

“My number one goal is take CVA to the next level. Ms. Rudd (previous CVA principal) did a brilliant job merging the Mohawk and Ilion cultures into CVA,” he said.

“Now it is time to rise our level of expectation. We need to increase the percentage of students who earn an Advanced Regents diploma and to increase the percentage of students attending two- and four-year colleges. We need to change our mentality from doing just enough to get by to mastery.”

Mr. Keeler said CVA has amazing faculty and staff and working together nothing is impossible.

Mr. Keeler lives with his wife Caitlin and children Tessa and Brock in Mohawk.

Jeremy Kozak

CVA Assistant Principal Jeremy Kozak grew up in New Hartford and graduated from New Hartford High School in 2002 and went on to earn his B.A. in Sociology and Religious Studies from Hamilton in 2006. He was unsure of his career path, so he took a year building log cabins. After just a year, he realized he wanted to work with children. He managed a United Cerebral Palsy intensive care facility. That opened the door to begin serving schools as a behavioral specialist. He earned his M.S. in Special Education, Generalist from Touro University in New York City and joined the Herkimer BOCES Alternative Education program in 2009. He earned his administrative certificate from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. In 2013, he was hired at Mt. Markham as special education teacher and administrative intern. He joined Central Valley as the CVA Assistant Principal in 2015.

He considers CVA an opportunity to build the skills he needs to be successful as an educator. He said it will be a large learning curve as he experiences a new school culture, community, student population and staff. As much as he expects to learn, he is committed to sharing all he learned working in a variety of settings. His strong background working with difficult students taught him the importance of communicating and building relationships with students, parents and staff. He is looking forward to being part of a successful team.

Mr. Kozak and his wife Lauren live in New Hartford with their dog, laying hens and three bee hives.