The Provo City School District announced the appointment of Keith Rittell as the newest superintendent for the school district Wednesday. He will begin work on July 1.
“We’re looking for someone who can communicate well, collaborate with the teachers and the community and focus on the children,” said Kristine Manwaring, president of the Board of Education.
Rittell, who has a 30-year history in education, echoes Manwaring’s thoughts and said he aims to communicate.
“My plan is to be visible, to talk to you, be willing to listen to you,” Rittell said. “If that means going to Chamber of Commerce meetings, etc., that’s what I’d like to do. I’ve done those kinds of things.”
Rittell continued, explaining that his leadership style is one of connecting with the community.
“I talk straight. I try to build relationships with people and build teams,” he said. “I try to inject some humor, but you can be the judge of how successful I am with that. I find that humor bonds people together.”
Rittell said he also welcomes respect, explaining that even if someone disagrees with a thought or a statement, as long as they do so respectfully, he’s interested in what they have to say.
Impressive history precedes Rittell. In one school district in Washington, Rittell’s presence increased graduation rates.
“When I got there I had an 89 percent graduation rate,” he said. “When I left, we had a 99 percent graduation rate.”
Before the Board of Education made the superintendent appointment, they held a meeting open to the public where the candidates were able to speak and answer community members’ questions.
Rittell said he is excited to begin work and to see what improvement he can bring to Provo. In the course of his decision-making process, he considered a lot of opportunities for success in the Provo City School District.
“I had looked at others,” he said. “But Provo was at the top of my list.”