In the photo at top, Keith Mead, Napoleon Teacher of the Month, poses with Jostens’ yearbook representative Helena Hunt, who presented him with the National Yearbook Program of Excellence Award for the 2017-18 school year.
By John Hummer, Editor
Keith Mead is a 22-year veteran teacher with Napoleon Community Schools, with all of those years spent at Napoleon Middle School. Keith is well-liked by his students and well-respected by his peers for the contributions he makes daily to the Napoleon schools community.
What makes Keith a great teacher is that “he’s very structured” according to Napoleon Middle School principal Chris Adams.
“He develops a good rapport with the kids,” he said. “He lays out some very specific expectations and the kids do a very nice job meeting those expectations.”
However, Keith isn’t so rigid that his classes aren’t fun. He balances that structure with the way he delivers his messages.
“He’s very laid back and very kid-focused and student-centered,” Adams added. “He solves a lot of issues in the classroom based on those relationship skills that he’s developed over 20-plus years working here at the middle school.”
Keith says his major strategy in the classroom is to make education fun.
“If you make it fun, kids will want to learn,” he said. “If you make it fun, everything falls into place and kids will want to learn more on their own rather than the teacher having to spoon-feed them.”
Over the years, Keith has taught social studies and computer technology classes at various grade levels in the middle school. He consistently delivers high quality engaging lessons and activities for his students. His expertise in many of the technical applications of computers benefits students and staff alike.
When Adams took over at the helm of the school a few years back, Keith was solely teaching computer technology courses.
“He willingly accepted a role back into the classroom as a social studies teacher,” Adams said.
Keith grew up in Springport, Mich. and graduated from Springport High School. He then obtained his bachelor’s degree from Spring Arbor University in teaching and social science. He continued at Spring Arbor and earned a master’s degree in the art of teaching.
“If you make it fun,
kids will want to learn.”
Napoleon Middle School teacher
Keith’s first year of teaching was in Warren Woods, in Metro Detroit, at a very large Nazorean Christian school before he was offered a position in Napoleon.
“It was a little bit of a culture shock coming from Springport,” he said of his first teaching job.
Many evenings Keith can be found snapping pictures of after-school activities, capturing the true essence of a well-rounded middle school experience for the school yearbook. He has served as the middle school yearbook advisor for 16 years. (The average “term of service” for this role is two to three years, says Adams.) Keith was recently awarded the National Yearbook Program of Excellence for the 2017-18 School Year by Jostens.
“It really shows the hard work the students have done,” Keith said of the award.
“This places us at the top of the field – our yearbook is one of the best that’s put out, according to Jostens,” said Adams.
In what would be a fun transition, the first year Keith started as yearbook advisor was the first year it went digital.
“It went from having to take pictures and paste them on graph paper to everything being digital, which is kind of cool,” he said.
Keith says he’s gotten to work with some of the best kids in putting the yearbook together every year.
“Most of it is student-generated; they just do it under my direction. It’s fun to see the kids having fun with it.”
Having fun and learning at the same time is what it’s all about in Keith’s classroom.
“He’s a great guy,” summarized Adams. “As good of a teacher as he is, he’s a better person. We’re blessed to have him.”