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Meet The Teachers

Brandon Griffen1 / 2
Kenny Newby2 / 2

Brandon Griffen

Brandon Griffen is aware that Minnesota has cold, snowy winters, however, he has no idea what he's in for.

The New Mexico native joins Blackduck School as the new special education teacher.

"I had originally moved to Minnesota without a job," Griffen said. "I was hired through the schools soon after."

Prior to coming to the Blackduck area to teach, Griffen said he taught in New Mexico for 11 years.

"I worked in a couple of different school districts in New Mexico teaching in similar fields to what I'm doing in Blackduck," he said. "This is, however, teaching special education at a high school level. I've only done elementary in the past."

Griffen, who graduated from the University of the Southwest in New Mexico said his original degree was in business administration. He went back to get a teaching certification. He has a Master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

"I'm currently working on my PhD through Capella University here in Minnesota," Griffen explained.

He said that his main goal while at Blackduck School is to help graduate a lot of students who are facing credit recovery situations.

"I have a child who doesn't live with me but he is handicapped himself," he said. "I guess in a way I feel like I am helping him by helping other children."

Overall, Griffen said he is excited to be in Blackduck and to help kids out.

"This will be my first time being in a place with a winter. I'm anxious to see how that goes," he laughed.

Kenny Newby

Becoming a school administrator has always been a goal of Kenny Newby, the new dean of students at Kelliher Schools.

"I decided at a young age that I wanted to work in the field of education," Newby said. "As I started my teaching career, I had the opportunities to work on a variety of committees and hold different leadership roles. Becoming a school administrator just seemed like the natural path for me to go down."

Newby grew up and attended school in Bemidji. After graduating high school, he attended Itasca Community College to earn his Associate's Degree. From there, he went on to attend Bemidji State University to earn a degree in elementary education. He taught for a few years then went back to BSU to earn his Master's Degree in education. Currently, Newby is finishing up a program through St. Cloud State University in educational leadership and will obtain his K-12 principal license later this fall.

"The thing I enjoy most about being the Dean of Students is having the opportunity to work with students of all ages," Newby said. "Every kid has a story to tell and being able to meet some many of them and to see how excited they are to be at school learning new things is an awesome experience. Investing in our children's education is a great opportunity to make a difference in our future."

According to Newby, the first few weeks of his position have been great. He enjoys the welcoming atmosphere the school community has given him.

Newby has a good idea of what he expects this year. "I expect our school to always be a safe and welcoming place for our students, parents, staff and the community," he said. "I expect students to be working their hardest to be successful both academically and socially. I expect students to participate in extracurricular activities to enhance their school experience and built positive relationships with their teammates and coaches. I also expect our staff to continue to do such a great job preparing our students for success and for parents to be supportive and active in their children's education."