New principal brings experience, education
The South Carolina School for the Deaf welcomes new principal Keith Van Fossen who brings administrative experience, academic credentials, and excitement to the Hornet nest!
Keith went to the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) to be the high school math teacher. This is where he learned ASL and became passionate about serving students on a great campus. The following year, he became the assistant principal for the School for the Blind, but served as the overall administrator for both schools. Keith did this for three years before officially becoming the principal for both schools.
He earned a B.S. in education, therapeutic recreation, from the University of Tennessee, and a
M.Ed. Middle Education from James Madison University. His graduate certificate in administration and supervision is from Shenandoah University. At Radford University, he completed graduate studies in deaf education and Teacher of the Visually Impaired.
Keith spent nine years as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist working with individuals with spinal cord injuries, stroke, and brain injuries. His role was to assist patients to return to recreation and leisure activities following their event. He especially enjoyed helping these individuals see their potential to do new things like waterskiing, hunting, fishing, and wheelchair basketball.
“I brag that I survived 11 years of middle school. My second career was as a middle school math teacher. I taught 8th grade math for 11 years and served as math department chair, team leader, and grade level leader,” he said. These first two careers prepared him for his roles at VSDB.
Keith said, “I have been happily married to my wife Rene’ for 31 years this August. We have two grown daughters. Sydney is a 3rd grade teacher back in Virginia and Megan is an accountant with a local firm in Virginia as well. Rene’ and I have settled on the west end of Spartanburg with our lapdog Lily and crazy cat Misty,” he continued.
Look for Keith in the athletic arena when not in the School for the Deaf. He is an avid Tennessee Volunteer fan and enjoys watching his alma mater play any sport. Yes, orange is his favorite color. He recently retired from officiating high school basketball for 30 years. “I enjoy the game and do miss the competition and the friendships I made over the years. I still love the sound of sneakers on a court,” he assured.
“I am truly excited about being here at SCSDB,” Keith exclaimed. “I have enjoyed getting to know the faculty and staff and know I will enjoy getting to the know the students as well. My greatest joy is watching students grow, mature, and reach their potential. My goal for this year is to establish a firm foundation for students and staff so all may accomplish great things and feel safe to take risks, fall down, get back up, and keep on going. I am excited about the new year. Go Hornets!!!!”