NORTH BALTIMORE – Chad Kiser left a career in law enforcement to become a high school principal.
And he hasn’t regretted it for a moment.
“If I would’ve known how amazing this educational job would have been, I would’ve done it right out of high school,” Kiser said. “I loved my time in the military, I loved my time in law enforcement, but this job is unbelievable.
“It’s amazing the impact you can have on children’s lives and keep them on the right track and get them in the direction they need to go.”
The former Mississippi police officer is half-way through his first year at North Baltimore’s middle and high school.
After graduating high school in 1995, he joined the Navy and served five years. Kiser then joined the police department in Jackson, Mississippi, and became a K-9 officer.
Shortly after Sept. 11, he was recalled back to the military and served five more years.
Kiser then joined the narcotics task force with the Long Beach, Mississippi, police department, working on a joint task force with the Drug Enforcement Agency for another five years.
“There was a lot of meth at that time, a lot of shake and bake, a lot of people blowing themselves up,” he said about the method being used to make the drug
Kiser enrolled in law school at Loyola University in New Orleans but his job in law enforcement caused him to miss a lot of classes.
“So I decided to get into education so I could get off at 3:30 every day and get to law school in time,” he said with a chuckle. “Then I just fell in love with education once I got into it. It was amazing.”
Kiser started as a special education teacher and fell in love with the kids and the atmosphere. He earned two bachelor’s degree at Tulane University, also in New Orleans, in public relations and social science. He then got his principal’s license at the University of West Florida.
He’s originally from the Zanesville area, and that is what brought him back to Ohio.
He and his wife, Diana, were both principals in Zanesville, and when he took the job in North Baltimore, she started working at Bluffton Middle School.
“She is actually the principal who hired me into education, and we fell in love at that point,” Kiser said.
They have three kids: a son in the Air Force, a daughter at Ohio State University and a son studying to be a nurse at Southern Miss.
Kiser was a teacher for a single year in Mississippi then four years in Zanesville before being promoted to assistant principal. He served in that post for three years before joining the staff at North Baltimore last summer.
He said Superintendent Ryan Delaney, who he had heard speak at events in Southeast Ohio, was one reason for his interest in the job here.
“That makes me feel good,” Delaney said.
Kiser said he had eight offers for various principal’s job, but when he went around and visited the schools and talked with the staff, “this was probably the best fit.
“This school, the smaller school is how I grew up. It just fit perfectly. It was a great match. It just felt right from the get-go.”
Thirty-eight applicants applied for the job.
“We were happy he picked us,” Delaney said. “He has a lot of enthusiasm. We knew he was really phenomenal with kids and after we interviewed him three or four times, we knew he would be wonderful fit for us.”
Kiser started the school year helping decide whether classes would be held in person, online or in a hybrid format.
The district started the school year in hybrid but has since gone to five days a week.
If things return to normal in the fall, “we’re going to be rocking and rolling” with assemblies, pep rallies, dances and field trips, he said.
“We’re probably going to go over the top to make up for this year when we weren’t able to do a lot.”
He doesn’t plan on settling for the title of principal.
“A perfect goal is I’d like to be a superintendent one day and I’d love to be here in North Baltimore.”
He plans to stay and take over for Delaney as superintendent.
“I think he’ll be out of here in five years and be able to turn the keys over to me,” Kiser said with a laugh.
Delaney also got a chuckle from that statement.
“Mr. Kiser has great aspirations and loves to dream. He will be a great fit anywhere,” he said.