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Special School District of St. Louis County

SSD Board of Education
Hires Superintendent

Elizabeth KeenanAt its meeting on April 9, the Special School District (SSD) Board of Education unanimously approved hiring Elizabeth A. Keenan, Ph.D., as SSD superintendent. Keenan will begin her job at SSD on July 1.

Keenan will replace current SSD Superintendent Donald L. Bohannon, Ed.D., who is retiring after 32 years with the District, the last five years as superintendent.

Keenan, 47, began her career in education as a special education teacher. She also served as a school principal before joining a school district in a suburb of Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota, as Director of Special Services followed by Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In 2011, Keenan joined Saint Paul (Minnesota) Public Schools as Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Specialized Services.

Currently, Keenan holds the position of Chief Officer of the Office of Diverse Learners and Health and Wellness for Chicago Public Schools. In her position, Keenan focuses on supporting students with special needs to ensure they are prepared for post-secondary success. With a total enrollment of more than 360,000 students, Chicago Public Schools is the third largest district in the United States and provides special education services to nearly 51,000 students in 515 district schools and 150 charter schools. In her role, she oversees a budget of $1 billion.

Keenan said her immediate goals will be to work closely with the Board of Education on its priorities for the District, and to get to know District staff and other stakeholders.

With a background in special education, the superintendent position at SSD offered a unique opportunity, she said.

“Special education is near and dear to my heart,” Keenan said. “While I ultimately wanted to serve as a school district superintendent, I didn’t want to lose that piece.”

Keenan holds a doctorate in Leadership Studies from Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She also earned a specialist’s degree, a master’s degree in special education and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Keenan will earn $245,000 per year for the first year of a three-year contract.

Published April 2019

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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