Ted Hall Celebrates 35 Years at North Canton City Schools
"I not only was lucky enough to get a job, but I’ve been lucky enough to have my career here,” Hall told North Canton Patch
Tell Hall is wrapping up a lengthy career in education that’s taken him everywhere from substitute teaching to the head of Hoover High’s audio-visual department to the associate principal of Hoover High.
Where he spent the last leg of his journey, though, was inside the Mary L. Evans Early Childhood Center.
Hall, husband to Becky and father to Pete Hall (’05 Hoover grad), talked recently with North Canton Patch about ending his career in education at a place where students are just beginning their education.
“It’s been ironic. It’s been unique. It’s just been fun,” Hall said.
LAST CLASS IN THE KINDERGARTEN CENTER
The class of 2024 is the final class to pass through the kindergarten center as the district begins all-day, everyday kindergarten in the fall. The building will be used for preschool next year.
If you ask Hall to sum up his first and only year at the kindergarten center, he keeps it simple: "It's been a very good year."
“I wouldn’t change a thing in my career path, with the exception it would have been nice to have more opportunity as a building leader at the kindergarten/elementary level,” Hall said. “If this was continuing on here, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to stay.”
Hall has worked alongside Superintendent Michael Gallina and other administrators to transition the class of 2024 to Northwood and Clearmount elementary schools, where students in kindergarten through second grade will attend. Orchard Hill and Greentown elementaries will become intermediate schools, housing grades three through five.
The switch to all-day, everyday kindergarten and the removal of the kindergartners from the kindergarten center caused concern among parents, but Hall said parents were also concerned 23 years ago when kindergartners moved into the center. That move worked well for the district, and he believes the new change will, too.
Hall said the kindergarten staff is eager for the big move.
“They’re probably the most excited in the district, and they have the biggest change to make because they’re leaving what’s been home for 23 years, and they’re moving to other elementaries. But they’re just eager about it. They’re going to have an opportunity to see their kindergartners in the same building for first grade.”
A GREAT LAST YEAR; A GREAT FIRST YEAR
It’s not difficult to see what Hall enjoys about being inside the kindergarten center. (Twice during the Patch interview students came in to see Hall and show them artwork or excitedly share a story.)
One of Hall’s favorite parts of the day is when the buses come rolling up to the building to pick up the students. They file out of the building, giving him high-fives along the way.
Their excitement is what Hall loves most about this job, he said.
“They want to tell you that they’ve lost a tooth. They want to tell you that they got a new hamster. They want to tell you that they have a sick turtle at home or that they’re going to Grandma’s for the weekend. … They’re excited about sharing their lives, and that’s why I think it’s so important to listen to them.”
Hall said it’s important to get to know the kids, and as they swarm around him in the halls and outside the building, it’s obvious that he’s got that part of the job down.
One of his goals, Hall said, is to be at the graduation for the class of 2024.
MENTORS, ROLE MODELS
Hall has been with North Canton City Schools for 35 years, having student taught at Hoover High in spring of 1977 through Kent State University. He recalled the person who had the biggest impact on him early on in his career — Paul Kieffer, a teacher at Hoover High who would become his lifetime mentor. Hall said Kieffer shares many of the same values as him and his family (a strong connection to family and church and a love for getting to know people).
And Hall, ever a fan of happenstance, was quick to point out Kieffer now has a granddaughter at the kindergarten center, which allows the men to meet more frequently. The two met at a YMCA day camp when Hall was 5 years old (kindergarten age, he also pointed out).
“Talk about a life’s journey,” he laughed.
“I really say I am where I am today because of him,” Hall said. “All the way through, he has been a supporter of me in my career at North Canton City Schools, including this year.”
Hall’s parents, the late Harry and Laura Hall, a teacher and secretary at Perry High School, respectively, also played a large role in shaping who he is and leading him into the field of education.
“They were so pleased that I had the opportunity to be employed at North Canton City Schools, and I’ve never forgotten that. I’ve never forgotten how lucky I was to have an opportunity to have a job at a school system with the traditions of North Canton City Schools. And I not only was lucky enough to get a job, but I’ve been lucky enough to have my career here.”