Sunday, November 16, 2003

New industry: Crafting minds

Classroom work is dream come true for Ken Kinch

By Nancy Young
Enquirer contributor

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP - For many years, Ken Kinch envied his wife Jennifer's daily interaction with children, thanks to her teaching position at St. Peter in Chains School in Hamilton.

As he progressed in a career at GE Aircraft Engines in Evendale, Kinch tried to fulfill his love for working with children by coaching youth sports teams and serving as youth director at West Chester Presbyterian Church.

"I spent 15 years in the industry setting," Kinch says. "I had a great career and the opportunity to work with great people. But the desire to do something else never left me."

Jennifer Kinch finally challenged him to look into a teaching career. He returned to graduate school at Wright State University and finally took the leap. He left GE and began a new career teaching industrial technology at New Miami High School. After two years there, he joined the faculty this fall at Lakota Plains Junior School

"We're thrilled to have him. The No. 1 thing Ken offers is a positive outlook and a single-minded focus on education," says Bruce Lewis, principal at Plains Junior School. "Junior high kids can spot a phony a mile away, but he is one of the most 'real' people I have ever met. There isn't a negative bone in his body. Everything Ken does is focused on creating opportunities for learning for the kids.

"After just a quarter of a school year, I've already had dozens of parents calling to tell me what a positive impact he has had on their kids," Lewis says.

Kinch teaches eighth-grade technology education and serves as head coach for the seventh-grade football team.

"I am close to home and working in the district we live in," Kinch says. "My own children - Bryan, 10, and Sarah - will attend Plains in a couple of years. I have been blessed with the opportunity to switch to such a great career and have a family as supportive as mine has been. I actually have the opportunity to make a difference in a kid's life ... to help them become as successful as possible in their future."

"Coach Kinch is one of the greatest coaches I have ever had," says Ethan Millisor, a Plains seventh-grader from Liberty Township. "He is a great motivator. He is constantly asking about our grades and how we're doing at school. He cares about each of us as people, not just as football players."

"Mr. Kinch came to Plains and made the kids and parents feel at ease from the very beginning," says Bob Millisor, Ethan's dad. "He emphasizes academics and life skills but makes school fun at the same time."

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