Former Hawk Returns

Dave Kehne Takes Over as UHS Principal

kehne-classroomEva King

The start of the 2016-17 school year ushered in the arrival of several new administrators, including our new principal, Dave Kehne. Despite being the former principal of Linganore High School, Kehne is no stranger to Urbana, having taught English at the school during its early years.  “I taught in B207, Mr. Ward’s room, and later C208,” said Kehne.

While at Urbana, Kehne was a senior class advisor who also codirected six plays with Stephanie Weigelt, the school’s current dance instructor. Among these plays were Drop Dead, Anything Goes, and Damn Yankees.  He was also the advisor to the school’s first two proms.

As a new school in 1995 with just six hundred students, Urbana, which had split off from Linganore High School, initially shared many of the latter’s traditions. Kehne led the charge for change, insisting that Urbana needed its own customs.  “I told everyone, ‘We are not Linganore’,” said Kehne.

No one else would know this better. Kehne was the principal of Linganore for seven years, until the Board of Education approached him two years ago about moving to a different school. “Leaving Linganore was like leaving your family and going to college,” said Kehne. “It was bittersweet.”

Interestingly, Kehne believes that the differences between Linganore and Urbana are not as stark as some might think.  “Both have a very spirited student body,” he said.  “I think the rivalry between Linganore and Urbana is natural, and I think both schools respect each other.”

In his first year back at Urbana, Kehne mainly plans to observe the school and analyze data.  He looks forward to becoming reacquainted with Hawk traditions and hopes to increase students’ access to rigorous courses.  Kehne also plans to continue to enforce the Core Four: Respect, Integrity, Unity, and Pride.  “They were very well chosen, and we can weave them into a lot of lessons,” he said.

Kehne’s teaching roots began in his family.  His mother was a Physical Education teacher who also taught Special Education at Rock Creek School, and his father taught Technical Education.  Kehne graduated from Governor Thomas Johnson Senior High School in the class of 1980 and went on to college at Towson University. He first taught at Chesapeake High School in Baltimore County before joining the FCPS staff in 1993.

Outside of school, Kehne enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time outdoors. A firm dog person, he describes his six-year-old Boxer, Fritz, as being “cognitively average at best,” a characteristic which does not prevent them from spending “a lot of time hugging.”

Kehne’s favorite part of being a principal is spending time with students. “I think they’re phenomenal,” he said.  He was struck by the sense of pride that students, faculty, and staff have at Urbana, and believes that diversity strengthens the school.  “Students here are committed to academic success,” said Kehne.

In honor of former principal Jay Berno’s Thought of the Day, Kehne shared a piece of advice. “Be willing to try something you’re not sure you can do,” he said. “Push yourselves; you are far more capable than you think you are.”