OLEAN — As the mother of two young children in the Olean City School District, Kelly Keller has a vested interest in how campuses in the community are operated.
It was for that reason Keller applied for, and was appointed to, an open board seat vacated by longtime board member, Mike Martello, who resigned last fall.
Superintendent Rick Moore said Keller was one of several candidates who were interested in taking over the seat, which will be up for vote in May, but will continue through June.
“First, we want to thank all of the candidates that volunteered” to serve, Moore said. “They all were excellent candidates which made the BOE’s decision extremely difficult. Furthermore, the BOE established a process and followed it to the conclusion that Kelly Keller was the best fit for our (board) and our school district at this time.”
Moore added that he and the board “look forward to working with Kelly to ensure we have an excellent school system in Olean.”
When contacted Wednesday, Keller said she and her husband, Matt, own the Subway restaurant across the Walmart Supercenter in Allegany. They also operate a financial taxes and payroll company in the community. They have a child in first grade, another child in pre-kindergarten and a 2-year-old.
“We’ll be in the school district for quite a while,” Keller said with a laugh.
As for her plans for input in the district’s operation, Keller said it is too early to say at this point.
“I’ve only been paying attention to the school district the last couple of years,” she remarked. “So, I’m kind of learning what it is to be a parent in the district … but we always knew our kids were going to go to Olean (schools) because that’s where we live.”
Keller said she believes the school district is “on the right path and they’ve been doing a really good job.
“I’d just like to be involved going forward,” she added.
In commenting on her background, Keller said she is a Williamsville native and moved to the area when she attended St. Bonaventure University. That is also where she met her future husband, who is a native of the Olean area and was also a student at St. Bonaventure.
“I’ve been transplanted ever since I started at Bona’s back in 2001,” she explained. “I just never went back, I’ve been here ever since.”
Keller commented on her selection for the school board seat over others who had applied.
“I’m pretty proud of getting the position, I’m really glad they picked me,” she admitted. “I was honestly a little surprised when I got the call because it had been such a process from when I was interviewed until when they made their announcement. I guess I had really counted myself out at that point — but I was happy to hear from them.”
Keller said she plans to run for the five-year seat when it is up for election in May.
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)