Hazel Keefner ‘ecstatic’ to be General Amherst’s principal


By Joel Charron

New General Amherst principal, Hazel Keefner is settling in just fine at her new school.

Keefner takes over from Mary Edwards, who takes Keenfer’s former position as principal of Riverside Secondary School in Windsor.

“Everyone here has been absolutely great. The staff, the students, everyone has been very welcoming,” said Keefner.

Keefner returns to the school where her teaching career began.

“I began teaching at Amherst in 1989-90, when we shared the building with Villanova,” said Keefner.

As a result of being declared surplus and declining enrollment Keefner was transferred to Essex District High School where she taught for 14 years. Keefner mentioned that two of her former Essex students are now police officers with the Amherstburg Police.

Keefner left Essex to become the vice-principal at Western Secondary School for two years then took the vice-principal position at Kingsville for another two years. For the past four years, Keefner has been the principal at Riverside.

Although Keefner said she enjoyed her time at Riverside, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work in the community she lives in.

“I consider myself extremely lucky that this is where I wound up,” she said. “It’s really nice to go to a place where you want to be knowing why you are going there.”

Having had been a principal for four years now, Keefner said the transition to Amherst was a little easier because she now knows what is expected from her as principal.

She also added that the staff at General Amherst has made the transition very smooth and had great things to say about the student body.

“There is a really nice mix of kids here,” said Keefner. “They are very respectful and they care about learning and in turn the teachers care about their students.”

Keefner had both her children graduate from General Amherst.


New General Amherst prinicpal Hazel Keefner returns to the high school where she started her career.

The new Amherst principal said school should be a place where people want to be and hopes to aid both students and her staff in achieving their goals.

“Teachers need to be supported in order  to feel comfortable enough so they can reach their absolute best potential This way the students can achieve to the best their abilities also,” she stated. “School is absolutely about academics but it’s also about fun. These are the years that kids should look back on as some of the best times. You want to make sure it’s a place where you can have fun but you can still achieve.”

Keefner said she is still getting to know the staff and students and has encouraged the students to stop her in the hallways to introduce themselves.   She was pleased that incoming student parliament prime minister and deputy prime minister, Mike West and Alex Leroux, came and greeted her. They discussed what the goals of the student parliament are and how Keefner could support them.

Keefner’s involvement at county high schools in the past has shown her the importance of community high schools like General Amherst.

“When I drove past this school there was always a sense of pride, now it means so much more,” she said. “I think we are very lucky in this day and age to have a community high school because not all communities are so lucky.”

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