AIS Rings in School Year With New Leaders, New Looks


MATTHEW GROVES Ledger Independent |

AUGUSTA-- With a number of changes made at Augusta Independent Schools greeting students returning from summer break, an upgraded cafeteria and gym floor aren't the only new additions at AIS.

It has been three weeks since students began classes and as he is at the beginning of every school year, Robin Kelsch is excited. But this year Kelsch views that excitement from a different perspective, a different appreciation and a different office. With the retirement of former Superintendent John Cordle, Lisa McCane moved into that leadership position, leaving her former position as principal of AIS. With three years experience as the assistant principal under McCane, and 15 years experience in the Augusta School system, Robin Kelsch moved into the position as principal.

"There's been a lot of changes in administration; but the first three weeks are going very smooth," said Kelsch.

According to Kelsch, the years as McCane's assistant did a lot to ready him for this position; but even with all that preparation, and a summer of hard work, there is a lot to learn.

"It's a completely different game," said Kelsch who served as the Augusta Panthers' head coach for a number of years. "There's something different every day -- a new challenge, a new success, a new problem to solve."

A graduate of the AIS system, Kelsch completed a bachelor's degree in physical education as well as a master's degree in instructional leadership from Northern Kentucky University and has spent his entire career in education in the small, independent school system.

Kelsch and the new administration aren't the only changes greeting students this school year.

A $400,000 renovation project has added a new gymnasium floor as well as totally revamped cafeteria. The renovations will give students a more modern cafeteria with not only more food options, but healthier choices to compliment the larger selection.

"The gym floor has a beautiful new design," Kelsch said.

According to Kelsch, there have been changes made in school procedures, particularly in the amount of traffic the new floor will see from students entering and exiting the gymnasium. With the gym being the center of activity, it sees a lot of wear from students and the elements they carry with them during the changing of the seasons.

"We're serious about the school being state of the art; but we still want to highlight the older building," said Kelsch.

McCane spent eight years as principal of AIS and attributes much of the smooth transition into her position to the willingness of former Superintendent John Cordle to stick around and advise her.

"Many of the duties as principal are similar to the superintendent," said McCane. "John (Cordle) was very gracious to give me support through July even after he was gone."

Throughout McCane's career at AIS, she has been able to see Kelsch in his positions as a physical education teacher, a coach and an administrator. She had high praises for him and anticipates nothing but good things to happen for the school with him as principal.

"He rises to the occasion; that's the only way to describe him," said McCane. "He does anything and everything you ask of him."

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Augusta Independent Schools
307 Bracken Street   |  Augusta, KY 41002
Phone: 606-756-2545  |  Fax: 606-756-2149

Augusta School
207 Bracken Street  |  Augusta, KY 41002
Phone: 606-756-2105  |  Fax: 606-756-3000