“I loved it right away,” said Keida (pictured above, second from left), a member of West Genesee District Teachers Association and teacher at Camillus Middle School. “I said to my wife, ‘I wish I could have been able to do it 20 years ago.”
For the first half of his career, Keida worked in his family’s food distribution business, Keida Brothers Food Distributing Company. But when the company closed, Keida found himself looking for work at the age of 45.
Already active in the local school district where his sons attended school and his wife, Angela, was a teaching assistant, education seemed like a natural fit. The principal agreed. “You’re going to be a teacher,” she predicted to Keida. She guided him through the process, and she also connected him with resources available through BOCES.
Keida attended SUNY Oswego during the evenings and summers to earn his master’s degree. During the school year, he split his time between two school districts where he taught middle school Career and Technical Education or CTE. He completed his certification at 50. This past June, he retired – after 20 years in the classroom.
Keida found working with young people very rewarding, and credits teaching with keeping him young. “The teaching experience was wonderful,” Keida says. “The kids I had, I told my friends all the time, were amazing. I felt like they were teaching me a lot of the time.”