Molly Bascom-Keller walks to the entrance of Northwood Elementary School alongside students Aug. 30.

Molly Bascom-Keller walks to the entrance of Northwood Elementary School alongside students Aug. 30.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Northwood Elementary principal looking to learn, build relationships in first year

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published September 6, 2023


ROYAL OAK — Northwood Elementary School’s new principal is excited to be starting her dream job.

Monday, Aug. 28, marked the first day of school for the students of Northwood Elementary. It also marked the first school day for new principal Molly Bascom-Keller.

Referring to the position as her “dream job,” Bascom-Keller said she’s thrilled to be leading Northwood.

“I’ve had an ear-to-ear smile since they offered me the position,” she said. “I keep looking at my husband and saying, ‘This is really happening,’ and we both have a huge smile on our faces. So it’s absolutely my dream job. I couldn’t be happier. I’m here for the long haul.”

Bascom-Keller comes to Royal Oak from the Berkley School District, where she was teaching first and third grades at Burton Elementary School. While she was a teacher, she was asked to consider a possible future in administration.

Over the last couple of years, Bascom-Keller said, she’s been able to get experience working in administration, serving on committees for technology and curriculum and taking part in a program from Oakland Schools called the “Aspiring Principals’ Leadership Academy.” Bascom-Keller also was able to get experience working as an interim principal at Burton in the last year and a half when its principal was out.

As someone who has her family in Royal Oak, Bascom-Keller said this opportunity was perfect.

“I’ve already been a big supporter of Royal Oak Schools,” she said. “I have lots of nieces and nephews that I attend sporting events and fundraisers (with), and, you know, I’m very familiar with the schools and happenings in Royal Oak as a city. It was the perfect fit to be able to join the community.”

Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick commented on the hiring of Bascom-Keller in a prepared statement.

“As one of our principals moved into a support role at the district level, we launched a process to hire the next principal for Northwood Elementary. Molly Bascom-Keller rose to the top of that list and is the best fit for Northwood,” Fitzpatrick said. “She brings a wealth of education, leadership and enthusiasm that will serve the community very well.”

Bascom-Keller said her goal for her first year on the job is to build relationships with the students, the staff, the families and the community.

“There are already so many amazing things happening at the school and in the district. And so my goal is to observe, to listen, to learn,” she said. “I’m asking people, ‘What are your greatest strengths?’ You know, ‘Do you see needs for modifications? What are your hopes and dreams for the school?’ And basically, learning as much as I can this year and then seeing where we need to go from here as a building.

“I’m a big believer in shared leadership and the power of collective efficacy, or the shared belief that together we can impact student outcomes in a much greater sense than one or two people can on their own,” she continued.