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Leist finds home at Kings

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McKenzie Metzger

M. Metzger

Something you probably did not know about Kings High School’s new principal, Doug Leist, is that he was taught algebra by KHS’s very own Doug Mader.

Leist, 38, grew up in a small town in northwest Ohio called Celina, known for one of the largest man-made lakes in the country. As it happens, Mader also grew up near Celina and ended up teaching math at the city high school.

As their careers brought them south to the Cincinnati area, the two continued to stay in touch. Mader became a mentor to Leist as he forged his own path in education. With a connection dating decades back, Leist says Mader was an inspiration to him.

After eight years leading Kings High School, Mader announced last spring that he had taken a new job as principal of Sycamore High School in Blue Ash. When Leist noticed that the principal position was open at KHS, he gave Mader a call.

“I came down for the tour and fell in love with the school,” Leist said.

Leist attended Bowling Green State University before he started his career. He said that his siblings are both in education and that his parents were both teachers.

“Education was in the family,” he said.

Previously, Leist was the principal at Hamilton City Schools middle school for five years, then the principal at Hamilton High for three years.

Leist said that because he came from a small town, he loves the small-town feel of Kings.

Being a principal is a lot of responsibility. Obviously coming in as the new principal will have its challenges. Leist said that although it’s awkward to be new, everyone is so welcoming.

“I’m actually overwhelmed by how nice everyone is,” he said.

Leist said that he isn’t coming into the school year ready to change everything up. He said he will be doing more of a fine-tune, such as tweaking rules about phones. He is commencing a plan called the red, yellow, green zone. This plan zones the school for where it is and isn’t appropriate to use phones.

Leist said his whole goal this year is to get to know people.

“I will be walking around with eyes wide and ears perked,” he said.

Kiley Maxwell, KHS senior, said that having a new principal will be fun because of the new things we can build together.

“I think that this gives us a chance to change KHS. We can learn from each other and work on improving our school each day,” Maxwell said.

Leist said that he is looking forward to getting to know the seniors this year.

“I’m excited to get to help them develop leadership qualities and getting to know traditions,” he said.

Maxwell said it’s special that Leist wants to get to know his seniors.

“It would be pretty easy to disregard us since he only has one year with us, but it’s pretty cool to know that he wants us to have a great last year of high school and is in support of us,” she said.

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