Keller Steps Down as School Physician

After practicing at Phillips Academy for the past 19 years, Richard Keller announced his resignation as School Physician and Medical Director on May 24.

“I will always regard my 19 years at the Academy with fondness and deep satisfaction. I wish the best to my faculty and staff colleagues at the school,” wrote Keller, according to a letter to the Phillips Academy community.

As Medical Director, Keller acted as a liaison between Phillips Academy community and Isham about medical issues and concerns.

In Keller’s absence, Anthony Turiano will take over as the acting Medical Director. In an email to the Phillips Academy community, Head of School Barbara Chase instructed students to contact Katherine Vozeolas, Director of Nursing, for medical questions for the remainder of the 2010- 2011 school year.

At this point, Isham does not know who the new Medical Director will be. The school’s current priority is to secure a Medical Director for Summer Session, according to Vozeolas.

Vozeolas said that Isham has worked closely with administrators on campus so the information that would normally have gone through Keller will be redirected to specific professionals.

“We had to try to adjust our organization and decide what was the best way to make sure that the correct information got from Isham [nurses] to faculty members, since Dr. Keller was not going to be there,” said Vozeolas.

Vozeolas said Keller’s resignation would not create any significant changes for the students visiting Isham.

“With every change, I would say there’s an opportunity for things to be done differently. Depending on what the Academy decides to do and who the new Medical Director is, it may mean for some changes for [the nurses,] but the students probably wouldn’t feel that,” said Vozeolas.

Before officially resigning, Keller took a leave of absence from Phillips Academy.

Teruyo Shimazu, Instructor in Japanese, said that Keller decided to leave the school because he wanted to seek new opportunities for professional challenges and to raise a family.

Shimazu and Keller are expecting a baby in a few months. Keller will be moving in with Shimazu at the end of the year, and the couple plans to get married in the near future, according to Shimazu.

Shimazu said, “I think, most importantly, things happen for a reason and for the better. I’m just wishing the best for him and for us. I think this decision will turn out to be best for the both of us.”

Shimazu said Keller would enjoy more flexibility to care for the family, and she was comforted that he would have more time to spend with their newborn child.

Shimazu added that she did not know when Keller first considered resigning from the school, but “[she was] sure that seeing the ultrasound pictures of their baby brought him to reality.”

“I think he wants to make family life a priority right now. We’ve been talking about having a family for almost 10 years, but being the Medical Director here at Isham is a high demand job. ” said Shimazu.

“As much as he loves it and I have respected [his work] as a colleague, as his partner, I need to have the father and know when his working hours are and when they are not,” she continued.

Keller said he hopes to pursue academic pediatric endocrinology and continue to practice medicine.

In an a letter to Phillips Academy faculty and students, Keller wrote, “In medicine, it is always important to periodically seek out new professional challenges and fresh venues of inspiration.”

“[Keller’s] a really well-known and distinguished doctor. As an endocrinologist, there is a need for his expertise in treating clinically sick children. I am sure he’d feel as rewarded by helping more clinically ill kids as he’s been helping the teenagers in the past two decades,” said Shimazu.