We celebrated our talented faculty and staff at a special Kindergarten-Grade 8 Chapel on Friday, May 19. At this Chapel, we announced the Love of Teaching Award and Jeff Keffer Service Award, recognized faculty and staff celebrating anniversary years of service to St. Patrick’s, and acknowledged departing faculty and staff. It was an opportunity to give thanks for these contributions of talent, energy, and commitment to our community.
Our faculty and staff regularly demonstrate professional excellence and profound dedication in their service to the Day School. This annual Chapel recognizes their efforts to create exceptional teaching and learning settings, find what works for each student, continue developing their craft knowledge, collaborate with colleagues, foster community, and serve others.
Each year, we invite nominations of potential honorees for the Love of Teaching Award from faculty and staff members for consideration by the Division Heads, who in turn make a recommendation to the Head of School. We ask faculty and staff nominating someone for the Love of Teaching Award to write a brief statement on how that individual displays a particular commitment to students, craft, and colleagues. This year, our recipient was Grade 4 Learning Specialist Melissa Moye. With regard to this teacher’s relationships with students, one colleague wrote that “her relationships with her students are noteworthy because they are authentic and full of true admiration for the people [the students] are.” Another colleague said that this year’s recipient’s “positive and gentle manner helps to create a community of eager learners.” It continued, “She is determined to encourage each child to try their best, and the children adore her kind-hearted style and wealth of knowledge.” Congratulations to an educator who, as one student said, “has the kindest heart ever.”
We also endeavor to remember and honor a man, a father, a husband, a volunteer, and a friend who revealed his sense of St. Patrick’s through a depth of involvement, commitment, energy, and achievement—a life of service to this institution—that will be difficult to equal. We remember and honor Jeff Keffer by acknowledging a member of the St. Patrick’s faculty and staff for that individual’s commitment to the Day School, demonstrated understanding of the community that comprises St. Patrick’s, and service to the health and vitality of the institution.
Each year at this time, we pause to honor and remember Jeff’s legacy of selfless and passionate service to St. Patrick’s. Jeff’s service to others can best be described as creed-full, regularly amplifying our St. Patrick’s Creed of Honesty, Responsibility, Kindness, and Respect. Jeff’s lifelong dedication and commitment to helping others were palpable at every turn.
This year’s recipient of the Jeff Keffer Service Award is someone with a quiet and reflective nature who also offers a confident and statuesque presence, someone who often thinks of those experiencing hardships and makes plans to support them through those hard times, someone who is a bold champion for others, and someone who has perfected the art of interacting with others in a sensitive and effective manner. That someone is Kankunda Klingenberg, Lower School Religion Teacher and Director of Community Service. Congratulations to someone whose students refer to as “Mother K”!