LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Khristi Keefe

Position: School Counselor
School: Riverside High School
School District: Duval County Public Schools
City, State: Jacksonville, FL

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Dr. Khristi Keefe's nominator would like to remain anonymous.

"Dr. Keefe is our most veteran school counselor at Riverside High School," said her nominator. "Over her career, she took the leadership initiative to develop an Early College program at our school that has been rolled out to our entire district using Riverside as a model school. Dr. Keefe identified the need for this program to open the door for underserved students. Through her committed drive to increase student opportunities, Dr. Keefe has ushered in a college-going culture within the walls of our school. We have moved from an average of $2 million in student scholarships just a few years ago to $17 million the year before COVID. To say she has positively impacted the school's atmosphere would not do her justice in the complete culture change we have experienced."

Another fantastic quality of Dr. Keefe is her consistent modeling of ethics and extremely high morals. Dr. Keefe advocates for students and equability within her school, district, and state. The most impressive aspect of this drive for equality is her ability to model extreme professionalism for students and teachers. She stands up for what is right for students, even when the masses do not understand the need she is fighting for. Her commitment to serving students beyond her job description is unmatched. 

Dr. Keefe ushered in a new era of student opportunities and continues to mentor new counselors as others leave. She has been a beacon of consistency and established a workflow that allows the work to continue regardless of the team's dynamics. Dr. Keefe has established systems to serve students, so when the time comes for her to retire, her work and vision will live on for many years.

"She took me under her wing, assisted me with the transition of leading the counseling department, and ensured I was updated on current policies and procedures. I owe a lot of my personal growth to Dr. Keefe and will never be able to come close to returning the knowledge," said her nominator. "That may be why I am nominating her today."

Dr. Keefe has spent her entire career working in the background for the benefit of others. She has never desired recognition and derives satisfaction from students attending college as the first family member to do so. She works thankless hours for her students to make her school a beacon of success for the community. As leadership has come and gone, Dr. Keefe has consistently adjusted her programs to meet the vision of new principals and continued the growth of what doors Riverside can open for students. 

Comments (24)

Jaya Jesudoss Posted over a year ago

"Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident". This quote by Kalam is a perfect testimony of Dr. Keefe. Thanks for all that you do for our students ??

Lauren Davis Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe is wonderful. She helped me when I needed support for our son. She bent over backwards to help us receive the help we needed until our issue was resolved. Thank you, Dr. Keefe!

Barbara Posted over a year ago

You won’t find a better nominee than this lady! Committed! Kind! Helpful! Supportive! Cheerleader! This lady finds a way to let her students know they can do and be whatever they want. She encourages the potential that already exists in them but they haven’t noticed. She guides them through the process of finding that potential in themselves and continues to guide them as they use that potential to better themselves. She is there for them in the classroom and follows through with their extracurricular activities too, showing up for her students at sporting events, events of recognition (National Honor Society Induction Ceremonies), talent shows, etc. She is so good at what she does and changing the lives of others that my daughter is in college to follow her footsteps! 3 years after graduating high school, with Dr. Keefe as her counselor, my daughter has started graduate school for a masters in school counseling.

Savannah Pipkins Posted over a year ago

This nomination is very well deserved! I know her as Khristi but each person she comes in contact with is left feeling better about themselves. An excellent example of true caring with action applied!

Kassidy White Posted over a year ago

Great job Dr. Keefe! I graduated from Lee in 2017 and got to work with you while I was in the Early College program and I am so grateful for your help and guidance everyday. Thank you!

Tamara Roper Posted over a year ago

In addition to all the things mentioned here that she has done for students at Riverside High School, I have enjoyed donating to her drive for dorm supplies for seniors going to college and the work she does for Marathon High! Great student advocate in DCPS!

Kelly Omgitswicks Posted over a year ago

This is not an advertisement. It is a message made for Khristi Keefe in recognition of the difference she is making in FL… https://www.cameo.com/recipient/63996b8326627c7fc23595a0?from_share_sheet=1&utm_campaign=video_share_to_copy

Dana Kriznar Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe is an amazing advocate for students! Every child should have a "Dr. Keefe" in their corner. She is a true cornerstone of Riverside High!

Anynomous Posted over a year ago

YEAH DR KEEFE

Debra Singletary-Porter Posted over a year ago

Great work Dr. Keefe. I am so blessed to be among one of the greatest faculty and I appreciate and hope even greater things from you. Now I see why you need the little resources they sure go for a great cause and this is why you are here today being apart of this honored and prestigious nomination today. The job you do shows as you grace the halls and offices of our DCPS world. God bless and stay educationally grounded in your master work. Thank you for all the students and colleagues you touch here at Riverside High School. The students benefit from your expertise. :)

Ms. Skipper Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe has been an amazing educator since I've known her. We've worked together in various school settings and with a variety of student populations. She definitely leads with students and their success in mind and continues to be a great example of a leader.

Latiana Ross Posted over a year ago

Being a student here at Riverside High school for four years now, I have seen and experienced Dr Keefe helping hand not only to students in the early college program but students all around. I am not involved in the early college program but Dr Keefe has helped me especially with the transition going from high school to college.

Jeni Perry Posted over a year ago

Congratulations!!!! You are amazing!

Shantres Jaudon Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe is my son’s school counselor. Since the 1st day of his freshman year she has been hands on always open and communicated what’s needed of him as well as myself in order to ensure he has a successful high school year. He is in the engineering program, she is very supportive of her students. I hope she here for the entire four years because she’s been a tremendous help to him. She encourages the student to think outside the box by joining clubs, athletics , and signing up for college and career fair early on in their high school careers. Thanks Dr. Keefe you are appreciated.

Samantha Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe is unmatched consistency, professionalism, and excellence. Her wisdom and tenure has guided many for decades. Students and faculty are certainly stronger with her presence; as she is certainly a pillar in this community.

Jessica Fondo Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe works tirelessly for the benefit of all students at our school, but her dedication to the Early College program at Riverside sets her apart. While students are asked to meet nearly impossibly standards, she supports them in every way possible. It is because of her that this program continues, and it is because of her that our students thrive.

Kelly Posted over a year ago

Thank you, Khristi, for being my sister. I’ve never known a day of life without you and that has been a priceless gift for me. You have been a sister, mentor, supporter, and a friend. I hope we will grow old together and keep laughing to the very end. Kelly

Michael Jones Posted over a year ago

While I wasn't an early college student, I can proudly call Dr. Keefe my counselor. As an alumni of Riverside, I can always look back at my experience there with her being in the center of it. Being around her was always a pleasure, and she never failed to make me smile. Not only is she a wonderful and supportive counselor, but also an amazing coach who could push me to only get more proficient! The very least I could say to her now is thank you for changing my life for the better!

My Nguyen Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe is forever a number one supporter for the success of students not only academically but mentally and emotionally. In my years at Riverside Highschool, she always showed me genuine kindness and love from her actions and support of my goals. She always checks up on me and encourages me to want to do better for myself to eventually give back to my community. One of my fondest memories with Dr. Keefe is creating an event called “Future Fest” at our highscool. She spearheaded the initiative and encouraged myself and some peers to take a role in making the event a reality. In the creation of Future Fest, we were able to help many rising seniors learn more about preparing for college and finding a career. I also picked up a lot of skills from the creation of this event as well such as leadership, teamwork, time management, etc. Dr. Keefe is an incredible person and truly a life changer of the year!

Anquon Neely Posted over a year ago

Where do I start? I really got to know Dr. Keefe through Marathon High in 10th grade and ever since she was always there for me. She was very forgiving of me and patient with me. She put up with me bothering her all the time(I don't know how she did it). I was in the early college program as well so I was in frequent contact with her because of that as well. She doesn't sugarcoat and I appreciated that. Dr. Keefe always seemed proud of her students whether they were from the early college program, marathon High, or anything else, she supported us all the same. And as I go through my first finals week of my first semester in college, I will always remember the support and motivation she provided me. I'm glad she didn't win the lottery those 4 years she was my counselor and coach.

Maryam Posted over a year ago

I entered into Riverside my freshman year as an Early College student which meant that I was directly under her care as she was the Early College counselor. From the very beginning she held me and the rest of my peers to a very high standard, but one that would eventually lead us to success. I eventually transitioned to Early Admission which was a different Dual Enrollment program and in the midst of that transition Dr. Keefe was technically not supposed to be my counselor however, I went to her for every thing and had never visited my actual counselor. I started just stopping into her office, putting on school events with her, and keeping in contact with her outside of school. Now a sophomore in College and I still talk to her on a regular basis and remember all of the advice, tips, and tricks that she has taught me and continues to teach me. Dr. Keefe has truly changed my life!

Sarah Robinson Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe‘s counseling has been incredibly important to me since starting my high-school career, she has always been there if I needed any help. She is also an incredible swim and Marathon High coach, that has pushed me beyond what I thought I could achieve! :)

Colleen Damone Posted over a year ago

Dr. Keefe is an amazing, caring, and enthusiastic educator! Riverside high school is a better place because of the work she does with our students. Dr. Keefe is responsible for guiding countless students through the college entrance process, but she does not stop there. She also makes sure they go off to school with everything they need through her suitcases for seniors program.

Connor Posted over a year ago

I love it when she prepares me for college ??