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Dr. Christi Keelen, 41, passed away in the hospital two days after experiencing a brain aneurysm on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
“I know that she touched lives every place she was,” Cathey Buck, the academic lead teacher for English, said.
This year was Keelen’s first at Kingwood Park and her 11th year in the district. She taught AP Language and Composition as well as pre-AP English II.
Her previous teaching stops had included Quest Early College High School, Timberwood and Creekwood Middle Schools and Kingwood High School.
She had also taught for the Amarillo and Houston school districts, and she was an adjunct professor for the University of Houston-Downtown.
“While this was her first year here at KP, she had already made a tremendous impact,” principal Lisa Drabing said. “We are going to miss her greatly.”
Keelen was a graduate of Texas Tech. She earned her master’s degree at the University of St. Thomas and her doctorate at Sam Houston State University.
Teachers and students alike noticed Keelen’s positive attitude and joyful spirit in and out of the classroom.
“Even if there were little things that she could have been stressed about, she was able to look on the bright side and handle things with a smile on her face,” said Buck.
Junior Destiny Hernandez worked with Keelen at St. Martha’s Catholic Church in leading a confirmation group on the weekends and was also one of her students in AP Language. She said she had never had a teacher like Keelen before.
“She really cared about our learning and wanted it to be different everyday,” Hernandez said. “Looking back, it really hit me that no other teacher really cared that much.”
In light of her passing, Humble ISD provided grief counselors to assist students and staff members in need of support on the following Monday, Oct. 28. Students are encouraged to talk more with their house counselors if necessary. Students and staff are welcome to attend the visitation on Friday, Nov. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Kingwood Funeral Home. The funeral mass will take place at St. Martha’s Catholic Church on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Keelen is survived by her husband Mark, a Houston firefighter, and her son Hunter, a freshman at Kingwood Park. A crowdfunding account has been created to help raise money to offset expenses for Mark and Hunter Keelen.
“It helps incredibly to know that we are such a tight knit community; and I think that in itself is comfort, knowing that we’re there for each other,” Drabing said.