A tribute by Robert A. Perrotta, JD, EdD, retired principal, Fairfield Prep
In June of 1980, I was desperate to find a teacher to cover a Chemistry class in our Summer School Program. Colleen Keltos (nee Coyle), a recent graduate of Fairfield University, graciously volunteered to teach the class on incredibly short notice even though she was not scheduled to begin her teaching career at Prep until the September. This generosity of spirit and willingness to serve, no matter what the task, became the modus operandi for this multitalented professional’s stellar 43-year ministry of service to the Fairfield Prep Community.
Colleen began her career as a science teacher who was known for her competence in the classroom, her passion for teaching, her ability to actively engage her students in the learning process, and her high expectations that required her students to always strive for excellence. However, she was also known for her compassionate concern for the success of all of her students, especially those who struggled with the subject matter.
Colleen taught a variety of science classes including Biology, Honors Biology and Chemistry; and when the need arose, true to her generosity of spirit, she also taught Algebra I and II. Her intellectual curiosity led her to earn a master’s degree from Fairfield University in 1984 in Instructional Computer Science, thus setting the stage for the next chapter in her career path.
Colleen along with her longtime friend and colleague, Maureen Bohan, were the prime movers who propelled Fairfield Prep into the age of the instructional use of computers. They began by expanding the math curriculum to include several courses in Computer Science including the Programming Languages of Basic I, II, Introduction to Pascal and AP Pascal, all taught by Colleen and Maureen. They also designed and implemented a mandatory freshman course in Computer Literacy.
In recognition of her stellar leadership role in developing curriculum and training faculty in effectively integrating computer-assisted learning into all disciplines, in 1995, Colleen was appointed to the newly created administrative position of Director of Computer Science and Technology. As with everything that she does, she worked tirelessly to train faculty in the use of various educational computer software programs as well as the use of Smart Boards, grading programs and other computer peripherals to enhance the learning process. Colleen was truly visionary in foreseeing how computer technology would become an integral and indispensable part of our lives. Thus, her continuing efforts made Prep a school that was seen as an educational leader and “ahead of the curve” in the instructional use of technology.
In her administrative capacity, she conceived, proposed, and oversaw the construction and development of a $250,000 Computer Center Expansion, and developed and implemented a Computer Use and Security Policy. As a result of her stellar work, she was named Dean of Technology and Administrative Services in 2009 after earning her MBA in Management Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Based on her organizational and management skills and her many visionary successes, Colleen began another chapter in her career when she was appointed Dean of Operations in 2018. In her new role, Colleen was in charge of developing and implementing short-term and long-term facilities plans in accordance with the school’s strategic planning process. She was also charged with ensuring that the Prep facilities were well-maintained, met all environmental, health, and security standards, and complied with all governmental regulations.
Within her role, she oversaw construction of the Student Life Center, the renovations of the music, theater and art rooms to create a Fine Arts Floor, the creation of a greatly expanded Student Weight Room, the renovations to St. Joseph Chapel, the creation of a state-of-the-art Science Facility, and the creation of a long-awaited Innovation Center on the ground floor of Xavier Hall. She also created a five-year plan to address several issues of deferred maintenance including the replacement of Prep’s antiquated plumbing system and air-conditioning the facilities.
Colleen was selected to “Whose Who Among America’s High School Teachers" and served on numerous Committees and Advisory Boards. Her many skills and areas of expertise made her a much sought-after speaker and consultant. She was frequently asked to present at national and regional conferences sponsored by the Jesuit Secondary Association (now the Jesuit Schools Network) and served as the National Chair of Technology for the Jesuit Secondary Schools. This multitalented professional was also frequently asked to serve on NEASC school accreditation teams and Mission and Identity accreditation teams for Jesuit high schools throughout the country.
A dedicated and compassionate teacher, a gifted and consummate professional, a visionary and selfless leader, and an assiduous and tireless administrator are some of the phrases that come to mind in describing Colleen. Colleen, I sincerely applaud you for a 43-year multidimensional career whose impact has helped make Fairfield the outstanding school that it is today.
As you enter yet another chapter of your life, one of endless possibilities and limitless opportunities, may this new beginning bring you joy, peace, prosperity, and God’s blessings on you and your loved ones. Godspeed!
Reach out to congratulate Mrs. Colleen Keltos at KeltosColleen@gmail.com.
- Colleen Keltos
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