MEET THE KELLERS
Charlotte & Jerry Keller
She served as an educator working with special needs children. He worked in law enforcement, serving two terms as Sheriff. Now retired, both continue to actively contribute through community service.
Since the opening of the school named in their honor, in August 2009, they have become familiar faces to the students at the school. They enjoy volunteering and attending special events. The Kellers took an active role in planning for the school before it opened They participated in staff meetings and in the development of the school and mission statements and even suggested the school mascot. The students and staff are learning why the school naming committee chose the couple as the namesake for the school.
Charlotte Yeoman is the daughter of Thelma Louise Young and Daniel Ross Yeoman. She was born July 19, 1950 in Avon, Illinois. She and her older brother, Kent, grew up on the family farm just 7 miles outside of Avon. That 410-acre farm has been in her family for generations and produces mainly corn and soybeans. Charlotte helped with the large family garden. She says her family was self-sufficient and purchased very few groceries. At the age of 16 her family moved into town. Charlotte was involved in 4-H and was a cheerleader. She graduated from Avon High School in 1968.
She decided as a teen that she wanted to be a special education teacher, Her career was inspired by her experiences baby-sitting a deaf child. Charlotte earned a bachelors degree in education in learning disabilities with a focus on emotional disabilities from Illinois State University in 1972. The summer after graduation she told her dad she was going to get in her car and drive until she found a place she thought she might enjoy working. He said that was fine as long as he came along. She ended up in Tampa, Florida for her first teaching position. She worked at Mendez Psychiatric Clinic for two years before moving to Riverton, Wyoming to teach at Lincoln Elementary for two years. Then she moved to nearby Hudson Elementary in Hudson, Wyoming followed by a move to Arizona Baptist Children's Services for a year. Next, she completed her Masters degree as a full-time student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. After her graduation in 1979, she went to teach at the St. Stevens Indian Reservation for a year.
In 1980 Charlotte moved to Las Vegas. She spend 19 years with the Clark County School District. She worked as a special education teacher at Hyde Park Middle School, C.C. Ronnow and Decker Elementary School at Seigle Diagnostic Center, and as an itinerant behavior mentor in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. She still maintains contact with some of her former students.
Jerry Keller was born on November 24, 1946 in San Bernardino, California. He has one older sister, Mary, and is the son of Ann Jones and Loyal Ray Keller. He grew up in Southern Nevada attending kindergarten and first grade at the tiny school in Indian Springs while his father worked at the test site. The family moved to Las Vegas when his dad was a supervisor of Roads and Grounds at Lake Mead Naval Base. He attended several schools in town, graduating from Western High School.
Jerry began his 33 year career in law enforcement as deputy sheriff for the Clark County Sheriff's Office in 1969. During his career with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Jerry was an innovator who implemented numerous programs to enhance the effectiveness of the department. These programs included the Domestic Violence Unit, the Police Employees Assistance Program (PEAP, the Homeless Enforcement Liaison Program (HELP), Zero Weapons Zero Tolerance (Z2), and the Partners Against Violence and its Effects (PAVE), First Tuesday, and the first bicycle patrol on the strip and downtown. Upon election to the office of the Sheriff in 1995, Sheriff Keller established the motto of "Partners with the Community," and worked to strengthen and maintain that community partnership. During the campaign he loved meeting with and listening to the people he served. Charlotte worked along side him in his election efforts. "Most people hate campaigns," Jerry said, "We loved it!"
He opened area substations to the public, giving citizens access to their neighborhood police offices and opening the lines of communication with community members. Sheriff Keller followed the Citizen' Police Academy by establishing the Citizens' Youth Academy, empowering citizens young and old with the knowledge of the inner workings of a police department.
Jerry also served for three years as president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association which included the law enforcement heads from the 50 biggest cities in the nation. A few of the additional awards and recognition for his contributions include the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Community Achievement Award for Public Service and Circle of Excellence Award, the We Can, Inc., Chris Shaller Award for Commitment to Child Abuse Prevention, the UNLV Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award, the "Hope" Award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Penrith Award for outstanding national leadership, and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
While serving as Sheriff, Jerry was often the subject of newspaper and magazine articles and cover stories. The Review Journal newspaper sometimes called the sheriff "The Machine" because he was relentless in his pursuit of what was best for his community and department.
At first glance, people might now realize the "significant role Charlotte played in my career. She has had very little formal recognition, but everyone who has worked with me know that Charlotte and I are a team," Jerry explains.
As the end of his second term as Sheriff approached, Jerry had to decide about running for a third term. That was right after 9-11. That "morality check" prompted the sheriff to spend time on homeland security issues instead of campaigning. He decided it was time to further prepare the Vegas valley for possible terrorist activity rather than run a campaign. He chose not to run for re-election; instead he took the lead in addressing homeland security for the valley, rekindling some of the Y2K preparedness between fire departments and Metro. He spend countless hours working to help prevent and prepare a response to terrorist threats to the community. He continues today as the Vice Chairman of the Nevada Homeland Security Commission.
Jerry and Charlotte met each other at the birthday party of mutual friends, Don and Beth Sylvester. They married on October 6th, 1989. Charlotte became the stepmother to Jerry's four children -- Tiffani, Audry, Heather, and Michael. They now have five grandchildren: Ryan, Cody, Jordan, Edyn, and Myles.
Both Jerry and Charlotte retired on Jan. 6, 2003. They finished a beautiful cabin home at Duck Creek Village on Cedar Mountain in Southern Utah and moved in on Christmas Eve just before that. That home has a room devoted to books and a juke box since they love country western music and dancing. They have had a cabin on Cedar Mountain since 1988. They purchased an RV and love to travel around the United States. Since their retirement they have spend about a third of their time Duck Creek, a third in Las Vegas or traveling in their RV, and a third back in Illinois helping to care for Charlotte's elderly father and her stepmother Anita. He has since moved to Las Vegas.
Shortly after his retirement, Jerry was offered a position as Vice President of Security for the Wynn Hotel. He held that position for three years before again retiring. They both love to read, golf, fish, hike, play board and card games. She likes sewing, needlework, cooking, and scrap booking He especially enjoys tying fish flies, and woodworking.
They love to spend their time with family and continue to devote time to community service. Over the years they have helped Habitat for Humanity in Tucson, Arizona and Greensburg, Kansas. They have helped organize and coach Challenger Little League for special needs kids, and helped with Boys and Girls Clubs. Now, they love to come to the school bearing their name and help out in classes and special school events.
-- Story by former First Grade teacher Ranae Kanet