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I was born the first of two sons to John and Geraldine Keech in 1970. I grew up in Ansonia, Ct, attending the local public schools, playing youth baseball, basketball, and football, and achieving an Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts. My parents were devout Roman Catholics and sent me to a Catholic high school.
After completing high-school, I attended the University of Connecticut for two years. I then transferred to the Catholic University of America, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Math (1992).
After graduation, I stayed in the Washington DC area and began my career as a financial analyst in 1993 while also attending Graduate school at George Mason University. I graduated from George Mason in 1998 with a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. I switched my career focus and became a Radio Frequency Engineer in May 1995.
In the Summer of 1999, I began working as a software developer, and I remain in this industry. I have worked on websites, handheld barcode scanner software, mainframe applications, windows forms applications, and as a software industry consultant.
Additionally, I made an ultimately unsuccessful attempt at owning and running my own business (2014-2017), a franchised home care business. While I failed in the venture, I learned much about the incredible hard work a small business owner must do daily.
In 2004 I moved to Euless, Texas, and then a few years later, I moved to Dallas. I met my wife in the summer of 2013 at Watermark Community Church in North Dallas. We married in October 2015 and welcomed our honeymoon baby, John Michael, in June 2016. In 2020, we were blessed with twin girls, and in 2021, we received the surprise of our life when Rebekah was born. I have lived on three continents, climbed a few 14ers in Colorado, hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, gone scuba diving in French Polynesia, and walked through a Camel Market in Cairo, Egypt, and a Bazaar in Delhi, India. I can say that watching your children’s birth is the most amazing thing a man can witness.
What motivates you to want to become a board member?
There are a few reasons why I want to serve on the school board. I have four small children, ages 6, 2, 2, and 7 months. My oldest is in first grade at Groves Elementary, and my wife and I intend to enroll the other three in the Wylie schools in the future. No one has more personally at stake in the Wylie ISD than I do. In the past few years, I have seen news stories about the increasingly horrific things taught and done to our children in public schools. With four children attending or soon attending Wylie schools, I have too much at stake to ignore this problem. Wylie has outstanding schools with excellent teachers.
However, our schools can be improved and protected from some of the awful things we have seen occurring in schools nationwide. I have a moral compass and a strength of character that will allow me to bring improvements to our schools and also protect the schools from some of the more harmful societal trends leaking into schools across our nation. I believe it is my duty as a citizen to be involved in the governing of our country. I will never serve in war as my father or uncles did (WWII, Korean war), but I believe I can make a small but very significant contribution to our nation.
It is my duty to “love my neighbor as myself,” which includes loving my neighbor’s children enough to care about the education they receive in
public schools. I do not believe for one moment I can claim to ‘Love my neighbor’ if I do not care about the future shape of this society, and I instead choose to leave all the policy, all the government, all the hiring, all the questions about the future of society in the hands of others.
What particular skills or experiences qualify you to serve as a school board member?
I have never been an employee of a school (except for a few substitute teaching assignments when I first graduated from college). Having outside experience will be a strength for me on the board. While many who serve on school boards, both in Wylie and nationwide, are long-time teachers and administrators with little real-world experience outside the school classrooms, I have worked my entire adult life in the private sector. Through my experiences, I am keenly aware of the skills needed to be successful in the workforce. My experience running a small business taught me a great lesson in planning, budgeting, and realizing that every resource (time, money, etc.) is finite. Priorities must be set, limits must be respected, and the well can run dry any time.
What do you see as the most pressing issues facing the school board?
I believe two critical issues are facing the school board, and it is hard to specify which of these issues is the most pressing. The first is the school budget. Without question, it is growing at an unsustainable rate. Between 2012 and 2021, the student population grew by 35%, from 13361 to 18155 students. In that same 9-year period, the school budget grew by 82%, from 119 million to 215 million. Inflation increased by 23% in the same period (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), so the school budget grew 24% more than the combined increase in student population and inflation. At the August school board meeting, the current board voted to increase property taxes on the average Wylie homeowner by 11%. Collin County, Collin College, and the City of Wylie (the other taxing entities for most taxpayers in the ISD) were all able to pass fiscally responsible budgets that kept these entities’ share of the property tax rates the same as last by setting the tax rate at the No-New-Revenue rate. By comparison, the ISD board increased taxes by 11% on the typical resident of the ISD.
The second issue is the introduction of many of the same social and sexual ideologies into the Wylie schools we have seen in schools across the country. For example, in 2020, children in a middle school class in the ISD were shown a comic strip that compared the police to the KKK. Recently, a male middle school student and his parents received a flyer advertising a STEM event for “girls and non-binary students.” There is an LGBTQ category at the Wylie High School library, and Wylie East High School contains the same books (although this school does not have the explicit category). There are obscene and explicitly pornographic books at school libraries all over the district. I am NOT commenting on the LGBTQ lifestyle, but I want to know why these books are in our libraries.
When I was in school, if I had brought one of these books to school with me, I would have been suspended from school. Now they are in the libraries. Why? There are books explaining how to deal with white privilege and be a better white person. These are not legitimate history books; these are books that tell the reader there is inherently something racist about a specific group of people purely because of the color of their skin. Why are books like this in our school libraries? Our society has enough racial divisions, and these books pour gasoline on that fire.
The current board is doing nothing to put a stop to these extremist ideologies slowly but surely advancing into the Wylie Schools. These ideologies will harm our children. Teaching these ideologies is against the wishes of the vast majority of the parents of children in the ISD.
A third issue is teacher retention. I believe the ISD currently experiences a yearly 5%– 10% turnover in classroom teachers. A high turnover rate indicates something is clearly and deeply wrong in our classrooms. I have a few family members who are retired teachers. One told me she spent her entire career against school vouchers and charter schools, but since her retirement, she has completely changed her mind and would like to see me withdraw my own children from the public schools. Another told me she is embarrassed to say to others she is a retired teacher. I believe what these two have shared with me is indicative of a significant problem in our schools. Many of our best teachers are quitting; they give up what they love to do because they refuse to go along and teach some of the more harmful ideologies forced upon them by the state and national governments.
As a trustee, I promise I will restore the INDEPENDENT in the ISD; I will lead the effort to free the classroom teachers to do what they signed up to do, which is to teach children about math and science and history, and how to read and write.
Jeffrey’s Campaign Announcement
Today I filed paperwork to run for the Wylie ISD School Board Trustee Place 2.
Why? Because our children and their education is too important to entrust to a select few school administrators. For too long parents have given their children to the public schools and remained on the sidelines.
The task of educating our children is too important to be given over completely to the schools. It must be a collaboration between the parents, teachers, school administrators, and taxpayers. And it must be led by those who love the child more fully, more passionately, more completely, than anyone else can – the parents of the children.
As I have watched the problems surrounding schools and the educational system in our nation, a recurring thought came to me. No matter how hard I tried, it would not leave me. All that I see happening in our schools and to our young people is happening on my watch. My Watch.