It is with great sadness that I write to share the news of the passing of beloved former faculty member Richard Kelly. Richard was a master teacher, who always supported his students as he challenged them to grow and learn. He led CA’s math department for more than three decades and helped shape the lives of over a thousand students who passed through CA during his tenure. Richard saw math as an adventure and process of discovery, and that’s the way he taught the subject. He instructed his students to “Sniff around a problem and be calm. Look at your tool kit.”
As a teacher, Kelly was often ahead of his time. The development of his popular and highly regarded Advanced Placement Economics course fulfilled his goal to elevate the personal financial literacy of his students. With his encouragement, his students won numerous essay awards in the field of economics.
In the pantheon of the CA faculty, there are many, many great teachers, but there is little doubt that Richard was one who had a tremendous influence on the institution. He set the bar at CA as someone who was committed to teaching excellence. He dedicated his professional life to Colorado Academy. He helped the school grow into a leading institution in the country, and modeled the kind of compassionate community we are always aspiring to be.
What I most appreciated about Richard was his authentic love of learning and how he passed this passion to his students. There was this tremendous humility about Richard. To be sure, he was a brilliant thinker. His mind was always racing. He would send along articles, books, and essays to me about new, innovative ideas related to teaching and learning. The faculty will remember his many late-night emails, in which he would offer wonderful insights into an idea or offer a reaction to some new development. He was a man with a wonderful sense of humor. This came through in nearly every interaction I had with him. His annual performance as the Scrooge at our Faculty Follies was something few students will ever forget. But, the Scrooge, he was not. He loved his students, and he loved Colorado Academy.
I am most appreciative for how he challenged all of us to be better and to be willing to take courageous stands to do the right thing for our students. His commitment to community service and inclusivity has served as a role model for other teachers.
I will miss Richard and our conversations greatly. He was a wonderful man, and it is nearly impossible to convey the positive effect he had on Colorado Academy. When we have further news of memorial services, we will be sure to share that information with our community. Richard is survived by his daughter Margaret. If you knew Richard, I hope you can take a moment to reflect on the life of a man who understood the value of giving to others.