Grateful Mr. Keefe prepares for co-education

Mr. Dan Keefe – Pierce Laveran ’24

After eleven years, upper school English teacher Mr. Daniel Keefe will leave the school community to teach at Germantown Academy. His final career shift will put co-education as his next frontier.

“I have two daughters, Virginia and Clare, lovely people, not boys,” Mr. Keefe said. “So I have been looking to offer them an opportunity to go to Germantown Academy, which has a tremendous program to which [faculty] can send [their] children.”

As he moves onto the next phase of his education career, Mr. Keefe recalls his decision to join Haverford eleven years ago, when he was determined to commit to English education at an all-boys curriculum.

“Back then I had a choice between Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Haverford, and I was excited for the prospect of teaching in all-boys education,” Mr. Keefe said. “It was an exciting venture. And I was impressed by the quality of the Haverford English department, at that time under the direction of Dr. Delia Turner.”

Mr. Keefe became involved in many duties outside the English curriculum. He talks about his experience as the Form Dean for the Class of 2023 and a soccer team coach. 

“The Form Dean position gave me the chance to know a whole group of students,” Mr. Keefe said. “And soccer was an interesting evolution. I first started as a coach to JV. Bill Brady eventually asked me to coach varsity with him. When Bill left, Andrew Poolman and I stepped into the role as the head of the program. There are some incredibly rewarding experiences from soccer.”

Coaches Poolman, Keefe, and Ator in the October 25, 2019 contest vs. SCHA – Obaida Elamin ’20

“I get bored if I get stagnant for an extended period,” Mr. Keefe said. “Haverford has offered me tons of opportunities for growth, advancement, and change.”

Despite his diverse interests, Mr. Keefe is most invested in English education. Under his guidance, the English IV* program embraced a more diverse curriculum. 

“Honors English was initially a British Literature course,” Mr. Keefe said. “We’ve taught Milton, Chaucer, Shakespeare. Over time, the class evolved to become more of an essay-writing course, in which we’re able to bring in a diversity of voices: Ta-Nehisi Coates and Virginia Woolf, to name a few.”

Having taught English IV* program for years, Mr. Keefe explains the challenges and joys of this experience.

“I will say the class was challenging to teach due to students’ expectations of coming into the class,” Mr. Keefe said. “ For many of them with dreams of Ivy League education or elite schools on the horizon, grading always ended up being controversial. Despite this, it’s neat to have an experience teaching the kids who most want to achieve at the highest levels of their English curriculum.”

Mr. Keefe recollects his countless entertaining memories at Haverford, inside and outside the class curriculum.

“Haverford is full of hilarious stories. One time I took a group of seniors to the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., for the Cinema of Masculinity course. I dropped them off at the door to park the van. When I got into the museum, they had all left to go out to lunch in DC, and I didn’t see them again for four hours,” Mr. Keefe said. “I’m so glad I wasn’t fired.”

“It has been a tremendous joy to teach at this place. I have nothing but gratitude for the members of the English department, the soccer coaches, and the larger Haverford faculty.”

Mr. Dan Keefe

As he departs, Mr. Keefe is grateful for the relationships he established and the recognition he received at Haverford over the years. 

“Winning the Inter-Ac title my first year running the soccer team was a huge highlight; having a poem published that I wrote about Dr. Ehrhart was a huge thrill,” Mr. Keefe said. “It has been a tremendous joy to teach at this place. I have nothing but gratitude for the members of the English department, the soccer coaches, and the larger Haverford faculty. I have friends and relationships in that faculty that will extend far beyond my time coming to a close here.”

In the end, Mr. Keefe extends his best wishes to the students, hoping to see the future growth of the student community.

“I always believed that Haverford men are capable of tremendous things when they exemplify the ideals of brotherhood that we espouse,” Mr. Keefe said. “Haverford men can become Renaissance men who excel in academics, arts, and athletics. I hope this place continues to foster in this positive direction towards thinking about boys’ education.”

Author: Jingyuan Chen '23

Jingyuan Chen has written for The Index since 2019. His news piece “Inside the middle school construction project” and his opinion “What can the U.S. learn from Chinese media censorship?” each earned a Silver Key from the 2020 Philadelphia-area Writing Awards.