About Us » History


Annie B. Keiller was born in San Diego. She was educated entirely in the public school system in the city of San Diego. Miss Keiller graduated from Russ High School in 1889. She was the first San Diegan to achieve a State Normal School Diploma. She began teaching in 1893, and was the oldest serving teacher in the system in 1935. She taught fifth grade at Logan School for many years.

Miss Keiller is credited with having instituted up-to-date methods for teaching. She was a pioneer in the modern project method, which involved using mathematics to build models to scale. Annie Keiller invented a fraction ruler that her students used to better understand arithmetic.

She was an inspiration to students and teachers in her own time, and in recognition of her service and dedication, the school, Annie B. Keiller Middle School was named to honor her commitment to the achievement of excellence.
“The Gates of Wisdom” Lead to My School
When Keiller Leadership Academy (KLA) opened it's gates on September 6, 2005, it wanted to offer a learning community with structures in place that exemplify our core values and beliefs. A positive, welcoming environment is evident from the moment students enter the campus. We refer to the front entrance as the “Gates of Wisdom” where every student is welcomed with a hand shake each morning by a member of the leadership team. A warm and inviting supervised area is provided in the morning for students to congregate before the first classes begin. KLA also infuses AVID strategies throughout the curriculum to increase student achievement. In order to create a climate of safety and academic focus, a dress code has been adopted that is based on school uniforms.

Keiller Leadership Academy (KLA) quietly did the improbable, becoming one of only two California middle schools to pull itself out of No Child Left Behind’s purgatory. More than 300 middle schools statewide had fallen short of the federal law’s escalating test standards and were forced to restructure. Restructuring means just about anything from replacing staff to undergoing state takeover, and it rarely works. The vast majority of schools don’t boost achievement after restructuring. Their test scores keep stagnating.

KLA, however, found a way out that worked. Once one of San Diego Unified’s lowest-scoring public schools, KLA shed the law’s dreaded “Program Improvement” label after remaking itself as a charter school in 2005. Charter status, which allows schools to run independently while being publicly funded, is no silver bullet. It has not translated into success for every struggling public school in San Diego, such as Memorial Academy of Learning and Technology. But for Keiller, autonomy empowered former principal Patty Ladd to dramatically alter the school’s culture through a smattering of reforms.

KLA is dedicated to providing its students and families with an educational program that will support all students as they gain skills and competencies that meet or exceed grade level standards as set by the state of California. One of KLA’s core values is to educate the whole child. Therefore, KLA offers extended blocks of instructional minutes to allow for problem-based learning projects. KLA also offers after school programs that provide students with a wide variety of enrichment classes, including athletics, tutoring, and clubs.

Attempting to serve as a model for other charter schools that collaborate with colleges and universities is a goal of KLA. Strategies to develop high academic achievement among low income, urban populations are stressed. We strive to foster and sustain parental and family involvement. Our teachers and staff use intensive teaching methods, which reflect best practices in education. KLA is also dedicated to creating enrichment through partnerships with businesses and other community organizations. Because the entire staff at KLA holds the deep belief that adolescents from all income levels and ethnic/racial groups will only perform well in “high expectation environments,” KLA has achieved what many believed to be impossible.