Keylah is a native Oregonian and was raised as part of a blended family in North and Northeast Portland. She attended Trinity Lutheran School and was an active participant in the Lutheran Elementary School Tournament (L.E.S.T.), which is held annually on Concordia's campus.
During her high school years, Keylah was very active in the community. Her passion for teaching began during this period when she and her mother tutored elementary students at two area housing projects. Keylah also made time to participate in youth events at her church and the NAACP Youth Council.
Upon graduation from high school, Keylah decided to pursue a teaching career and moved to Louisiana to attend Grambling State University. After two years she returned to Portland where she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Concordia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Keylah also received the honor of being one of the Commencement speakers during her graduation.
Keylah likes to share a favorite story about her grandfather whom she affectionately called “Papa.” He became acquainted with Concordia in the late 1950s as a member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church. During that time, his oldest daughter, Keylah’s aunt, volunteered at Concordia as a file clerk. Regardless of his prompting, none of his four children attended Concordia. However, he lived to see Keylah transfer to Concordia and it delighted him immensely. Although his death preceded her graduation, in her Commencement speech Keylah made reference to her Papa’s “seeds of grace” the prayers that led her to Concordia.
For seven years, Keylah taught in Portland Public Schools fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. She enjoyed “her children” and is always happy to run into them from time to time. During her teaching career she also coordinated the Talented and Gifted Program for five years. As coordinator of the Astor Marching Eagles Drill Team, Keylah was delighted when the team was awarded first place in the St. John’s Parade as well as the Junior Rose Festival Parade for their category.