2009 Tillman Scholar

Keeley Tatum

Air Force
Mississippi State University
B.A., Secondary Education

Keeley never actually served in the military–unless being a dependent military “BRAT” counts; her father, however, did serve as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force. When he died in 2003 of Leukemia, Keeley’s mother struggled to get her young teenage children through high school and college. Keeley will tell you that she internalized everything she witnessed of her father’s career, his life, his loving relationship to his wife and family, and his death–it all resulted in a push to do well in school and beyond. It only makes sense to her that her father, through his dedicated service in the military, continued to help her get through school even after he passed. Because of him, Keeley was eligible for the Tillman Scholarship as a dependent. This financial blessing enabled her to pursue her career in education and eventually become a high school English teacher. 

To date, Keeley has been teaching for over 5 years now. She is currently working at Richland High School and teaching English I, English II, and PreAP English II; she also co-serves as the Literacy Coach for her school. Additionally, she serves on her school’s Literacy Team and Leadership Team. Keeley loves the rewards and challenges that come with teaching. She is extremely thankful to her father, her family, the military, and the Tillman Foundation for helping her find and pursue a meaningful teaching career.