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  • Jamie Burdorf

Keeps encourage others to remember to give back to their hometown


Scott and Mary Ann Keep are part of the family challenge.

“There’s no better investment than education. If we want Shenandoah to give what was given to us, we need to help, especially in today’s world.”

Those are the words from Mary Ann (Goodrich) Keep who along with her husband, Scott, are part of the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation’s family challenge. The couple joins 38 other families in stepping up to the challenge of donating $10,000 over the course of ten years to build the endowment. The goal is for 100 families to make the pledge for a $1 million commitment.

The investment in education is something that is near and dear to Mary Ann’s heart as she was a teacher for 38 years - ten of them at her alma mater. The daughter of Gabby and Millie Goodrich, Mary Ann graduated from Shenandoah in 1975 and then went on to the University of Iowa. The Goodrichs farmed and also were famously known for owning the Skateland Roller Rink.

While at Iowa, Mary Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in English while twirling in The Hawkeye Marching Band with her sister Marci Goodrich Volker. She continued to further her education by getting her master’s degree in curriculum from Doane University. Mary Ann finished her teaching career at Springfield Platteview Schools and was awarded Teacher of the Year. She also was honored with a Peter Kiewitt Foundation Nebraska Teacher Achievement Award.

Scott grew up in Shenandoah, the son of Orville and Beth Keep, and graduated in 1976. He went on to Iowa State where he graduated in 1980 with a degree in Engineering. Scott spent his career at Metropolitan Utilities District where he worked his way up to be the Chief Operating Officer and eventually the Chief Executive Officer.

His brother Brent Keep lives in Kansas City and his sister Diane Ryan lives in Omaha. Scott makes the trip from Omaha down to Shenandoah about three times a week to see his dad and work on the family farm.

Although they are both now retired, Scott and Mary Ann reflected on their time growing up and going through the Shenandoah School District as a positive one filled with many fond memories.

“I loved football and that was because of the coaches. We had a good mix of older and younger ones. Don Stange was the head coach at that time, and Terry Ratliff had just gotten out of college. We had a lot of fun playing football and the team went to state in 1976,” recalled Scott. Scott also enjoyed competing in basketball and baseball as well.

Inside the classroom, Scott recalled a story about Tom Crane, who taught chemistry and physics.

“The class was not necessarily fun. In fact, it was pretty hard! When I got to Iowa State I was into my fifth physics class, and I still hadn’t seen anything that I hadn’t seen in high school. That was when I realized that Mr. Crane was maybe a pretty good teacher,” said Scott.

Mary Ann was involved as well, participating in band, drama, cheer, choir, golf, basketball, and softball.

“Shenandoah gave you the opportunity to explore passions you didn’t know you had and to get involved!” pointed out Mary Ann.

A fond memory of her time was when the school started a girls’ basketball team. The team which included Cheri Kenyon, Vicky Tyner and a bunch of other great teammates, got to pick out what their school’s team name would be. The choices were between the “Mustangettes” and the “Fillies.” We all know how that ended up!

Mary Ann had so many kind things to say about the teachers she remembers. She called their time in Shenandoah the “golden age of teachers.”

As a teacher of middle school herself, Mary Ann noted that she had a lot of exceptional teachers all the way through. Those teachers that really made an impact on her were Barb Cunningham, Jan Gardner, Dr. Robert Creighton, Carolyn Steinbrink, Paul Anderson, Duane Rexroth, Dennis Gates, Marlin Green, Elsie Fae Rhoades, Mary Beth Vaughn, Pat Beavers, Terry Ratliff, Keith Franzen, Marilyn Linkletter, and Ray Graves.

Both Scott and Mary Ann said they all set high expectations for their students and built strong relationships with them in a professional way.

The Keeps joined the family challenge at the tail end of the very first year. They learned of the foundation when Skateland won the Friends of Education award. The more they learned about the foundation’s mission, the more they knew that they had the means to give back to a school that gave a lot to them.

Scott serves on the Ralston School’s Foundation, and he knows that the foundation does a lot of good, and there are a lot of things they can step in and do to help out. He knows the same holds true for the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation.

“Graduates of Shenandoah live all over the country. We should remember to give back to where it all began, our hometown. These are our roots and our home,” said Mary Ann.

She finished saying, “Give if you can.”

To make a difference and join families just like the Keeps, reach out to Executive Director Jamie Burdorf at or 515-520-7641.

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