Saying goodbye to Jerri Kelly


Photo provided by: Three Point Photography

Hugging Administrative Assistant of Athletics Cathy Duncan at an Athletic Hall of Fame induction, Athletic Director Jerri Kelly presents her with the Outstanding Contributor award. The strength of Kelly’s relationship with her colleagues has been built upon many years of working at the school. “Personally, I’m going to miss her just because we talk everyday and I would consider her a friend, just because we see each other every single day, so I’ll miss her on a personal level,” principal Brian Blasewitz said. “Professionally, I’ll miss her work ethic, her organization, and really just all of the things that make her great will be missed. She has been here for a long time, so I think her legacy will be our facilities, our fundraising structure, and how competitive we are in all sports.”

Makayla Martindale, Sports Editor

In most people’s lives, there has been an educator who has made an immeasurable impact on their school years and those that follow. For many students and staff, this person has been Athletic Director Jerri Kelly. After nearly three decades of working for the school, Kelly plans to retire at the end of this school year. 

Though she is currently the Athletic Director, Kelly has held numerous responsibilities in the time that she has worked in Seminole County. From playing collegiate basketball, to  beginning her career as a coach and a math teacher, to retiring as the Athletic Director, Kelly is one of the most accomplished staff members and has made a significant impact on everyone she works with.

“Jerri is Lake Brantley,” principal Brian Blasewitz said. “I think that when people think about Lake Brantley Athletics, they’re going to think of her. Ms. Kelly is just an unbelievable person to work with and, in the time that she has been here, she has done an amazing job of putting Lake Brantley on the map for athletics. She has put her stamp on Lake Brantley High School for many years, but one of the things that I attribute to her is her attention to detail in all sports because we’re now competitive in a lot of sports and I think that’s because of her hard work.”

Similarly, the impact that Kelly has had on the coaches at the school has been significant, as varsity basketball coach Michael Cuff has worked with Kelly for over 15 years and has great respect for all of her hard work. 

“She is the best Athletic Director in the state for sure,” Cuff said. “I have never ever wanted to let Ms. Kelly down. She is very knowledgeable in the sport of basketball and is always willing to give advice, whether you want it or not. She has supported me and the team for several years and she is such a good person, so I tried to make sure I never gave her too much grief.”

In addition to achieving remarkable success for the school’s Athletic Department, Kelly also established the Athletic Hall of Fame on campus. This program is used to acknowledge the athletic accomplishments of those involved with the school and the community.

“I took a couple of different clinics on the national and state level and attended presentations from folks who had started a hall of fame, but I essentially learned from folks that had already done it, then came back and adapted it to fit our needs,” Kelly said. “That took probably two years, from learning the best way to do it, getting ideas from our stakeholders here, setting up the policies and procedures and getting the committees together, so our very first one was in 2018.”

Although retiring is bittersweet for Kelly considering her love for the school and the people in it, she has been looking forward to the free time to pursue other activities.

“I am so excited to spend time with family and friends, travel, snow ski, play golf and learn pickleball,” Kelly said.

Even though the school will continue into next year without Kelly, her impact on everyone around her and the culture that she has created among the Athletics Department will remain for years. 

“You have teachers that become your colleagues, that become your friends and then they were my children’s teachers and coaches, so it was more than just a job, it’s a community school and you become a family,” Kelly said. “We’re kind of all in this together, so Brantley has felt more like home than I’ve ever felt at any other school I have worked at.”