The legacy of Travis Kiel, a game-changing educator and administrator, will be celebrated by family and friends in his hometown of Coffeeville, Alabama on Saturday, April 16.
A native son of Alabama’s red clay hills, Travis made his mark through public education in south Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. He graduated from Clark County Training School, class of 1964, Coffeeville, AL; Tuskegee University, class of 1969, Tuskegee, AL; and received a Masters in School Management and Administration from Pepperdine University, class of 1974.
During his Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) tenure, Travis worked his way from teacher to counselor, dean, magnet coordinator, assistant principal, and principal. In retirement, LAUSD recruited him as a substitute administrator to transition school sites to better versions of themselves.
Travis’ commitment to community and service are exemplified by the model he set for his sons; his schools were also his home. Regularly following family brunch in Marina del Rey, he would drive by his school sites. If he saw trash or other debris, he would have them pick it up.
His sense of pride and responsibility for his schools made a lasting impression, teaching them to treat their profession as they would their home.
One of his most memorable quotes was, “If we could get two thousand people to volunteer on campus for just four hours a year, we will see a remarkable improvement in student achievement. We must work together to create a positive, proactive academic environment.”
Over his 50 years in education, Travis taught at least three generations of students and would frequently run into all three generations (ie grandmother, daughter, and grandchild) while out with his wife and sons.
Many of his former students went to college and returned to the South Los Angeles community to build families and businesses of their own. If education used military rankings to honor service, Travis Kiel would be a five-star general.
Travis is survived by his wife, Wilma Smith Kiel; sons, Darryl Morton, Marcus (Kiyana) Kiel and Brandon (Skyla) Kiel; and grandchildren, Darion Morton, Kara Kiel, Brayden Kiel and Dylon Morton.