The Aim Higher Foundation is pleased to announce the hire of Mike O’Keefe as Director of Scholarship Programs. Mike will manage the scholarship operations, lead the program strategy, and serve as the first point of contact for both the families and schools supported by the Aim Higher Foundation.
To spend more time with her family, Laura Hester, who served the scholarship programs the last three years including as Director this last year, will remain on staff and move to a new part-time position as Special Projects Coordinator.
“We are thrilled to add Mike to our team,” said Ricky Austin, president of the Aim Higher Foundation. “Mike’s experience working with school leaders, families, and students, paired with his deep wisdom of, skill with, and insight into school dynamics and financial aid administration, will be invaluable to our efforts and to those we serve.”
“At the same time, we are extraordinarily grateful for Laura’s successful tenure. Mike comes into this mission during a time of sustained growth and with rock-solid foundation to build upon. I’m excited to see where we go next with both Mike and Laura in their new roles.”
Mike has worked in Catholic schools for four decades, most recently concluding a 33-year career in leadership at DeLaSalle High School. There, Mike had administrative responsibilities in admissions, scholarship and grant allocations, communications, strategic planning, development, and events. He was often the first person to connect with prospective parents and students in their high school search. During his tenure, and in partnership with colleagues and supporters, the school more than doubled its enrollment and tripled its staff and programs, stabilized its finances, invested significantly in scholarship and grants as well as campus improvements, and raised all measurable outcomes of academic and post-secondary success.
“I’m honored and so excited for this opportunity to join Aim Higher,” said O’Keefe. “I had always been a supporter, but in the process of my discernment leading up to joining the team, I have become a believer. I’m impressed with every person I’ve met and every data point I’ve learned. Every day presents an opportunity for something good, maybe even something remarkable, for students, families, schools and communities.”
A Minneapolis native, Mike is himself a product of K-12 Catholic schools, and he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. John’s University (MN), with a minor in Secondary Education and coaching certifications. He also has served on multiple boards and committees during his professional career, and he has been invited to present or speak at hundreds of events related to his work or personal life.
“I’ve been so blessed to have a career in Catholic schools,” said Mike. “I’ve worked with so many remarkable women and men who I’ve admired as colleagues, supporters, partners, students, and particularly parents. To connect with families from every Twin Cities community is to also reveal that they shared – we all share — a common and inspiring love and hope for their children. ”
He and his late wife, Carol, moved into St. Pascal Baylon parish almost 40 years ago, and he is a parishioner to this very day. Their three children are graduates of St. Pascal’s, DeLaSalle, and Catholic universities, now raising a current total of eight perfect grandchildren (just ask him) who are the light of his life.
Mike O’Keefe can be reached at [email protected] or at 612-819-6711 ext. 107.
About the Aim Higher Foundation
The Aim Higher Foundation provides student-based, tuition-assistance scholarships so that more children in the twelve-county Twin Cities metro area can experience the life-changing benefits of a Catholic education. Since 2012, the foundation has awarded more than 14,000 scholarships – worth more than $12.8 million – to children to attend Catholic schools serving K-8 students in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.