John Von Kieffer
John Von Kieffer, Raytown High School, Class of 1961
John Von Kieffer graduated from Raytown High School in 1961. Three years later, he received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri, and in 1965, he completed a Master of Arts in Music, also at the University of Missouri.
Kieffer began his conducting career at Omaha Public Schools, working at McMillian Junior High and Indian Hills Junior High. During his tenure at Indian Hills, the band and orchestra program increased from only 13 students to become the largest school music program in Omaha with more than 200 students.
In 1974, Kieffer became the director of the Benson High School band program for Omaha Public Schools, where he remained for eight years. Benson High became the first Omaha high school band program to enter marching band competitions, winning several during this eight-year span. In 1979, the Nebraska Governor declared a “Benson High School Band Day” for the state.
Starting in 1981, Kieffer served with distinction as Olathe South High School’s band director, where he stayed for 22 years. His band performed at the Opening Day Ceremonies for the Kansas City Royals and at the seventh game of the 1985 World Series. While Kieffer was at Olathe South, his students received 223 first place trophies and countless Division 1 awards.
In 1983, Kieffer was selected for Leadership Olathe and 30 years later, he was selected Chairman of their Alumni Association. Kieffer was named National Band Director of the Year in 1991 by Bands of America, an organization that promotes marching band competitions. In 2012, he was inducted into the Omaha Benson High School Hall of Fame.
Kieffer is actively involved with the 1961 Raytown High Alumni class. He has served in many community service roles for the city of Olathe. He is proud to say that he had the opportunity to positively impact the lives of students for 38 years, and has attempted to continue doing so during retirement.