Editor's Note: This is part two of a five-part series on the families and couples who make up Manassas Park City Schools.
That little rumor about the math teacher and the social studies teacher turned out to be true.
Mike Kelly and his wife Krista, both employees of Manassas Park City Schools met seven years ago at Manassas Park High School where the two taught—she math, he social studies.
In a way, they were high school sweethearts, but without the ragging teenage hormones complicating things.
It was their mutual love of children and education that led the two to meet, their common interests that allowed their love to grow, and their faith that keeps it all together, the couple said.
Although they worked together, Mike and Krista’s first exchange of words was in 2005 at church.
The two recognized each other from the high school, but Mike couldn’t remember Krista’s last name, so he just kept it simple.
“She started walking out at the end of church and I just said, 'Hey.' Mike said. “Her maiden name’s Neibert and I knew it was something to that extent, but I didn’t want to put my foot in my mouth.”
“That just shows how well we didn’t know each other,” Krista said, musingly.
Mike, said he’d noticed his future wife before that day at church and had found her attractive.
“I’m told by others that I said he was cute at one of the staff meetings,” Krista said. “And I still think he’s cute.”
Soon, the two became more than workmates.
During the courtship, they worked to keep their romance hidden—especially from the students.
“I told them I was dating somebody name, “Herbert” who was short, fat and wore glasses,” Krista said, laughing.
“Well, this is a professional place,” Mike said. “So, I think we did the right thing; we did a good thing by keeping our personal lives separate.”
Only a few of the other teachers were aware that they were “friendly," the couple said.
Most people found out after they announced their engagement about 13 months after their meeting, Krista said.
He popped the question over takeout from Taco Bell in her office one night when she had to work late.
“You don’t have to go out to an expensive place,” Mike said, laughing.
“We always hold hands to pray … he said something to the affect of, ‘please let this lovely lady say, 'yes' when I ask her to marry me.'"
After the engagement party—which was held at the high school—and a wedding, which was not, the newly-married couple settled into a routine that allowed them to ride together to work and talk. They have a great line of communication, the couple said.
“It’s a good thing, one thing that’s very important in marriage is communication and we have very good communication. At that time we were carpooling together and we were working here and it was easy to communicate,” Mike said.
“When we were teaching together, we shared a lot of the same students, it was nice; if I was having trouble with a student I could talk to her and we were able to work together on that ... when Krista was here, she was involved in a lot of programs and I was involved in a lot of programs, so we could see more ways to be efficient and more ways to be helpful to the school.”
“And we still do that,” she said. “We frequently bounce ideas off each other.”
Their work schedules have changed over the years, with Krista taking on the job of finance director for the school division and the addition of two more children, a lively brother, Colin, who is now 5, and a 3-year-old sister,Lilly, for Mike’s son, Carrington, an 11-year-old Manassas Park Middle School student.
The communication remains great—Mike calls Krista at her office, which is just up the road from the school, around the same time every afternoon.
The two said they work closely together in getting everyone off to school in the mornings.
The children know how important education is to them, she said.
“We try and stress that we’ll love for them to get straight As, but if they are doing their very best and are trying, and they are not getting straight As, then that’s OK, it’s just more important for them to try,” Krista, the valedictorian of her high school class, said.
Looking back, Krista said if it weren't for education and Manassas Park High, she might have still been Krista Neibert instead of Krista Kelly.
“If it were a different situation he would have never said, ‘hey’ he didn’t remember my name, but he knew me enough to be comfortable speaking to me … if I’d just been a stranger on the street, it would have been difficult,” she said.