Kelli Michael with fellow Mulrennan Relay For Life team members.

Kelli Michael, a Mulrennan Middle School science teacher, passed away suddenly from acute lymphoblastic leukemia last month. Kelli taught for 27 years in the Hillsborough County school system, teaching locally throughout her career, beginning at Alafia Elementary, then teaching at Buckhorn Elementary and most recently being a science teacher at Mulrennan Middle School. She is survived by her husband, Brian Michael, and two children, Sean and Shane. Kelli was recently selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning as January’s Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher as part of the NHL’s Most Valuable Teacher program. Additionally, Kelli was previously awarded Teacher of the Year at Buckhorn Elementary.

She was also a Les Mills aerobics instructor at the YMCA and had a faithful following. Kelli advocated for the education of the mind and physical fitness for the body as she felt it was also good for the spirit. She was a great example to those around her, as she actively participated in 5K events for various causes.

Her favorite event and charity was Relay for Life because she had loved ones who suffered or passed from cancer. She was an active participant through her school and was able to help raise awareness about this tragic disease that touches the lives of so many.

Because of her dedication to Relay For Life, this year, Buckhorn Elementary, Mulrennan Middle School and Durant High School are all joining together to honor Kelli. They have created a campaign to raise money with the sale of a custom T-shirt and stickers.

“She loved the schools, this community and Relay for Life. The theme, ‘Curing Cancer Would Be Relay Sweet,’ paired with Kelli’s favorite animal, the koala, will create a shirt we hope to see everywhere,” said Brian.

Shirts are $20 and are on sale until Friday, October 14. The proceeds will go to Relay for Life and a fund to assist her two children.

Local businesses, such as Daily Blends of Valrico, have put her sticker on their store window. The family would love to see other community members and local businesses support these efforts in her honor as well.

For more information or to purchase T-shirts and stickers, contact Tiffany Schreffler at

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