Grand Island Public Schools Foundation welcomes new board members, announces officers for 2024
At their January 18 meeting, the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors elected Audrey Lutz-Musliek, President; Kelly Enck, Vice-President; and Shane Wissmann, Secretary/Treasurer. The board elected Alison Larson, Brandon Bowley, Valerie Porto and Shirley McCallum as new board members.
The Board also thanked Zach Butz for his service as the Board President for 2023. As the gavel was passed to Audrey Lutz-Mulsliek; Zach Butz remarked, “The GIPS Foundation has such a vital mission that benefits so many families in our community. It’s been a fantastic experience for me to get to serve in a leadership role on a board of this caliber, alongside the Foundation’s passionate, dedicated staff. Everyone associated with the GIPS Foundation is motivated to benefit the students, staff and families in the Grand Island Public Schools system. I look forward to continuing to serve with the board to further that shared goal.”
Jenna Grenier and Tom Gdowski retired from the board. These board members have given freely of their time to make a positive difference in the lives of GIPS students, their families, and staff. They accepted the challenge to be stewards of our donors’ funds and have done a remarkable job accepting that challenge. Their passion for being difference-makers made them a perfect fit to carry out the mission and vision of the GIPS Foundation. We are grateful for their service.
Alison Larson is a Grand Island native (from age 7 on), moving back to the area after finishing college. Alison has been working in banking and investments for the last 25 years. Recently, Alison made a big leap to become an Executive Director in the non-profit world. Over the next 2 years, she will be helping the Grand Island Children’s Museum get up and running. Alison lives in St. Paul on the Middle Loup River and has 2 adult sons (Ethan and Eli) and one German shorthaired pointer named Cooper.
Brandon is a Vice President of Business Banking at Home Federal Bank, where he has worked for 9 years. He has been working in the banking and financial industry for over 15 years. Brandon moved to Grand Island from his hometown of Burwell, NE in 2007. Brandon and his wife, Sara, have 2 daughters, Addalyn, who is 11, and Elaina, who is 7. Sara works for Grand Island Public Schools as an RN for Westridge Middle School.
Valerie Porto has been working for Grand Island Public Schools since 2021. Valerie is a school social worker at Grand Island Senior High, serving 10th-12th grade students and families. Prior to this she worked at the O’Connor Learning Center and Westridge Middle School. Valerie has been involved in the non-profit community by working at the Heartland United Way for 4 years, volunteering for many non-profits, and being a board member for the Foster Care Review Board. Valerie and her husband Mark have a 1 year old, Lewis.
Shirley McCallum is the Sponsorship & Hospitality Manager for the Nebraska State Fair and Aksarben Stockshow. Shirley has 35 years of sales experience and has made Grand Island her home since 1990. She is an active volunteer in our community and her greatest joy comes from serving others. Shirley and her husband Kurt were very involved in GIPS activities when their children, Alexa, Brooke, Cade and Sage, attended school.
Others serving on the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors are Kathie Degen, Diana Kellogg, Erin Marsh, Paul Hoos, Roger Schmidt, and Dr. Rob Winter. Ex-officio members are Lindsey Jurgens, Kevin De Leon Morales, Kari Price, and Executive Director Kari Hooker Leep.
The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation is the tax-exempt organization that accepts gifts on behalf of the Grand Island Public Schools. Since the Foundation’s inception in 1983, its mission and goal are to enhance a tax-funded education by creating additional opportunities for students through philanthropic means. Programs and projects that fall under the Foundation’s enhancement umbrella include booster clubs, college scholarships for Grand Island Senior High School students, dual enrollment scholarships, facility enhancement, teacher and student recognition, alumni relations, the Grand Island Senior High School Hall of Honor, and the Classroom Grant Program. The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation manages more than 180 funds designed by donors that annually make grants to invest in the students of the Grand Island Public Schools.