On behalf of the NAEF Officers, I am pleased to announce the appointment of ten education foundation leaders to the NAEF Board of Directors. These ten directors will govern the NAEF along with the five founding officers - Traci Skalberg, CEFL, CRFM, Mary Mélon-Tully, CEFL, Mike Taylor, CEFL, CFRE, Heather Carroll, CEFL, and Toba Cohen-Dunning, CEFL, MSW, MPA.
Each individual is highly talented with a proven track record of impactful investment in the students of their respective education systems. Their experience and leadership will be instrumental to the NAEF membership which consists of 640 education foundations, 1,360 professional foundation leaders, fundraisers, board members, and leaders of educational systems in 41 states and who serve over 20-million students.
The new board of directors will meet in late March to develop a strategic action plan to support foundations, and the countless number of professionals who work tirelessly on behalf of education systems across the United States of America.
Natalie Clogston, Ed.D.
Dr. Natalie Clogston has served as Chief Foundation Officer of the Pearland ISD Education Foundation since 2015. As the daughter of a retired educator, Dr. Clogston takes pride in advocating for public schools. During her tenure, the organization has awarded over $600,000 in innovative teaching grants to Pearland Independent School District, a K-12 public school district of 21,000 students located 20 miles south of Houston, Texas. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the organization helped to raise over $90,000 in relief to assist students, employees and their families who were affected by the storm.
She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and Master of Education in Educational Administration. She recently completed her Doctor of Education at the University of Houston-Clear Lake with dissertation research on Texas education foundations. In addition to her executive duties, Dr. Clogston has shared her knowledge and experience at both the state and national level. When she’s not keeping busy with fundraisers and board activities, you can find her at the gym or with her beautiful family of five and two rascally German shepherds.
Tyren C. Frazier, Ed.D.
Executive Director, Chesterfield Education Foundation
Tyren’s life mission is to create opportunities for young people. Doing for youth what many did for him. Tyren began his service to his community volunteers with his local Boys & Girls Club and Scout Troop. Faced with many challenges in life, especially during his middle school years, Tyren always found himself willing to volunteer within his community. Growing up in a single-parent household, Tyren credits his fortunate turnout of life to his mother’s ability to always “make ends meet,” relationships with mentors that kept him busy, and other afterschool activities.
Tyren currently serves as the Executive Director of the Chesterfield Education Foundation (CEF). Joining the CEF team in 2018, he is responsible for raising financial and community support for Chesterfield County Public Schools. Before joining CEF, Tyren had an extensive career with Higher Achievement Richmond and the Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Virginia.
Tyren graduated from Norfolk State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. He furthered his studies at the University of Richmond, Texas A&M University, and Capella University, where he earned a graduate degree in Liberal Arts, a graduate Certificate of Nonprofit Management, and a doctorate of education.
In his spare time, Tyren enjoys spending time with his wife and children, his puppy, and volunteering within his community. He currently services as the chair on the Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice, a member of the Chesterfield chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a member of the Board of Directors for Leadership Metro Richmond, TowneBank Chesterfield, and Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond.
Sarah French, CEFL
Director of Development, Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association
Eau Clair, WI
Sarah French, Director of Development for Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association at UW-Madison, is deeply passionate about supporting education. Having previously served as Executive Director for Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation for over six years, she is a Certified Education Foundation Leader, holds a master of arts degree in educational leadership, and also serves on her school district’s Learning Environments and Partnerships (LEAP) and Climate committees.
Jodi K. Gillette
Executive Director, Lynchburg City Schools Education Foundation
Jodi Gillette was born in New York, raised in Massachusetts, and moved to Lynchburg, VA with her husband, Michael, in 1990. She is a graduate of Tufts University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Jodi worked in the field of engineering upon college graduation until deciding to stay at home to raise her two daughters. During those years, Jodi became involved in a number of volunteer organizations, primarily in the areas of education, community events, and downtown revitalization. When her children got older, Jodi returned to the work force as the Executive Director of the Virginia Downtown Development Association, a statewide downtown revitalization organization. After many years of volunteer commitment to the Lynchburg City Schools, Jodi now serves as the Executive Director of the Lynchburg City Schools Education Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 1985 that serves to support the students, teachers and administrators of the Lynchburg City Schools. Jodi has been the executive director since January, 2010. She currently serves on the state board of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and is the immediate past chair of Lynchburg’s local chapter. She has a new granddaughter and enjoys hiking, gardening, traveling, knitting, and time with her collie, Sophie.
Executive Director, Dorchester Two Educational Foundation
Ralph lived in 5 states and at 15 addresses before his 15th birthday. He says this was useful as he naturally values relationships over possessions and is comfortable working with new and diverse groups of people. Ralph started working in Public Education while still a student at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. Over the next 19 years he dedicated his career to service in Public Education, including more than 10 as a Community Education Director at high-poverty schools North Charleston, SC. In his current role as Executive Director of Dorchester Two Educational Foundation, Ralph oversees a young Foundation that supports the 6th lowest (of 80) per-pupil funded district in SC. Dorchester School District Two currently serves twenty-five thousand students and is experiencing rapid growth. Ralph is an experienced trainer and public speaker, being a guest presenter at the SC Recreation and Parks Association State Conference for 5 years. He is known for his ability to create impactful partnerships. His collaboration with the City of North Charleston was featured in the SCRPA Magazine as the cover photo and featured article highlighting successful partnerships throughout the state. The partnership has funneled more than $500k each year for the past 8 years to directly support afterschool and cultural arts programs in high-poverty schools.
Ralph married his college sweetheart, Lara, who works in Public Education as a Modern Learning Specialist. They have two children (Hathaway – 6, Riv – 2) who love to attend Foundation events and be the spokespersons promoting the value of supporting teachers and students.
Executive Director, Boise Public Schools Education Foundation
Jennifer Henderson is the Executive Director of the Boise Public Schools Foundation. With a focus on the strategic alignment between Foundation and District student goals, Jennifer raises and directs more than $3 million annually and manages $7 million in endowment funds that support students, teachers, classrooms and schools across the Boise School District. Over her 12 years at the BPSEF, Jennifer has raised more than $25 million for Boise Schools.
Under Jennifer’s leadership, the Boise Public Schools Foundation has provided support for initiatives such as Community Schools, Pre-K, Arts, Athletics and Activities, Advanced Placement, Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID), and Career and Technical instruction.
President, Yorkville Educational Foundation
Alicia Lingane has served the Yorkville, Illinois community as an inaugural member of the Yorkville
Educational Foundation (YEF) since 2016. A year after YEF’s establishment, she was elected to serve as
president of the all-volunteer board, a position she has held ever since. During her tenure with YEF, the
foundation has experienced incredible growth in both support and programming, raising hundreds of
thousands of dollars for the district’s more than 6,400 K-12 students and 900 employees. Alicia uses her professional expertise in project management, market research, and data analysis to ensure YEF
initiatives are researched, aligned to strategic goals, and prioritized, while helping to strengthen support and funding for YEF through strategic partnerships.
Todd Orner, CEFL
Director/President, Gettysburg Area Education Foundation
Mr. Orner is the Executive Director of the Gettysburg Area Education Foundation in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Prior to becoming the Executive Director, he served on the foundation’s Board of Directors. Mr. Orner earned his Certified Education Foundation Leader designation in 2021.
Mr. Orner was born and raised in Gettysburg, graduating from Gettysburg Area High School and from California University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications. He served as an elected member of the Gettysburg Area School District Board of Directors for 12 years, including six years as president.
Denise Root, CEFL
Executive Director, Cedar Hill ISD Education Foundation
Cedar Hill, TX
Foundation in 2010. CHEF, a nonprofit organization that supports the scholars and teachers in the Cedar Hill ISD, partners with the District by raising funds to support projects and initiatives for which tax dollars cannot be expended; such as classroom projects, senior scholarships, and funding for valuable learning tools.
Denise’s 36 years of nonprofit experience began with the Effie Marie and Wofford Cain Foundation where she managed $30 million in cash investments. Following that she moved into the educational arena where she filled various professional roles over a period of 17 years with Northwood University. This included managing the university’s two national signature recognition programs, Distinguished Women and Outstanding Business Leaders. These two programs recognized and honored men and women who were outstanding leaders in their industries.
Denise is a founding member of the Northwood University Alumni Association’s North Texas Chapter where she also served as president in 2003-2004. For all her efforts in working with alumni and her professional accomplishment, she received the University’s highest honor for alumni, the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award.
Her nonprofit experience also includes serving as the Director of Alumni for the School of Management for the University of Texas at Dallas where she worked to create alumni affinity programs and increase alumni volunteer involvement and giving. She was responsible for creating a Distinguished Alumni Awards Program for the School of Management.
Denise earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Northwood University. She is a Certified Education Foundation Leader (CEFL) which she earned through the National School Foundation Association and National University. She also holds a Fund Development Certification from the Center for Nonprofit Management and is a member of the Leadership Southwest Class of 2008, and Leadership Texas Class of 2012. She currently serves as the President-Elect and New Generations Chair of the Rotary Club of Cedar Hill.
Denise has served in many leadership roles in the nonprofit arena and remains actively involved with several professional organizations that support education and nonprofits. They include the National Association of Education Foundations, the Texas Education Foundation Network, the North Texas Education Foundation Network, the Texas School Public Relations Association, and the Center for Non-Profit Management.
Andrea Weisman Summers
Executive Director, Foundation for Portland Public Schools
Andrea Weisman Summers is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Portland Public Schools in Portland, Maine. She started her career as a teacher, teaching elementary school for 10 years in Maine, Costa Rica, and Peru. She also worked as a bilingual accredited representative at an immigration legal aid clinic in Portland for many years. Prior to her job at FPPS, Andrea worked at the Great Schools Partnership as the Co-director of Coaching and as a community engagement and public school improvement coach in school districts around the U.S. Andrea has a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology from Brown University and a master's degree in education from the University of Southern Maine.
I was once asked to say a few words at the start of a golf tournament benefitting the local education foundation I led. In a conversation just before that moment, I shared with a business leader how the tournament proceeds would provide classroom grants. His response: “I don’t know what that means. What is a classroom grant?”
Inspiration struck! I asked the golfers to imagine that, as they enjoyed their day, they came up with an idea to improve outcomes for their business. Then, when they shared that idea with their boss the next day, they got this response: “Great idea! How are you going to pay for it?”
Florida’s local education foundations have been investing in the great ideas of educators and the future of our students for more than 35 years. With a member foundation in nearly every countywide school district, our network now raises more than $83 million annually to innovate learning and power potential through locally driven grant, scholarship and direct-service initiatives.
Our momentum grew during the pandemic with creative solutions implemented from coast to coast. Science kits were sent home to keep kids engaged in hands-on learning. College tours were conducted using virtual reality headsets. Volunteer mentors, reading support and FAFSA assistance went online. School supplies and even fresh produce from school gardens were delivered through drive-through events. Programs to address the digital divide were quickly developed and implemented.
Now with the return of face-to-face learning, our work takes on greater urgency. We need to re-engage students who became disengaged. We need to retain and provide leadership opportunities for strong teachers. I see evidence we’re doing just that.
Students returning to elementary schools in one district were greeted with vending machines where they can earn the privilege of selecting a book to keep. A teacher fellowship program developed by one Florida education foundation is being replicated by colleagues in another district. Education foundations have stepped up support throughout the state to help high school students return their focus to attainment of a post-secondary degree or credential.
Our state legislative leaders see the value of our mission of engaging communities to close opportunities gaps in our diverse state with locally driven solutions. This year alone they increased support for our School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program by 20%, to $6 million. We’re grateful that business and philanthropic partners support our efforts to build the capacity and effectiveness of Florida’s local education foundations.
Throughout our state, students are having learning experiences every day that are made better by the work we do. Together, we are making sure those great ideas are funded and implemented. Together, we are difference-makers for Florida’s future.
About the Author
As the ultimate champion for these locally driven nonprofits, Mary strives to elevate the impact of individual member education foundations through providing a collegial community for ongoing learning, shared resources and support. Since assuming the leadership role in 2008, she has successfully advocated for and facilitated more than $46 million in the nation’s only 1:1 incentive for private-sector investment in classroom innovation through the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program. She also serves as the intermediary in several strategic partnerships with corporations and philanthropic organizations, matching the interests of national and statewide funders to facilitate high impact, locally driven programs in school districts throughout Florida.
Before assuming the CEO role for the Consortium, Mary was active as a volunteer leader in the organization while serving as executive director of a Consortium member education foundation for ten years -- the Education Foundation of Alachua County. In that role, she elevated the organization’s Take Stock in Children incentive scholarship and mentoring program for at-risk students while also diversifying the scope of work for the education foundation significantly by increasing annual revenue from $100,000 to $1.2 million and engaging several new partners.