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A building year for the education foundation

WL-WV Education Foundation adds new members, regroups under new president


New leaders, new members, new ideas and new energy. That sums up the status of the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year as it regroups following the resignations of seven board members, including its president, Kathryn Whittaker, whose terms expired at the end of June.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: KATE HOOTS - The foundation's board of directors meets at the district office on the third Wednesday of every month. Pictured here are, from left, back row: Jennie Hill, Jay Puppo, PJ Cogan. Middle row: Amanda Davidson, Ginger Nimz Jones, Kasey Saito, Patrick Minor. Front row: Alexia Halen, Kathe Monroe, Jeremiah Patterson, Dawn Murai, Peter McDougal. Originally established during the 1992-93 school year, the foundation has experienced differing levels of activity. Following years of heightened attention to school funding, the foundation went nearly dormant as school funding levels increased. In 2010, following school budget cuts statewide and in the district, the foundation was reinvigorated. Its main purpose, according to its website, is to support the school district by raising funds to pay for teaching positions. In the past three school years, the foundation has contributed a total of $415,000 to the district.

The foundation’s new president, Wilsonville resident Jay Puppo, sees the current school year as a time for the foundation to regroup, rebuild and refine its approach.

“This is our building year,” Puppo said. “It’s a huge opportunity to bring in new ideas and new energy. The folks who have come on in the last several months are some of the smartest and most creative I’ve ever worked with.”

Using a three-pronged strategy of “fun, events and participation,” Puppo said the board has set two long-term goals: to raise $1 million by July 2016 and to increase districtwide participation from its current high mark of 16 percent to 50 percent this school year. Puppo said the foundation will define participation as not only financial contributions but also attendance at foundation and partner-sponsored events.

“We want to build some strategic alliances, with principals, teachers, (parent groups), friends of the foundation, businesses,” he said.

Puppo is actively recruiting new members to the 25-person board too.

“We have eight open seats on the board, and I want to fill all of them. ... I tell people, if you want to have fun and help schools, join the board,” he said.

The goals are large, but Puppo thinks his team is up to the challenge.

“We’ve made great progress in a few short years. We believe we can do more. ... If we do our work right, right now, we can have a foundation that can rival (any) other.”

Foundation meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the West Linn-Wilsonville School District office, located at 22210 SW Stafford Road. For more information, visit the foundation’s website at wlwvfoundation.org.



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