The Partners In Education Foundation held its annual meeting and recognition dinner in honor of the foundation’s Presidents from 1989-2012 on Monday evening at the El Dorado Chop House.

The Partners In Education Foundation held its annual meeting and recognition dinner in honor of the foundation’s Presidents from 1989-2012 on Monday evening at the El Dorado Chop House.

Partners In Education is a 501(c)3 organization and was created in 1989 by a group of parents who believed quality of life is directly linked to the quality of education provided. Their first funding priority was the Grants to Schools Program. Through this program, students experience innovative ventures outside the core curriculum which otherwise could not be funded.

The past presidents who were honored were Linda Olson 1989-1992, Steve Woods 1992-94, Janice Woods 1994-96, Lou Clennan 1996-98, Scott Meyer 1998-2000, Roger Smith 2000-02, David Adams 2002-04, Dan Hill 2004-06, Vic Auer 2006-08, Carolyn Connell 2008-10, Kristy Randall 2010-12 and Cindy Koehler 2012-14.

Founder Barbara Dankert opened the meeting with the welcoming of guest and the introduction and recognition of past presidents.

Rod Blackburn followed with the recognition of the founders of PIE in Michele Banks, Eric Bird, Dave Callaway, Lou Clennan, Mary Kay Connell, Barbara Dankert, Steve Funk, Jan Jack, Janice Johns, Dr. Richard Kuhns, Jim McKay Jr., Linda Olsen, Janette Payne, Jan Prather, Clyde Waggy, L.U. West and Terry Wilson.

Blackburn reminded the guests in attendance of the mission of PIE, which is to provide resources to help enhance the quality of education in the El Dorado Public Schools.

They also work to support and stimulate innovation which fosters efforts to enhance the learning environment, encourage effective instruction, challenge students, support faculty and to nurture interaction between the schools and the community.

Blackburn showed the foundation has lived up to its mission in the fact since 1989, PIE donors have made an impact of more than $1.5 million in contributions.

Memorials have been established to honor former teachers and loved ones.

Volunteers fall into the ranks of teacher, administrator, student, citizen, business owner and parent.

The Foundation singled out and especially recognized former president and founder Lou Clennan with a colleague roast and gift of a crystal apple in recognition of her 24 years of service to Partners In Education. She retired from the Foundation this year.

“It’s an organization that has the kids and education at the forefront. One of the major purposes of PIE was that so many teachers will pull money at their own expense to pay for a program albeit a field trip or learning tool to enhance learning, and we as PIE wanted to step in and help fund that and support our local educators and students,” said Clennan.

Dennis Hanson, Kristi Kloeblen and Vic Auer each took turns sharing fun stories from their time spent working with Clennan. Each member had nothing but respect for her professionalism and devotion to PIE.

“A foundation cannot be a foundation without endowment funds. That was a goal early on, and it started with one foundation endowment fund at the beginning until now with 52. It has been a total team effort and to be able with people with the same goal to help our community has truly been a privilege,” said Clennan.

Annual PIE events include Exercise for Education in the spring and the 5K Run/1 Mile Walk in the fall.

“We just did what we needed to be done, I just tried to do what I was asked and help where I could. Being part of the Prize Patrol and being able to go into the classrooms and see the excitement in the teachers and students in helping them with our grants is truly satisfying and gratifying. When you believe in what you are doing, especially when it something worth doing in helping USD 490 and the community, it is truly satisfying,” said a humbled Clennan.

Annually, 50 to 60 teachers receive grants, and hundreds of students benefit through the resulting purchase of materials for curriculum enhancement. Scholarships to graduates and grants and awards to other students have increased the Foundation’s reach to include all levels of funding for USD 490 students.

The Partners in Education thanked El Dorado Chop House for providing the space and the dinner for their recognition ceremony.