Peoria Public Schools Foundation | Peoria, Illinois

Foundation Heroes

We recognize that we can’t do this without people like YOU, so we’ve decided to celebrate those who have truly gone above to make Peoria Public Schools a better place.

Each month we find the newest HERO, and award their achievements. Check out the newest members here.

May, 2024

Lynette Fernandes

Professor of Interactive Media, Bradley University

We are so grateful to our May PPS Foundation Hero, Lynette Fernandes, for all the support she has given with our career exploration programs. Lynette has been instrumental in aligning career speakers majoring in game design with volunteer opportunities sharing careers with PPS students. She has also volunteered her time by sharing her career with students both in person and virtually on multiple dates. Lynette spearheaded the Making the Grade volunteer supports for Sterling Middle School, a program that aligns community leaders with students in a mentoring role. Thank you Lynette for all you do for the students in Peoria Public Schools.

March, 2024

Lynne Fehr

Wraparound Center Staff

Lynne works at the Wraparound Center and advocates for many children and families. She supports the PPS Foundation events, giving and being a positive advocate for our work. We absolutely love Lynne, and she has been amazing to work with.

February, 2024

Josh Collins

PPS Director of Transportation

As an administrator and leader, Josh always goes above and beyond making sure all the complex moving parts of getting students to and home from school, and field experiences are implemented. He always steps up to be supportive of the Foundation and our work. Congratulations Josh. We appreciate you!

January, 2024

Kathy Cobb

Snack Pack Coordinator

Kathy is a member of the Glen Oak Christian Church. She is the coordinator of the Snack Pack program, among other volunteer programs at the church. Kathy has been a major supporter of the Foundation over the years, and she goes above and beyond to improve the lives of the students and their families. We are honored to award Kathy Cobb as a PPS Foundation Hero of the Month.

December, 2023

Peoria Riverfront Museum

The Peoria Riverfront Museum is truly a wonderful community partner. Their Every Student Initiative ensures our students visit the museum annually at no cost to them. They support our foundation's mission with both in-kind and financial contributions, by attending our events, and volunteering for our programs. We appreciate their support so much.

November, 2023

PPS Education Board

The PPS Board of Education members are true heroes. They dedicate their time and energy for five years (or in some cases longer) in a volunteer capacity, contributing numerous hours and dedication to our public schools. Thank you so much for your commitment and service!

October, 2023

Carla Eman

Budget and Compliance Director

Carla has been a long-time employee of Peoria Public Schools and has worked with the PPS Foundation as our secondary checking account signer since 2010. Carla's commitment to the PPS Foundation extends beyond her official role though. She's been an incredible supporter and volunteer, always ready to assist with any questions or administrative needs. Working with Carla has been truly great over the years. She may not seek the limelight, but her unwavering loyalty and dedication to Peoria Public Schools is the reason she is our October Hero of the Month. Congratulations Carla, and we wish you all the best as you approach your well-deserved retirement!

September, 2023

Carethia Hamner

School Crossing Guard

Ms. Hamner truly stands out in her vital role as a school crossing guard. Each day, rain or shine, she goes above and beyond to ensure our students arrive and leave school safely. Ms. Hamner's dedication and commitment to the safety of our children is truly appreciated. We extend our sincere gratitude to her and all of our incredible crossing guards who work diligently to keep our students safe on their journeys to and from school. Thank you so much for your work!

Past Heroes

August 2022 - May 2023

May 2023 – Rick Pantages, Master Gardener

April 2023 – Sharonda Buckner, school counselor at Glen Oak Community Learning Center

March 2023 – Tagwana Webster, Climate Transformation Project Director for Peoria Public Schools

February 2023 – Holly Nelson, Teacher & Coach at Manual High School

January 2023 – Kim Getz, Teacher at Manual High School

November 2022 – Darlene Violet, Founding Member of Shared Blessings Peoria

October 2022 – Casey Ahmad, School Counselor at Sterling Middle School

September 2022 – Sarah Fletcher, Director of Grants & Community Initiatives, Community Foundation of Central Illinois

August 2022 – Shelly Craycraft, Richwoods High School Librarian & Roundtable Advisor

May 2022 – Jessica Oberholtzer, family school liaison at Harold B. Dawson Jr. Middle School

April 2022 – everyone at the PPS Accountability & Research Department

March 2022 – Michelle Seipel, PPS Director of Technology

February 2022 – Michael Brix, construction instructor at Woodruff Career & Technical Center

January 2022 – Connie Graves, library manager at Von Steuben Middle School

December 2021 – Lyndsay Griepentrog, Starbucks District Manager Central Illinois North

November 2021 – Dave Meyer, PPS Director of Buildings & Grounds

October 2021 – Janet Ham, past president of Whittier Primary School PTO

September 2021 – Andrew Muir, CEO of Muir Omni Graphics

August 2021 – Matt Fogelmark, PPS Print Shop at Roy Ricketts Center

May 2021 – Geri Hammer, PPS Director of Employee Services

April 2021 – Dr. Thom Simpson, retired PPS administrator

March 2021 – Shar’Ron Ford, front desk gatekeeper at Manual High School

February 2021 – Mike Illuzi, principal of Lincoln k-8 School

January 2021 – No Foundation Hero this month

December 2020 – Pam Wiley, food pantry director at the Wraparound Center

November 2020 – Dr. Susan Grzanich, PPS Innovations & Grants Officer and Director of Woodruff Career & Technical Center

October 2020 – Brittany Duffield, licensed realtor & property manager at Junction City

September 2020 – Stacy Hardin, owner of The Book Rack Used Books & Gifts

August 2020 – Alex O’Shaughnessy, Richwoods High School graduate

July 2020 – Elise Scheil, Hy-Vee on Sheridan Store Director

June 2020 – Michael Murphy, PPS Board of Education member

May 2020 – No Foundation Hero this month

April 2020 – No Foundation Hero this month

March 2020 – Barbara Pierce, PPS Communications Specialist

February 2020 – Tracy Jones, PPS Executive Administrative Assistant

January 2020 – Jitske (Jetty) Miedema-Fox, Head of Culinary Program at Wooodruff Career & Technical Center

December 2019 – Alex Romero, PPS Administration Building Daytime Custodian

November 2019 – Naomi Armstrong – Administrative Assistant at Roy Rickets Center

October 2019 – Mary Newman-Evans, English teacher & CEAT (Community Engagement Action Team) Leader at Manual High School

September 2019 – Lillian Bishop, PPS Transportation Specialist

August 2019 – Stan Hangen, Family & Community Liasion at Manual High School