Board Members

CUSF Leadership Operating Board, 2021-22

Officers

Matt Kelly

Mr. Matt Kelly, Chair

“I serve on the CUSF board to bring the community labor force voice to the public school system. I hope to encourage young people to believe that even if their school career has not been typical, there are many valuable and fulfilling careers available in this area that will provide a wonderful life.”

Matt grew up in the Champaign schools, and was named to the News Gazette’s 2018 Class of 40 under 40 outstanding community business leaders. He is a strong labor advocate and has served as the President of Champaign County AFL-CIO since 2014. Matt Kelly currently serves as the Business Manager/Financial Secretary of Local 149 Plumbers and Pipefitters. Before becoming business manager, Matt worked as a plumber/pipefitter for the University of Illinois.

Gayle Jeffries

Ms. Gayle Jeffries, Vice-Chair

“I am an advocate of the public schools system. I think that it is important that we support our educational system during these challenging times.”

Gayle Jeffries recently retired from Urbana School District 116, after serving as a classroom teacher, principal and administrator. She is a long-time member of Theta Lambda Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., where she is involved in service projects to the local community. Theta Lambda Zeta raises scholarship funds for women in Champaign County who demonstrate hardship for attending college. In addition, they mentor students and children, adopt a school annually, and support a family in need during the holidays.

Dennis Donaldson

Mr. Dennis Donaldson, Treasurer

“As a past student in the public schools, I understand the importance of the public school system within the community and I am aware of the funding deficiencies that occur from time to time. I feel that service to the community, in any capacity, plays an important role in the growth and success of that community. Whether you are employed and provide services to others, or volunteer your time, we all need to realize our potential to make a difference and have an impact.”

Dennis Donaldson is currently the Treasurer for the Village of Savoy. He served as their Director of Planning & Economic Development from May of 2013 until August of 2018, after spending the previous 26 years with Busey Bank.

Daniel Thies

Mr. Daniel Thies, Secretary

“As Edmund Burke reminds us, ‘to be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind.’ In our democracy, these ‘little platoons’ have often been prominently associated with our local schools, reminding us that community education is the key to cultivating the civic pride, patriotism, and other ‘public affections’ that make democracy possible. This mission is increasingly urgent today, and I’m delighted to be a part of it in some small way through the CU Schools Foundation.”

Daniel Thies is a graduate of Champaign Central High School, and has ancestors who have lived in the county since the early 1830s. After beginning his legal career in Chicago, Daniel has returned to Champaign with his wife Page to raise their four children in one of the best communities in the country. Daniel is an attorney at Webber & Thies, PC, a Champaign-Urbana law firm founded by his great-grandfather.

Steve Beckett

Mr. J. Steven Beckett, Past Chair

“I am a lifelong Urbana guy, who also lived a number of years in Champaign. Public schools are a heart of the community. I am a proud graduate of UHS and feel that CUSF gives me an opportunity to repay all the men and women who were there for me in Urbana Schools.”

J. Steven Beckett is a criminal defense lawyer, but he likes to think of himself as a community person. He has practiced law in Champaign-Urbana since 1973 and appeared in the United States Supreme Court on two occasions. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and served on the faculty there from 1987-2017.

Directors

Elizabeth Angelo

Dr. Elizabeth Angelo

“As a graduate of Champaign public schools, and a parent of current students, I am passionate about our schools being a place of opportunity and growth for all learners. I’m excited to partner with teachers, families, administrators, and community members through the work of CUSF.”

A graduate of Champaign Central High School, Elizabeth serves as Chief Nursing Officer and Sr. Vice President for Carle Health. Elizabeth’s nursing career includes experience in medical-surgical patient care, nursing education, quality, clinical outcomes, and nursing leadership positions. Elizabeth previously served as System Vice President of Quality for Carle. She completed her BSN at University of Illinois-Chicago, MSN at Indiana Wesleyan, and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at University of Missouri-Columbia.

Michelle Gonzales

Ms. Michelle Gonzales

“As a former teacher in the Unit 4 School District, I have been both a beneficiary and a witness to what CUSF does to support our future generation and those who impact their lives. The CUSF grant recipients (teachers) have provided students across our community with enriching experiences that last a lifetime. Public education is the foundation for more young people than ever before and especially in these trying times, I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to our districts’ endeavors.”

Michelle Gonzales works in Public Engagement for the Chancellor’s Office at the University of Illinois. Prior to this position, she was a third-grade teacher in Champaign’s Unit 4 for twelve years, then went on to be the Chief of Staff for State Senator Scott Bennett. Through her involvement with various professional and volunteer groups, she has learned a great deal about what makes Champaign-Urbana the resource rich community that it is. Having worked as a teacher, she hopes to provide valuable insight to support the CUSF work with both districts. She is thrilled to join the board, and looks forward to continuing her trajectory of giving back to this wonderful place she calls home.

Pam Lau

Dr. Pam Lau

“Quality public education is core to the well-being of our community as a whole as well as the families and students who call Champaign-Urbana home. The work of CUSF in supporting our school districts dovetails with the mission of Parkland College to engage the community in learning. As a CUSF board member, I will support the work of our area schools in educating students, helping them realize their potential, and preparing them for college and careers.”

Pam Lau is currently the Executive Vice President at Parkland College. She has served at Parkland College since 1995 in various roles ranging from faculty to Vice President for Academic Services/Chief Academic Officer. She completed her B.A. at the University of Singapore, M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Chicago, and Ed.D in Community College Leadership at Ferris State University.

Eric Minor

Mr. Eric Minor

“Public schools are a key and historical part of living in Champaign-Urbana. These great schools have been a part of educating and developing the children of this community with many of them going on to being leaders in this same community.”

Eric Minor is the first and current Chief Marketing Officer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he leads campus-wide efforts to tell the UIUC story of excellence in research, teaching, public engagement and economic development. Prior to this role, he worked in various marketing posts at companies including The Libman Company, SC Johnson, HJ Heinz, and Pepsico.

Evangeline Pianfetti

Dr. Evangeline Pianfetti

“I serve on the board to make a meaningful impact in our community through our public schools – to help provide opportunities for our future leaders.”

Evangeline S. Pianfetti is the Outreach Associate for Grants and Fellowships for University of Illinois Extension, Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center (EPECC). She’s worked at the University of Illinois for more than 20 years in a variety of administrative roles related to the impact of technologies and digital media in learning environments and looking at applied sciences for supporting teachers and students across the lifespan. Evangeline was the Professional Development Coordinator for the Illinois Shared Learning Environment for the Illinois State Board of Education for the Race to the Top grant. In addition, she is a Smithsonian Laureate for classroom innovation in technology and was elected to the Champaign City Council in 2017.

Andrea Ruedi

Ms. Andrea Ruedi

“Being active in economic development for our community, I know the importance that our area’s education systems have in attracting companies and employees to our area. The role of CUSF is critical in enhancing our area schools and our community. As a CUSF board member, I especially enjoy the exposure to the amazing teachers and administrators we have in our schools and witnessing the impact they are having on young lives.”

Andrea Ruedi is currently Senior Advisor for Integrated Strategic Development for the City of Urbana, IL. She is leading the City’s initiative to update the City’s comprehensive plan. Previously, Andrea was President and CEO of Fox Development Corporation, the managing member of Fox/Atkins Development, LLC, which is the developer of the University of Illinois Research Park. Andrea actively recruited Fortune 500 and high-tech firms to the Research Park. Andrea holds B.S. Degrees in Business Administration and Sociology from MacMurray College and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Prue Runkle

Ms. Prudence Runkle

“There is nothing as remarkable as public education.  All children coming together, learning new concepts and about each other in a common environment.  It is the effort of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation to add to the journey of learning and provide experiences & materials that enable students to fully embrace these educational opportunities. As a former educator, the CUSF grants I received provided access to a variety of materials that helped me close the gaps and build concepts for all my students.  Today I am honored to serve on the CUSF Board, and continue my investment in our teachers and students.”

Prudence Runkle is a retired Unit 4 Kindergarten teacher. She was the Kindergarten Grade Level Chair for several years and the PTA President at her sons’ elementary school (BTW). She wrote curriculum in the areas of science, social studies, and the performing arts. For three summers she was the Aquatics Coordinator for the Champaign Park District. Enthusiastic about community enrichment, Prue was a founding member of the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company and produced many of the company’s shows. She also directed theatre productions at Central High School.

DeShawn Williams

Mr. DeShawn Williams

“My wife and I are raising two amazing children here in CU and it’s important to us that we are a part of decisions that directly impact the development of their learning. CU Schools Foundation directly represents the mission within our household and I feel as though it’s a great opportunity to reflect that care to our community.”

DeShawn has worked in a variety of banking and investment positions since 2006 including most recently as Assistant Vice President at Busey Bank. In 2021 he was appointed to serve as the Chief Deputy Treasurer for Champaign County. DeShawn is the founder of BlackVest Money, a financial literacy and personal development small business, and Wolf’s Mane Beard Care. He has volunteered on numerous boards including Macon County CASA and 40 North, a local arts and culture non-profit.

Sheila Boozer

Dr. Shelia Boozer, Superintendent, Champaign Unit 4 Schools

“I am honored to be joining the Champaign Unit 4 School District. As a life-long Central Illinois resident and educator, I am committed to the leadership and collaboration of ensuring that Unit 4 is a premier school district that provides high quality, equitable education for each and every one of our students.”

Dr. Boozer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and an Elementary Education certification from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She also received her Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Eastern Illinois University, and an Ed.S Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Most recently she completed her research on Restorative Practices and its impact on racial inequities in prek-12 schools to earn her Doctorate at Illinois State.

Jennifer Ivory-Tatum

Dr. Jennifer Ivory-Tatum, Superintendent, Urbana District 116

“A public-school education helps us prepare students for the real world, for college, a career or a skill. We provide students diverse opportunities to learn 21st Century skills in a multicultural environment. We are pleased to have a strong partnership supporting our teachers and students with CUSF.”

Superintendent Jennifer Ivory-Tatum began her career at Urbana School District #116 in 2005 as principal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, and then advanced to her position as Urbana School District #116’s Deputy Superintendent in 2013. In 2017, she transitioned into her role as Assistant Superintendent for Champaign Unit 4. After two years, Superintendent Ivory-Tatum returned to Urbana School District #116 to assume the role of the district’s Superintendent in May 2019. Superintendent Ivory-Tatum is continuing her transformative work with Urbana School District #116, including the 6th-12th grade restorative practice initiatives she first introduced to the district during her appointment as Deputy Superintendent.

Past CU Schools Foundation Board Chairs

Download PDF