Lynne Finney, J.D., M.S.W., is an award-winning author of four books and retired attorney, law professor, psychotherapist, Chief Counsel to a U.S. Senator, appointee in President Carter’s Administration, diplomat, U.S. Delegate to U.N. D. P. in Geneva, talk show host and guest, among many incarnations in this lifetime – and still traveled, skied and played in the mountains. Thirty years ago, she helped establish and was the first executive director of one of the first U.S. education foundations which raised millions of dollars for the Park City, Utah School District and is still going strong. Board Member October, 2015 - June, 2017
Suzanne Mann-Heintz serves as president of the Siuslaw Education Foundation. She is a retired teacher and child advocate. Suzanne and her husband, James, have lived in Florence for eighteen years and enjoy the many wonderful things Florence has to offer. She volunteers for a variety of local organizations including the Siuslaw School Board. Suzanne is painfully aware of how state allocation of funds has not kept up with educational costs. She can’t wait to boost the budget with foundation funds and enrich the lives of all our students. Children are the salt of the earth and the hope of the future.
Rachel I. Pearson serves as Vice-President for the organization. She has lived in Florence, Oregon since 1993, where she and her husband Paul raised their two sons, Sam and Blair. Both sons were educated from Kindergarten through 12th grade in Siuslaw Schools 97 district (2009 and 2011 graduates).
Pearson has a long history of volunteerism focused on education: Siuslaw Cross Country, and track and field, church youth groups, school levies, Lane Community College, and the Florence Community PTA. In 2010 she was named the first ever School Volunteer of the Year by the 97J District. Her ongoing volunteer activities include the Winter Music Festival Kids Concerts, Seacoast Entertainment Association, and as the Siuslaw School Bands Volunteer Coordinator.
Jodi O’Mara, Elementary Principal and Superintendent for Mapleton School District began her teaching career in 1991 teaching second grade in Roseburg, Oregon. She spent 5 years in the Roseburg School District teaching second grade, a third/fourth grade blended classroom, fifth grade and a first/second blended classroom respectively. She then moved to Florence, Oregon in 1996 and taught sixth grade at Siuslaw Middle School for nine years, before completing her teaching career as a second grade at teacher at Siuslaw Elementary School for two years.
In 2007 Jodi became an Assistant Principal in the Coos Bay School District for one year, becoming the Principal of Blossom Gulch Elementary School in 2008. She spent four more years in Coos Bay before becoming the Elementary Principal and Superintendent in Mapleton, Oregon.
Jodi is completing her twenty-fifth year in education this year. She and her husband, a Siuslaw High School Social Studies Teacher and Varsity Softball Coach, have lived in the Florence area for twenty years and are proud to call Florence home.
Jodi has a great passion for students and the importance of providing an equitable education for all!
Jeanne Shannon is a native Californian who moved to Florence in 2010. She has many years of experience volunteering as an advocate for children's causes. For over a decade she delivered media literacy presentations to educators, parents, and children to teach them to deconstruct and analyze powerful media messages. For more than 10 years she was a member of the Child Abuse Prevention Council, educating parents, teachers and volunteers about child abuse identification and mandated reporting laws. She is currently a member of the West Lane County 90X30 Team, a group of volunteers working in collaboration with the University of Oregon project to reduce child abuse in Lane County by 90% by the year 2030. During her business career she has been a corporate trainer in the high-tech industry and, most recently, a grant writer for PeaceHealth in Oregon. She is delighted to serve on the board of the Siuslaw Education Foundation. She looks forward to fundraising for the Siuslaw and Mapleton school districts.
Deena Mitchell is a long-time resident of Florence. She and her husband, Jim, have raised four children, who have attended Siuslaw schools from kindergarten through their senior years. She is passionate about children and their education. Deena served on the school board for eight years, on several superintendent selection committees, district budget committees, and volunteered hundreds of hours in the school district: tutoring, mentoring, fundraising, and organizing functions. She has served the ASPIRE program for eight years helping high school students with scholarships, applications, and plans for college. Jim and Deena have owned a local business for 25 years where she manages the finances, and runs children’s programs which include fitness, gymnastics, and swim classes. She has had the opportunity to teach several thousand students. Deena is committed to serving the youth in our community and sees the Siuslaw Education Foundation as an important facet in helping enhance the education of our children.
Vevie McPherran, board secretary, currently works at the City of Florence Planning Department. As a representative of the Mapleton schools, Vevie is deeply concerned with the welfare of children challenged by living in poverty. She knows that education is the key to a better life. In the past, she has worked in the schools with children who have learning disabilities. Vevie and her husband, John, have property near Walton and enjoy the “farm” life and their lovely pastoral home.
Margie Cruz, board treasurer, is a retired chemist and pharmaceuticals regulator. Her life now includes lots of hiking, biking, and pickle ball. She is a certified spiritual mentor. This summer Margie welcomed her first grandchild! She has always had a passion for child advocacy and brings this to her service at Siuslaw Education Foundation.
Andy Grzeskowiak is Superintendent of the Siuslaw School District. Andy has a 22 -year history with the Siuslaw School District, having served as teacher, athletic director, and administrator prior to assuming his current position in July, 2016. Andy attends as many Viking sports events as he can and is renowned as a computer whiz.
Ethel Angal recently retired from her position as Superintendent of the Siuslaw School District. She served as an educator for 37 years in teaching and administrative capacities. She is now learning how to be retired. She and her husband, Steve, enjoy RVing and visiting kids and grandkids whenever they can.
Susan Peavey is a retired art teacher. She and her spouse, Leann, moved to Florence after retirement to breathe in the ocean air and comb the beaches. Susan is a master face painter. You may have seen her work on young faces on the boardwalk throughout the summer. When she can’t get outdoors, Susan does crafts and graphic arts. Susan utilizes her curriculum experience to design lessons for Becky Holbrook's elementary art program at Siuslaw Elementary School. She also designed the SEF logo! Board Member October, 2015 - June, 2017
Board of Directors
Board Members Emeritus
Siuslaw Education Foundation Bylaws make provisions for charter board members to become Board Members Emeritus for the rest of their lives. Here we honor those precious people.
John Raymonda joined the board in December, 2017. John is a retired physicist and the father of Patrick Rowley, a junior at Siuslaw High School. We are delighted to welcome John and look forward to his ideas!
Michelle Rose was a founding member of the Siuslaw Education Foundation. She served on the School Board prior to her service for SEF. She and her husband Mike are the paraents of two daughters who attend schools in Florence. Michelle is an active school volunteer. Michelle and her youngest daughter designed our first website! Board Member October, 2015 - June, 2016