Board and Staff
If you are passionate about the school district and would like to use your talent to help students achieve lifelong success, we invite you to volunteer for a board position. Please contact the Foundation office if you would like to talk with someone about your interest.
Board of Trustees
CEO, Batts Group
Board Vice Chairperson
Director - Grand Rapids Public Museum Board
Trustee - Grand Rapids Public Museum Foundation
Director - Grand Valley University Foundation
Director - The Batts Foundation
My family and I moved back to West Michigan in 2003 primarily because of the excellent reputation of the Forest Hills Public Schools. There is so much to be proud of in this community and I want to do whatever I can to continue the tradition of excellence.
I initially became involved as a member of the Fine Arts Center Foundation beginning in 2006 and was an early proponent of merging with the Educational Foundation to help provide a self-sustaining endowment fund. This will allow special arts and educational programs to continue under the limited budget our school system now has.
I have three children, one of which is at Forest Hills Northern.
Superintendent, Forest Hills Public Schools
Our schools and our community are focused on a common aim of doing what is best for children. Throughout the history of our school district, our community and our staff have given their time, their talents, and their treasure to ensure that each child has what she or he needs to unlock their unique and limitless potential. I value the Foundation as a means to bring creative, unique and out of the box programs to our students. When I came to the district as Superintendent in 2006, I was and remain committed to doing what is best for our children. This means providing each and every child with the very best education possible.
Partner, Argus Financial Consultants
A strong public school system is a critical component of a strong community. It has become clear that we cannot rely on the state to provide sufficient resources to maintain our standard of excellent education. As a parent of three children, I believe that education is critical to their success in life. I joined the board because I believe in a strong relationship between the Forest Hills school district and the community of families it serves.
Principal, Northern Trails 5/6
2000 Michigan American Legion Teacher of the Year
2001 FHPS Teacher of the Year
2002 Michigan's Teacher of the Year
2003 NASA International Space Camp
2004 Michigan State University Distinguished Alumni
I began my teaching career in 1994 at Forest Hills Central Middle School, where I taught history and social studies. I set high standards for all of my students and was relentless in efforts to engage them by making history tangible and meaningful. While serving as the teacher on loan to the Michigan Department of Education, I represented all of Michigan's teachers. Through my advocacy for the teacher’s voice, I was able to earn a seat on the State Board of Education, which is now occupied each year by the Michigan Teacher of the Year. I enjoy volunteering at the Frederik Meijer Gardens as part of their Education Committee and am also a doctoral candidate at Western Michigan University in K-12 School Administration. My husband and I have an elementary son in the district, and I am a proud Northern graduate. I am eager to work with the children, staff and families of Northern Trails each and every day.
Trustee and Officer, Forest Hills Board of Education (1979-1983)
Co-Founder and Trustee, Forest Hills Educational Foundation (1983-1994)
Founder and Member, Forest Hills Cultural Arts Committee (1976-present)
Trustee, Forest Hills Fine Arts Center Foundation (2002-2011)
In 1983, Charlie Anderson and I, both former presidents of the Forest Hills Board of Education, were asked by the administration to co-found an educational foundation – a relatively new concept in public K-12 education at the time. Its purpose was to provide funding for educational enrichment not covered by the school budget.
Since that time, the Foundation has given more than $900,000 in grants, offering expanded curriculum and innovative programs for our students and staff, including subject-related materials and creative activities, technological equipment and training, life skills and staff development. In 2000, voters in Forest Hills approved a bond issue to build an incredible new community resource, the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center (FAC). Prior to the FAC’s opening, a foundation was formed to raise funds for an endowment for the center’s operating expenses. We have raised more than $1.2 million for this purpose.
In public education it is imperative that we meet the needs of students of all ability levels and career goals, challenging creativity and expecting excellence in both academics and the arts. With the current reality of massively decreased state funding for our schools, it is more important than ever that we expand the scope of our fund raising activities. To accomplish this with the greatest efficiency, our two boards have united to form the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation.
As a parent of two Forest Hills graduates and grandparent of two current students, it is a particular privilege to continue my involvement in promoting quality education in Forest Hills as a member of the board of this new entity.
Grand Valley State University
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation
Forest Hills not only strives to provide the best education for our children, but gives strong attention to individual student needs. The district’s commitment to being the finest K-12 school system in Michigan will benefit our community for generations to come. We have been fortunate to have both of our children not only attend, but thrive in the Forest Hills Public Schools. Our daughter, Sammi, was a pioneer member of the Spanish Immersion program and graduated FHN in 2012. Our son, Nate, was a junior at FHE when he passed away in September 2012. As parents, families and community members, it is our collective responsibility to assist our students and educators, providing the necessary financial support to enable our district to flourish.
Our schools should provide children with the best opportunity to learn and grow. They deserve nothing less. Investing in our schools and helping students to realize their full potential are things that everyone in the community should be passionate about. The strong reputation of Forest Hills Public Schools has been built by individuals who have served with a common goal of providing the best education possible for students in the district. I serve the Foundation and the district with that shared goal in mind for the benefit of our families, educators, and most importantly, students in Forest Hills.
Immediate Past Chairperson
I believe that when it comes to community involvement in a school district, the impact of the whole is much greater than the impact of individual parts. My children attend school in the district, and I know that all parents share my desire for their children to receive the best possible education. The Foundation has the momentum and the reach to make a lasting impact on the quality of education in our district.
Community members within the boundaries of the Forest Hills school district always have been uniquely involved in Forest Hills schools. In 1956 area families recognized the need for a local high school and supported the consolidation of 13 small districts into one district: Forest Hills Public Schools. The first Forest Hills High School quickly was built on the current Central site. Since that time the district has grown to include 18 schools serving over 10,000 students, and routinely ranks among the top five districts in the state in standardized testing proficiencies.
This incredible student/staff success is due to many factors, but at its heart is the endless community support that founded our school district and continues to enrich our schools through classroom volunteers, PTOs, booster organizations, business partnerships, non-profit collaboration, financial contributions, continuous election support since 1984, and Foundation gifts and events.
The newly merged and renamed Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation offers all residents and Forest Hills friends many opportunities to continue this tradition of community involvement and support, and to assure the continued excellence that best serves our students, community and the world beyond.
I was employed by FHPS in 1985 as Assistant to the Superintendent for Coordination of District Communication, then as Executive Director of Community Services, and became Assistant Superintendent for Community Services in 2006. I retired in June 2010 and appreciate this opportunity for continued district support through volunteer work with the new foundation. Our three daughters graduated from FHC, and my two resident grandchildren will enter FHPS kindergarten in 2014 and 2016.
Walter Perschbacher IV
Realtor, Greenridge Realty
The most important gift we can give to our children is a quality education. That gift relies on the willingness of the community to invest and re-invest in our school district. I attended Forest Hills Central, and I now live in the district. I am committed to helping Forest Hills remain one of the premier public school districts in the state. My involvement with the Foundation is one positive step in that direction.
Director, Deloitte Tax LLP
Member - American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Member - Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Member - Michigan Institute of Certified Public Accountants
I have always been an active member of the community in which I live. When I moved to MIchigan in 2006, I became involved with the Foundation to better understand the challenges facing our district. We as a community are responsible for the education of our children. The Foundation is an invaluable asset that provides teachers with the tools they need to help our students excel.
Eighteen years ago when I moved to Grand Rapids, I was looking for a place to purchase a home and was attracted to the Forest Hills area because of the quality school system. Over that time, state funding has decreased dramatically. By being part of the Foundation, I see this as an opportunity to work with the community to help ease the financial burdens placed upon this district. I have two children in the district and I want the best for them and for all Forest Hills students and staff members.
Board of Education Liaison
“It takes a village,” and Forest Hills is fortunate to have in its Foundation a group of community members dedicated to education and cognizant of not only the financial challenges we face but the incredible opportunities available to our children. The work they have undertaken and accomplished in my three short years as liaison has been remarkable. I value the opportunity to work with our Foundation and encourage all in our community to utilize their time, talent and treasure to support their efforts. Your investment will serve countless generations of Forest Hills students.
Education is a critical factor in the success of our young people--which ultimately impacts our community and our country. My experience with Forest Hills has been both personal and professional. My husband, Jim, and I have four children who have gone through Forest Hills Public Schools. I also was a staff member (as Coordinator of Volunteer Partnerships from 1989 to 2001) which allowed me to work with its wonderful young people, staff and administrators. I know first-hand about the quality of education that goes on in our district.
As I hear from my former students and talk with my children and their friends, who are Forest Hills graduates, I am in awe of the amazing, interesting, inspiring work they are doing...some are corporate executives or entrepreneurs; some have chosen to focus on their children and are doing essential work as volunteers; some have chosen to stay in Grand Rapids and others are in far off places like Hong Kong and Europe. But no matter where they are and what they are doing, Forest Hills has played a major role in charting their path as adults. Forest Hills graduates can and do compete successfully with the world’s best and brightest. This is the story we can tell...to maintain its excellence we need to support our district beyond the taxes we pay. Sharing that story is why I have agreed to serve on the Foundation Board.
Director of Philanthropy
I am very excited to join the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation. I am passionate about Forest Hills Public Schools and have an extensive background in fund development, non-profit management, and event planning. In my new role as Director of Philanthropy, I will be responsible for increasing the awareness of the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation and its mission, “to provide funding for all areas of academic excellence in Forest Hills Public Schools”. I will work toward establishing a cohesive, district-wide fund development plan including working with all of the various support organizations in the district such as PTOs and Boosters. In addition, I will be working to increase our endowment through the creation of a fund development strategy. I look forward to my role in continuing the Foundation’s work to make Forest Hills Public Schools a “Destination District” by igniting passion for learning in students.
My husband and I moved into the Forest Hills Public School district in 2003 because of the excellent reputation of the schools. Our two children now attend schools within the district. As a parent, I know the importance of quality education and value the district’s tradition of excellence and desire for innovation. I’m excited for this new opportunity and truly understand the importance of the work that lies ahead!
Deanna's picture and bio are coming soon!
Jennifer Moss Hawkins
Mary Ellen Rodgers
Candace Hinshaw and Jeannine Leslie
Greg Ford and Brian Sandberg
Karen Lott and Kathy White
2012 Gala Committee
Renee Fisk and Meg George
Please click here to view a list of our former board members.
Our mission is to provide funding for all areas of academic excellence in Forest Hills Public Schools.
June 12, 2013
26th Annual Charlie Anderson Memorial Golf Outing
November 7, 2013
Please go to our Events page for more information.
The Foundation has launched an Ambassador Program to assist with educating the community on the mission of the Foundation. Stay tuned for more to come about this new and exciting program!
Our new STAR Program (Staff, Teacher, Appreciation & Recognition) will recognize any district employee when you make a donation in their honor.
Learn about how your donation is used to ignite passion for learning with these creative and progressive educational programs.
Walter Perschbacher, Chairperson
Michael Batts, Vice Chairperson
Karen Lott, Secretary
Matt Smith, Treasurer
Dan Behm, FHPS Superintendent
Jeannine Leslie, Past Chairperson
Sue Gutierrez, District Liaison
Mary Vonck, Board of Education Liaison
Jana Siminski, Director of Philanthropy
Deanna Wynn, Foundation Coordinator