SCHOOL CHOICE WISCONSIN BOARD

Bob DeKoch
Bob DeKochPresident, Limitless, A Leadership Consultancy| Chair
Bob has over 4 decades of experience across major market sectors: the construction services industry and real estate development business, the pulp and paper industry, the beverage industry and the chemical industry. He has served on boards of significant US organizations -profit and non-profit – including a major international corporation.

Bob is the past president of The Boldt Company, a major US construction services and real estate company. Over a 20-year period, Bob and his leadership team grew Boldt’s revenue by 3x to a $1 BN platform – all through organic growth. Over this same period, shareholder value grew by 2.5x. He led a national expansion of Boldt’s brand position, thru market sector and geographic growth.

Prior to this role, Bob spent 20 years in management and leadership positions in the pulp and paper industry. During that time, he led technical operations and new product development. He was the start-up executive and cochairman of the board of New North, a regional economic development organization, focused on attracting and retaining companies and jobs to an 18-county region in Northeastern Wisconsin.

His passion for leadership and collaboration brought together corporate leaders, public-sector leaders and government leaders to increase business activity in the region. Bob is currently the President of his own consulting firm, Limitless, A Leadership Consultancy.

Bob is co-author of two leadership books: Embracing Uncertainty: The Essence of Leadership (M.E Sharp), and Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers (Sage Publications)

Bob has a liberal arts undergraduate degree from Lawrence University and holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He also was recognized with an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh for his work in economic development.

Richard Laabs
Richard LaabsFounding CEO, Lutheran Urban Mission Initiative, Inc. (Retired) | Treasurer
Dick is a faith-based leader, entrepreneur and active volunteer who has served in CEO, COO, CFO, independent director and ownership positions. He recently retired as the founding CEO of LUMIN Schools, a network of urban Lutheran schools serving low income families in southeast Wisconsin and northern Indiana. Other industry experience includes banking, private equity, manufacturing, service and nonprofit. He has led several new business formations, leveraged buy-outs and corporate divestitures; and is skilled at strategic planning, financial management and business turnarounds.

Dick currently maintains a portfolio of for-profit and faith-based nonprofit clients, providing them with a variety of fee-based and volunteer services including board membership, executive coaching and business consulting.

Susan Mitchell
Susan MitchellSchool Choice Wisconsin Founder | Secretary
Susan Mitchell is fortunate to have worked with so many friends and allies during the past three decades to advance parental choice.

Hired in1993 by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), Mitchell helped organize a broad coalition of parents, educators, business executives, and other community leaders to expand parental choice. With strong support from Governor Tommy Thompson and legislative champions, the coalition advocated successfully for ground-breaking reform and then helped defend the gains from legal and regulatory challenges.

Mitchell subsequently directed the American Education Reform Foundation (AERF) and the American Education Reform Council (AERC) under the leadership of Bill Oberndorf and John Walton. The two nonprofits assisted advocates in selected states to develop sound policy, organize coalitions, and execute legislative strategy. In 2004, Mitchell stepped down to found School Choice Wisconsin to defend gains in Milwaukee and prepare to expand statewide. She currently chairs the SCW board.

Mitchell’s passion for parental choice grew from her work with her husband George in the Mitchell Company Inc. which specialized in public policy research, project management, and strategic planning. He has remained a valued partner and strategist throughout her work.

Mitchell also has held various executive positions in business and government, including service as Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance. She is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Mitchell graduated with honors from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wl, with a major in French and minors in philosophy, religion, and art history. She holds a master’s degree from University of Wisconsin School of Journalism. The Mitchells live in Arizona and spend summers on their boat in Wisconsin.

Andrew Neumann, Ph.D.
Andrew Neumann, Ph.D.Executive Chair & CEO, Open Sky Education
Andrew is an educational entrepreneur driven to ensure all children in America have access to excellent learning opportunities which maximize their potential to fulfill Greater Purpose and live flourishing lives.

Committed to this mission, he began his career as a teacher serving students at the high school and college levels while finishing his Ph.D. in educational mathematics. In 2006, he joined Educational Enterprises and serves its Executive Chair/CEO working to support the team to advance its mission nationally by growing its school networks (HOPE Christian Schools and EAGLE public charter schools), Christian wraparound programs (Compass Educational Programs), and the Character Formation Project. In 2016, Educational Enterprises changed its name to Open Sky Education.

Heather Weininger
Heather WeiningerExecutive Director, Wisconsin Right To Life
Heather has served as Wisconsin Right to Life’s Executive Director since July 2014. During this time, she has led the team at Wisconsin Right to Life to expand reaching a target audience in changing hearts and minds to favor life.

Important accomplishments that have happened during Heather’s tenure include: taking the Veritas Society program from TV to the digital realm to reach women in abortion facilities and college campuses with a message of hope and an opportunity for life for their unborn child; leading the charge in ensuring unborn babies who are capable of feeling pain during an abortion are protected in the womb; as well as expanded the grant program for Life on Campus to ensure more people hear the message of life while going to college.

Heather began her career working on Capitol Hill for former Congressman Mark Green. After returning home to Wisconsin to get married, she worked on the Bush-Cheney ’04 re-election campaign, followed by serving as the Finance Director to a Congressional Campaign, and assisted with state-wide candidates and state legislative campaigns. Her background also includes training candidates to run for local, state-wide and national offices. Heather and her husband, Chad, are also small business owners.

During Heather’s time on Capitol Hill she handled right-to-life issues while the pro-life movement was working on the passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban in Congress. It was here where she truly began to understand the work on the legislative level as well as in the grassroots movement to educate the public on life.

Heather began her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and earned her BA in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She is married to Chad, and they have three daughters and one son.

Cate Zeuske
Cate ZeuskeFormer Secretary of Revenue, State Treasurer, and State Representative
Cate Zeuske began her career in public office at age 23, when she was elected to the State Legislature for 4 terms, until she was elected statewide as State Treasurer. Cate was appointed by Governor Thompson and served as the Secretary of the State Department of Revenue. Cate joined a national non-profit organization and served as the director of administration. Cate was appointed by Governor Walker to serve as the Deputy Secretary for the State Department of Administration until she retired.

Cate currently serves on the Wisconsin School Choice board; the Wisconsin State Historical Society Board of Curators and the UW-Green Bay Board of Trustees.

A native of Shawano and graduate of UW-Madison. Cate resides in Green Bay with her husband former State Assembly Speaker, John Gard. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Jim Kitzinger
Jim KitzingerCo-Founder, KLCM Advisors
Jim Kitzinger is a co-founder of KLCM Advisors, an investment management firm in Wisconsin.

He is a CFA and CPA with forty years of experience on the Wisconsin financial scene and is regarded as one of the top money managers in the state. He began his career in investment analysis and portfolio management at First Wisconsin Bank and Trust Co. in Milwaukee in 1988 until co-founding KLCM Advisors Registered Investment Advisory Firm in 1993. He serves today as CEO and Chief Investment Officer at the firm.

James currently holds an advisory board position at Brass Ring Capital and is a board member and investor for Milwaukee Forge. He has also been a board member for Coastal States Bank, a trustee at St. Mary’s Church in Port Washington, and board chair for St. Thomas More High School, where he graduated in 1975.

Jason Fields
Jason FieldsPresident and CEO, MadREP
Jason Fields is currently the President/Chief Executive Officer of Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadRep). MadREP works for a comprehensive regional approach to economic development and serves as a partner to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and other state agencies.

Jason also was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly where he served from 2004 to 2011 and was a courageous and passionate advocate for parental choice.

Jason also has worked as a stockbroker, financial advisor, and banker, and is a certified financial education instructor. He is the founder of The Financial Promise Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that teaches personal financial & business literacy and the founder and managing director of Dark Knight Capital Ventures.

He also has written six books, four of which focus on financial topics for beginners, and hosts a weekly radio show.

Tammy Olivas
Tammy OlivasDirector of Outreach, Hispanics for School Choice
Tammy Olivas has served as the Outreach Director for Hispanics for School Choice (HFSC) since October 2011. With an extensive background in marketing and community outreach, Tammy has impacted the lives of thousands of families and students across the state. She has developed numerous outreach campaigns though various media and assisted many families directly.

Tammy also has been active with the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship program and Mexican Fiesta, volunteering her time for the past seven years. She believes that education is the single most unifying issue of the various Hispanic communities throughout Wisconsin. In her experience, Hispanic families overwhelmingly support parent choice in all its forms – private schools, charter schools and virtual education.

Jean Kacanek
Jean Kacanekformer administrator, Tamarack Waldorf School
Jean Kacanek’s professional life includes a wide range of leadership positions culminating with her 15 years of service as Tamarack Waldorf School’s administrator.

Jean graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and earned her Bachelor and Master of Music with distinction in music education from the University of Michigan. She spent seven years teaching band, choir and general music in grades 1-8 in Michigan and Kansas. After moving to Wisconsin she taught private studio lessons (piano and clarinet) and simultaneously became the director of a new community arts program, Project CREATE, at Carroll University. The program grew, serving over 1,000 students in three locations in the greater metro area. Jean also served as an adjunct professor in the music department. In 1999, Jean became administrator for the Prairie Hill Waldorf School in Delafield/Pewaukee, and after four years, spent the next 15 years in the same position at Tamarack Waldorf School, an MPCP school, in Milwaukee.

Jean became interested in School Choice Wisconsin when she noted that they were tackling issues pertaining to the effects of Wisconsin legislation and Department of Public Instruction’s rules on voucher schools in Milwaukee. Jean has devoted her professional life to providing quality educational experiences for children in both traditional and alternative schools and programs. She has worked with School Choice advocates and representatives to help broaden the scope and quality of curriculum and expand opportunities for students in private schools.

In retirement, Jean is pleased to have the opportunity to continue to serve on the board of School Choice Wisconsin Action because of its crucial advocacy and consequential accomplishments for families throughout the state. She also volunteers in other organizations, performing chamber and orchestral music, reading, spending lots of time outdoors and traveling, most of these things with her best friend and husband, Hal.

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