FORWARD Board Members

Elaine Baumann, Vice Chair
Retired RFSD Principal

Natalie BentzEx-officio
RFHS Student


Jamie BensonEx-officio
RFSD Superintendent


Russ Blasius
WESTconsin Credit Union


Gary CampbellEx-officio
RFSD School Counselor


Grace Coggio, Marketing Chair

UWRF Faculty


Lorraine Davis
Retired RFSD Educator

Karen Fenske

Community Leader


Matt FitzgeraldWeb Director

UWRF Info. Systems

Annemie Fosler

Community Leader

Ellen Fredrich

Community Leader


Olivia Frommeuller
RFHS Student


Melissa Godden, President
First National Bank, RFHS Graduate


Bob Gustofson

Retired RFSD Teacher


Cindy Haskins, Concert Event Chair
Community Leader, RFHS Graduate

John Howe

Jill Jaeckel
State Farm 
Kristin Jepson

Samantha Jensen

River Falls State Bank/RFSD Graduate


DeAn Krey, External Grant Writer

Retired Professor of Teacher Education, UWRF


Emily Lyon-Hansen
Retired RFSD Teacher


Jen Mueller, Secretary

Community Leader


Mike Noreen, Membership Chair

River Falls Municipal Utilities


Diane Odeen

Odeen Law, Ltd., RF City Council

Bridget Schaefer, Treasurer
First National Bank
Community Leader

Jaci Zimmerman, Fund Distribution Chair
Community Leader

Jen Zoller, Past President

Project Manager, 3M

Past President Jen Zoller Honored

FORWARD Board President Jen Zoller and board member DeAn Krey attended the 3M award ceremony honoring Zoller and 14 other 3M employees. Zoller was recognized for her leadership and dedication to FORWARD's mission of supporting excellence and innovation in public education in River Falls.

ST. PAUL (September 20, 2012) – 3M honored Jen Zoller, resident of the Town of Troy, as one of 25 individuals nationwide to receive the 3M Community Volunteer Award. This award is given to fifteen dedicated 3M employees and ten retirees who are devoted to improving and enriching their local communities. Jen Zoller was awarded for her work as President of FORWARD: The River Falls Public Schools Education Foundation. The 3M Foundation will donate $1,000 to FORWARD Foundation as well as acknowledged her accomplishments with a local celebration at 3M Center. 

“Many thousands of hours are donated by 3M employees and retirees each year. We value the opportunity to salute those among us who share their time and talent to make a difference in our communities,” said Kimberly Price, Vice President, 3M Community Affairs. “The 3M Community Volunteer Award allows us to thank those outstanding volunteers who go above and beyond for others.”

In addition to the $1,000 donation, the 3M Volunteer Match program will donate $250 to a nonprofit organization at which the recipient volunteers. This program matches 3M employees’ minimum 20 volunteer hours and retirees’ 25 volunteer hours, in a calendar year, with a $250 3M Foundation grant to the qualifying nonprofit organization where they volunteer.

Interested in joining the FORWARD Board?
We are always looking for imaginative community members who are passionate about helping to improve student education in our public schools. Please connect with a Board member on this page, or email to inquire.

About Forward

Strong public schools are an investment in our community and our future in River Falls.  Today's third grader is tomorrow’s entrepreneur, family doctor or future employee.

In 2009, the River Falls community wrote an ambitious Strategic Plan for the School District of River Falls that included the creation of a private foundation to support public education in our city. FORWARD: The River Falls Public Schools Education Foundation was created to support excellence and innovation in our River Falls Public Schools.

The River Falls Public Schools have traditionally been some of the very best schools in our state and region. With the pressures of budget-cutting combined with the higher expectations of our global environment, the FORWARD Foundation will help make sure that this distinction remains true.

FORWARD: The River Falls Public Schools Education Foundation is a completely private foundation composed of community members who value River Falls and public education. The FORWARD Foundation raises private funds from alumni, parents, and the community, and 100% of every gift to FORWARD stays in River Falls.

These gifts support excellence and promote initiatives that are beyond the River Falls School District’s core budget. Some examples may include funding for robotics team projects, character education, equipment for environmental education projects, digital microscopes or other technologies to enhance & excite learning. 

These grant projects can be described as demonstration or pilot projects to prove out new ideas, curriculum and technologies prior to broader implementation by the district or building.  Grants provide an opportunity for staff to identify & show measurable results on creative teaching techniques & tools.

FORWARD has three major strategic goals

  1. To raise $100,000 annually to build a long term investment endowment while sustaining an annual grant cycle of approximately $20,000. 
  2. To manage the foundation with a volunteer board make-up from the community that assures new ideas and skills, but also provides for the continuation of our mission long into the future. 
  3. To promote the work of the FORWARD Foundation in the broader community of River Falls including businesses, individuals, the district, and its alumni.