Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation

The Foundation is a non-profit foundation that enhances public education and strengthens the student learning experience within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD). Each year, Excellence in Education partners with local businesses and the community to raise money and provide over $250,000 in classroom grants, resources, and partnerships to benefit students and teachers in a school district that encompasses 12 schools in a geographic area of 720 square miles.

We award grants to teachers in the TTUSD through an application process, partner with the school district on key initiatives that are designed to have high impact on student learning, and recognize exceptional teachers and classified staff through the Linda Brown Fellows and Star Award programs.

The Foundation is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors and Advisory Board of more than 40 community members with a broad range of experience, representing all geographic areas of the community.


The Excellence in Education Board of Directors represents businesses, schools, community leaders and parents. If you are interested in serving on the board or a committee, please contact our staff.

  • Bill Austin, CFO
  • Kari Chalstrom
  • Katja Dahl
  • Elena Deluna, Vice President
  • Cindy Flores, President
  • Erin Flynn
  • Nancy Gisko 
  • Jerusha Hall 
  • Lee Phillips Hansen
  • Jenna Hilton
  • Jooly Hopkins
  • Nathan Kendall
  • Lisa Laliotis
  • Haakon Lang-Ree
  • Susie Overall
  • Kirsten Pekarek, Past President 
  • Shelly Purdy
  • Karen Roske
  • Karsten Swenson
  • Lauren Tapia
  • Kelli Twomey
  • Lauren Van Loon, Treasurer
  • Barbara Wilkinson

Advisory Board

  • Linda Brown
  • Jan Ganong
  • Ed McGargill
  • Michael Graham
  • Cindy Gustafson
  • Roger Kahn
  • Bob McClintock
  • Donna Morgan
  • Scott Ryan

Benefactor Board 2018 - 2019

  • Homewood Ski Area
  • Northstar California
  • Resort at Squaw Creek
  • Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows
  • Tahoe Mountain Club
  • Tahoe Donner Association 

Of Counsel

  • Michael Graham

TTUSD Liaison

  • Robert Leri



Building an Endowment Fund has been a priority of the Foundation since inception, and was created with the intention of stabilizing the organization and providing interest that could be used to award future grants. In 1990, Excellence in Education Foundation board members made a commitment to set aside a portion of annual fundraising revenues to grow an Endowment to $1.5 million.

Under the leadership of past President, Scott Ryan, the Endowment House was built at Northstar, largely with the donation of materials, labor, and money, realizing over $600,000 to the Endowment.

Despite fluctuations in the economy, the Foundation met its $1.5 million goal in 2005 and has continued to grow its Endowment while also gifting up to 3.25% of the three-year trailing average investment balance. The Endowment Fund is currently held at the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and has grown to over $2.5 million.


Excellence in Education is the lead organization for this Collective Impact Model where TTUSD and several community organizations are working together to improve grade level reading proficiency in our community.

As a result of our collective commitment to this campaign, Tahoe-Truckee received the 2012 All-America City Award from the National Civic League based on our ambitious plan to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

Each year, 2013 - 2018, the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading recognized Tahoe Truckee as a Pacesetter Community for making measurable progress toward our goals. For more information, visit www.TahoeTruckeeReads.org.