Kumeyaay Elementary School Foundation

Each month, we feature exceptional foundation members and highlight one activity or initiative funded by the Foundation. We hope that by getting to know who we are and what we do, you too will be inspired to share your time and talents with our school community.

Featured Activity: Fine Artists Program

Perhaps the most visually stunning program funded by the Foundation is Kumeyaay’s Fine Artists Program. This is because every student gets to create and take home six works of art inspired by some of the most celebrated and iconic great masters of art, past and present. The program is led by creator and local artist Kathleen Kane-Murrell. Each year, Kathleen designs grade-appropriate lessons that utilize a variety of techniques while showcasing a famous artist. Students have completed lessons inspired by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Georgia O’Keeffe, to name a few modern masters. Not to be left out, students also learn about and gain inspiration from classic masters like Vincent Van Gogh and Albrecht Dürer, among many others. Artwork from our students is frequently featured at local art shows, signifying the high quality being produced by our student-artists. And, every student displays a work of art in our own art show, held each spring. Foundation funds support our artist-in-residence, Kathleen, plus pay for all art supplies—paper, glue sticks, acrylic paint, water colors, brushes, pastels, canvases, and more. It takes dozens of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars to fund approximately 3,000 individual pieces of student artwork each academic year.

 

Featured Foundation Members

Name: Christina Arias (2 years of service)

Foundation Service: Co-chair for Spring Fling Wine Bottles, Raffle and Program committees; grant writing.

Proudest Activity or Accomplishment: Planning for the 2017 Spring Fling is what I am most proud of to date.  I’ve been assisting on 3 committees and am looking forward to a successful and fun fundraising event.  This has been a great learning opportunity that will help me take on a more prominent leadership role for future event planning. It’s also a great way to meet and connect with other Kumeyaay parents.

Motivation to Participate in Foundation: I think the programs funded by the Foundation are top-notch, highly useful and educational, but most importantly meaningful for the kids.  Elementary education should be more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic—curriculum needs to be supplemented by hands-on subjects that kids find interesting, memorable, and maybe even life-changing.  In my mind, this return we get from the money and time we donate to the Foundation is an incredible bargain.

Skills I Bring to the Foundation: My job as a state regulator requires me to be prolific at technical writing.  I hope to contribute to the Foundation by writing successful grant applications so that Kumeyaay remains competitive in this arena.

What I Want Fellow Kumeyaay Parents to Know About the Foundation: I think it is easy for parents to fall into the trap of taking the Foundation’s efforts for granted.  The Foundation raises money and is able to function purely based on time that busy parents volunteer.  The more hands there are, the less burden the tasks present to the committee and program chairs.  I’m slowly learning the ropes of the Foundation’s many tasks, and feel that anything I can provide helps with the team effort.  I invite all parents to learn more about the Foundation and how just small contributions make a big impact.

 

Name: Andrew Crossan (3 years of service)

Foundation Service: Foundation’s website developer and administrator

Proudest Activity or Accomplishment: Building a website that can successfully facilitate event ticket sales like the Spring Fling and the Teacher Auction.

Motivation to Participate in Foundation: I’m happy to be able to have a skill that I can use to help the Foundation achieve its goals and one that everyone seems to appreciate!

Skills I Bring to the Foundation: Professionally, my company builds and maintains websites for a lot of companies, government organizations and not-for-profits. Much of the work we do there is very similar to what I provide for the Foundation.

What I Want Fellow Kumeyaay Parents to Know About the Foundation: Good work with good people for good kids. It’s an organization that appreciates all the help it can get.

Name: Denise Sautter (6 years of service)

Foundation Service: Spring Fling Bar/Refreshment Chair; Treasurer; Executive Board Member

Proudest Activity or Accomplishment: I had the pleasure of taking over as Treasurer during the 2015-2016 school year when the Foundation and the PTA merged. To be honest, it was a little overwhelming at first because with that merge came new responsibilities and an unfamiliar budget for the Foundation to take on. In the end, we worked through those challenges together and had a very successful school year, which is why it is so meaningful to me today.

Motivation to Participate in Foundation: My kids, all the kids and the parents at Kumeyaay drive me to do the work I do for the Foundation. It is so rewarding to see how excited the kids get when they have science class, music class, or an art lesson that day. And, the parents! The friendships I have formed by being involved in the Foundation are truly amazing and I am so lucky to be working alongside so many talented men and women.

Skills I Bring to the Foundation: I am a Registered Dietitian, the daughter of an educator and I also played Water Polo at an early age through college, which have all taught me the importance of hard work, dedication, and teamwork. I incorporate these values into the work I do for the Foundation every day.

What I Want Fellow Kumeyaay Parents to Know About the Foundation: The Foundation meetings are open for all parents at Kumeyaay to attend. Attending a meeting does not obligate you to volunteer, but it does inform you. It is important for parents to come just to understand how much work and money it takes to keep all the programs running for the benefit of the kids and staff at Kumeyaay. We are lucky to have these great opportunities for our children to learn and grow, but can only continue to do so with the help and support from each and every one of us!

Name: Jennie Stern (4 years of service)

Foundation Service: Fine Artists Program; Yearbook Committee

Proudest Activity or Accomplishment: The Fine Artists Annual Art Show is an event that showcases over 500 art pieces—one piece of art is displayed for each student. We show student art because it demonstrates that students have varying talents even beyond academics. It inspires others to create and the students feel a sense of pride in their creation.

Motivation to Participate in Foundation: My child has often told me how great her school is because she has science, music and the art programs. Supporting the Foundation and contributing my time makes a real difference in my child and all the students at Kumeyaay. And hopefully, it will encourage all the students to give back and grow up to become civic-minded citizens.

Skills I Bring to the Foundation: I worked in the healthcare profession for 20 years, prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom. I have a genuine passion to help others which has translated well into volunteering my service to the school and giving back to the community.

What I Want Fellow Kumeyaay Parents to Know About the Foundation: No matter how small or insignificant you feel your contribution is, it is very much appreciated. Maybe you are a very busy parent with quite a few kids and schedules to figure out, with lots of people competing for your attention and time. Even if all you can manage is to contribute an hour or two a month this still makes a meaningful difference. You may not think that; however, the teachers, Foundation members, and other parents will think that you are a rock star! Every volunteer minute counts. If you are able to help out on some evening or weekend, even virtually through email or any other manner that is convenient to you, it will make a positive impact.

Kumeyaay Elementary School Foundation

Each month, we feature exceptional foundation members and highlight one activity or initiative funded by the Foundation. We hope that by getting to know who we are and what we do, you too will be inspired to share your time and talents with our school community.

Featured Activity: Spring Fling Fundraiser

The Spring Fling Fundraiser is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Foundation. With the support of a generous community and local businesses, we put together an event that’s fun with dinner, dancing and entertainment. The main purpose of this event, however, is to raise much-needed funds to support our science, music and art programs at Kumeyaay. The Spring Fling has a Live and Silent Auction component—parents, teachers, staff, and the community are invited to attend and bid! It takes an enormous amount of work and dozens of volunteers to put together an event of this size and scope. We invite all parents to join our efforts and help us continue to improve this important activity!

Name: My Thanh Kim (4 years of service)

Foundation Service: School Garden Coordinator, co-Founder of the Garden Club

Proudest Activity or Accomplishment:  I am most proud of how well our volunteers have come together to build an incredible garden, community, and garden program.  It is meaningful to me because we overcame many challenges to create something beautiful that is bringing much joy and valuable learning experiences to our kids. 

Motivation to Participate in Foundation: What drives me is knowing that what I am doing is having a positive impact on our kids and our community. As I was trying to get my own kids to eat healthy, I realized that they would eat the fruits and veggies that we grew ourselves. I made it my goal to have every kid at Kumeyaay involved in growing and eating of vegetables.  It makes me happy every time I see a kid enjoy a veggie freshly picked from our school garden.

Skills I Bring to the Foundation: Biochemistry was my major in college. I was a K-8 teacher, and I am a UCCE Master Gardener.   My experience and passion for growing healthy food, my addiction to tinkering and experimentation, my sense of responsibility for planet stewardship, and my love to teach make the school garden a perfect lab/classroom.

What I Want Fellow Kumeyaay Parents to Know About the Foundation: The volunteers on the Foundation work extremely hard to provide extraordinary experiences for every child at Kumeyaay by raising funds to pay for science, art, music, gardening and more.

Featured Foundation Members

Name: Sherry Schnell (5 years of service)

Foundation Service: I am particularly interested in advocating for our students at the district level. I participate in the School Site Council (SSC) and have participated in Serra Cluster Meetings and the San Diego Unified Cluster Congress.

Motivation to Participate in Foundation: I believe that public education is the most important part of a successful democracy. We need citizens that are critical thinkers, creative and kind. I received an excellent public school education, but the State of California and San Diego Unified does not provide our school site with the resources we need to give a similar education to our kids. The work that the Foundation does in fundraising is critical to provide basic resources for our kids.

Skills I Bring to the Foundation: Public speaking, advocacy, civic engagement. Please advocate for educational funding at the state level. California is in the vanguard of many important issues - climate action, human rights, etc. -- but we are woefully behind in educational funding. If we don't fix that, we will no longer have the best inventors and critical thinkers coming from our state. Check out the Educate our State website for a great advocacy group to work with.

What I Want Fellow Kumeyaay Parents to Know About the Foundation:  Public education in the State of California is woefully underfunded. Without the support of the Foundation, our students would not have critical educational resources. Please donate your time and money to this important work. And get involved at the district level. Local Control is supposed to mean that school districts and schools develop their own accountability plans (LCAP), which set student outcomes and spending. San Diego Unified does this at the district level. San Diego Unified is a HUGE bureaucracy, so in our district, decisions aren't really local. Our school site gets very little local control funding and so we have fewer resources than other schools in the district. Not one San Diego Unified Board member is a parent of a student attending San Diego Unified. We need more parent involvement.

Name: Lisa Weiss (2 years of service)

Foundation Service: Logo Wear chair; Fine Artists Program

Proudest Activity or Accomplishment: Right now I am in charge of selling Logo Wear and I also teach art lessons through the Fine Artists program. I am in training to co-chair the Fine Artists program. I am proud of teaching Fine Artists. I love that the Foundation can support the art program for our kids. I think it is an important part of a well-rounded education for our kids. 

Motivation to Participate in Foundation:  I just want to help out in any way that I can. I know that it takes a community to help educate our kids and I enjoy being part of that community. 

Skills I Bring to the Foundation: I am a Doctor of Optometry with a background in visual function in learning. I also have a Masters of Education. I think this is why I enjoy working directly with the kids, teaching art lessons for the Fine Artists program, and volunteering in the classroom.  And selling School Spirit is fun too!

What I Want Fellow Kumeyaay Parents to Know About the Foundation: It is important for other parents to understand how much work it takes to keep so many programs running for the benefit of all of the kids at Kumeyaay. I had no idea. And while I know that not everyone has the ability to volunteer and attend meetings, the more people that can volunteer or donate or help out in any way the more we can accomplish together for our kids and their future at our school.

Kumeyaay Elementary School Foundation

Each month, we feature exceptional foundation members and highlight one activity or initiative funded by the Foundation. We hope that by getting to know who we are and what we do, you too will be inspired to share your time and talents with our school community.

Kumeyaay Elementary School Foundation
Each month, we feature exceptional foundation members and highlight one activity or initiative funded by the Foundation.