Jane Diesing | Board Member
Beka Alter | Board Member
I come from the engineering industry with professional experience in several fields. These include, Naval Architecture and federal contracted programs, a renewable energy startup, a venture funded health testing platform company, and a company that develops and sells electronic controls for the transportation industry. I have held various management and leadership positions in each of these companies. I am eager to utilize my technical and strategic skills to help the CEF and Chelsea community in any capacity that I can.
I have a BSE in Mechanical Engineering and a BSE in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan. I hope to use my experience in grant writing, strategic leadership, and technical management to help CEF be successful.
I love being outside! My family and I do a lot of local hiking, biking, swimming and paddle boarding. We love camping and visiting as many National parks as we can! I am passionate about constantly learning new things and helping my two little girls learn along with me. Our current venture is raising 8 chickens at our home!
I am looking forward to engaging with the community in Chelsea and helping our schools and students grow!
Sarah Button | Secretary
I bring nearly 10 years of marketing, sponsorship, and event planning experience in higher education. I have a B.A. in Sports Management from the University of Michigan and an M. Ed. in Training and Development from Oakland University. I’ve worked for University of Michigan’s Recreational Sports department for the last seven years. My background as a former athlete and coach has instilled in me a growth mindset that I bring to all of my work. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching at Concordia University and the University of Michigan as an adjunct faculty member. My passion for education has made me a lifelong learner. It’s a joy to make learning possible (and fun!) for others!
I love spending time with my fiancé (Dave), dog (Riggs), and nine chickens. Since moving to Chelsea in 2019, we’ve grown to love the authentic, down-to-earth feel of this community! In my spare time, you can find me gardening, hiking, or out on the golf course.
I’m so impressed with what CEF has already accomplished. I’m honored to be able to join such a passionate, community-focused group of folks working to make opportunities possible for students and educators! I’m excited to make connections in the Chelsea community and to make an impact where it matters most!
Matt Ceo | Board Member
I have 13 years in education - 7 years teaching, 5 years as assistant Principal at Beach Middle School, and 1 year as Principal at Beach Middle School. I have my Bachelor's Degree from University of Michigan and my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia.
I am passionate about working with students! I'm also dedicated to the Chelsea School District and continuing to make it the best it can be.
As part of CEF, it gives me the opportunity to help Chelsea's bulldogs and teachers achieve their goals. My favorite CEF contribution has been the aid to dozens of children in order to attend the Washington D.C. trip!
John L Daly | Board Member
I spend five years in public practice with two of the big international CPA firms followed by 15 years as a Chief Financial Officer. I founded Executive Education, Inc. in 1998, building it to a company with seventeen professional speakers who have presented continuing professional education to corporation financial managers in 45 states and three countries.
I have a BS from Denison University in Granville, OH, and an MBA from the University of Michigan. I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and a Certified Production and Inventory Manager (CPIM).
My sons, James and Joseph are Chelsea High School graduates. James was a recipient of a CEF scholarship. I was assistant scoutmaster of Chelsea Boy Scout Troop 179 and my wife Nancy J. Daly is a board member of Material Girls. I enjoy canoeing, kayaking, hiking, downhill skiing and live theater, both as a performer and a patron. The Players in Detroit have produced eight one-act plays I have written. I am the author of Pricing for Profitability, published by John Wiley and Sons as well as a novel, Tool & Die. I recently completed editing my mother’s memoirs, Doctor Miriam.
Nicole Darby | Board Member
My entire career for more than eighteen years has been spent working in school finance for various school districts. I am the Chief Financial Officer for Chelsea School District. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Ferris State University, a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Central Michigan University, and an Ed Specialist Degree in K12 Leadership from Central Michigan University.
I love spending time with my fiancé and our two boys. Since moving to the area in 2022, we spend our weekends checking out local restaurants and events. Taking our boys to the movies is another one of our favorite hobbies, as well as traveling up North to visit family.
In my roll with CEF I love being able to see both sides of the work being completed by the foundation. As a board member we discuss how to make impactful decisions for funding, and as a school employee I get to see first hand how the decisions affect students and staff.
I am amazed at the many ways the Chelsea Education Foundation helps with scholarships, teacher grants, and other educational needs. I look forward to helping continue the work being done by the board.
Jane Diesing | Alumni Chair
I worked as a Medical Technologist at Sparrow Hospital for 8 years in Lansing. Upon moving to Chelsea, my sister, mom, and I became co-owners of The Village Shoppe of Chelsea and enjoyed eighteen years running a business in the community. I am now retired. During that time, I also served on the Chelsea Board of Education for twelve years and President for six years while we built Chelsea High School and Pierce Elementary. I was also on the Washtenaw Intermediate School District Board, the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Citizen Board, and the Chelsea Library building committee. My years on many boards have given me training in leadership, finances, team building, goal setting, fundraising, and many more skills to help work together for success.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a year of internship at Sparrow Hospital.
I love reading, knitting, and spending time with my family, especially my five grandchildren. We spend the summers at our cottage up north and I love my time on and by the water. I love working towards a better community especially through education. It is important to give our children the best educational experience we can to prepare them for their future.
I spent a year as the school board liaison to CEF just after Joe Piasecki had organized the initial group. He would be so proud of the growth and many accomplishments of the foundation. It has become the organization he envisioned. I am pleased to once again be a member of the board and hope to continue expanding the vision.
Amy Forehand | President
I have 20+ years of experience working in operations and human resource functions culminating in starting my own Consultancy in 2019. I worked for Consumers Energy for 16 years in a variety of strategic and operational capacities, including workforce programs to create sustainable cultural change and support talent development. I attended the University of Michigan and received a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.
My professional passion is fueled by my deep conviction that all employees can thrive when the right conditions are created. In 2019 I started The Forehand Company providing leadership coaching, employee engagement and culture transformation consulting. I focus on problem-solving, and bringing leaders and their organizations to new levels of success.
At CEF, I love that we have the ability to enable teachers to create amazing experiences for Chelsea’s children to learn and grow. So many of the grants that the Foundation funds create experiences that explore future passions and careers for the kids, enabling them to learn in ways that take them out of the traditional classroom. These conditions foster a love of learning and future passions, success enablers for life!
I am excited about the opportunity presented to CEF as we embark on strategic planning. We are setting new goals and paths forward that will strengthen the contribution to the Chelsea School District’s Students.
I enjoy downhill skiing in the winter, hiking and spending time on the water in the summer with my husband Jim and two boys, Sam and Nolan.
Frank Grohnert | Policy Chair
I have gained considerable experience helping others through my practice of law in Dexter for the last 39 years. I am a graduate of Chelsea High School, and got my Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Detroit in 1979. Thereafter, I went and earned my Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1982.
My passion is for the common good, and I hope to be a productive member of CEF. I want to see all who desire a quality education get one, whether that is pre-k, K-12, or adult education. I have followed the activities of CEF from the outside, and I am impressed with its accomplishments!
Katie Hepler | Vice President
I worked for more than 15 years in public relations and corporate communications at a major automaker before leaving the workforce several years ago to stay home with my three children. My work experience is in media relations, crisis management, message development, executive communications and reputation management.
I have been a board member for the Chelsea Elementary Parent Teacher Organization for three years and continue in that role currently.
I graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a B.A. Communications Studies and Psychology (dual major).
I love spending time with my family (husband Jason, children Will (12), Owen (10), Ryan (6) and our dog Roscoe, as well as with our extended family and friends. We love to travel, share adventures and be outdoors.
CEF makes such a positive impact in our community. Joining the board has given me even more appreciation for how CEF supports the work of our amazing school district. I am honored to serve with a group of such wonderful individuals who are so committed to doing positive, meaningful work in our community.
I recently participated in our current grant cycle’s review committee, reviewing the grant requests submitted by CSD staff and awarding grant monies for various projects. First, I was blown away by the creativity and rigor with which CSD staff all the way from early childhood to high school are augmenting the amazing work they’re already doing with these awesome projects and programs. Second, I’m not sure you get much closer to feeling like Santa Claus on Christmas to say “yes” to a whole bunch of Chelsea’s amazing educators!
Marcus Kaemming | Board Member (non-voting)
Assistant Superintendent, Title IX Coordinator
Mike Kapolka | Board Member (non-voting)
As Superintendent of the Chelsea School District, I bring over 22 years of educational experience to my ex-officio Board position with the Chelsea Education Foundation. Starting as a teacher and coach, I have grown into various administrative positions before stepping into the role of Superintendent.
Additionally, I have served as the past President of the Southeastern Conference and Past President of the Chelsea United Way. During my tenure as a Trustee of the Chelsea Education Foundation from 2018 to 2020, we focused on supporting educational initiatives and enhancing student learning experiences in our community.
I am extremely proud of and excited for the continued support the Chelsea Education Foundation provides to our school community.
Sandy Lantis | Board Member
I recently retired from Chelsea School District where I taught for 23 years. I have taught early elementary for my career. I also taught in Stockbridge for 4 years. While teaching I was very involved as a grade level chair as well as with our union.
I have my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Spring Arbor College. I also have my Masters Degree in Elementary education from Spring Arbor University. (There was a name change while I was away. )
I enjoy spending time outdoors camping. My husband and I recently bought a 5th wheel. We have had several trips around the state of Michigan exploring and enjoying the great state. In my spare time while home I love to spend time in my sewing room creating and sewing. I have been working hard on making quilts. It is very exciting to see how each one turns from scraps to a piece of art.
One of my favorite things about the Chelsea Education Foundation is the beautiful Gala that they put on as a fundraiser. I have attended a few times and have enjoyed the evening. This allows for so many grants that are provided to the schools. I have personally benefited from grants for our book room at North Creek. On a personal level my daughter received several grants her senior year toward her tuition her freshman year.
Karen Owen | Board Member
With over 10 years of experience in Fundraising and Philanthropy, I currently serve as the Director of Donor and Campaign Operations at UMRC-Porter Hills Foundation. I have a true passion for the community of Chelsea where I work, volunteer my time, and live with my family. As a board member of the Chelsea Education Foundation (CEF), I am committed to supporting the needs of teachers and students in the Chelsea community.
I graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Health Care Administration in 2012 and a Master's Degree in Fundraising and Philanthropy in May of 2020. As a board member, I look forward to continuing to build relationships that will directly support CEF’s mission of providing resources and opportunities to students and teachers in the Chelsea School District.
I love spending time with my husband (Skyler), three kids who attend Chelsea schools (Landon class of 2028, Kennedy class of 2033, and Colton class of 2035), and our dog Maverick. We enjoy traveling, fishing, watching sports, and participating in various activities around our community. When I am not working or volunteering you may find me working in the garden, spending time with friends, or taking a class to learn something new!
I believe that philanthropy can significantly impact creating long-lasting social change. I have witnessed firsthand how CEF is making a tremendous difference in the lives of both teachers and students. I feel so fortunate to serve with this tremendous group of people.
Patrick Roberts | Treasurer
Years ago, I was blessed with an outstanding education through the Chelsea School District
and I was fortunate enough to receive an academic scholarship from CEF. I appreciate the
investment CEF made in my future and look forward to returning the favor.
I have my Bachelors of Science Degree in Finance and Accounting, dual major, from Indiana University. In addition, my professional training includes KPMG Advisory, Finance Transformation Practice.
Outside of my professional career, I enjoy the following:
- Giving back to my local community through volunteering and other philanthropic services.
- Sports and outdoor activities; specifically basketball, soccer, and biking
- Being the best dad and husband that I can be
- Cooking and trying to find things that my 11-month-old likes
- Exploring new neighborhoods and places to eat
As the Treasurer for CEF, I’m looking forward to using my educational and professional
background to help CEF make timely, informed decisions. I have years of experience
transforming the way companies create and view financial information which I’m excited to
bring to the board. I understand CEF has goals to grow its community impact and I would
love to invest my time in supporting this initiative and giving back to my former school system.
Wendy Zielen | Impact Chair
I am currently Development and Communications Director at St. Louis Center, a residential community for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This position combines my experience in marketing, digital outreach, and client relations with my commitment to non-profit fundraising and governance.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and have a background in marketing, administration, and management with a specialty in small to mid-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations. I utilize my organizational expertise to help support worthy youth advocacy, underserved community, environmental sustainability, and historical preservation causes.
My passion for philanthropy and volunteerism was inspired by experiencing the generosity of others toward my youngest daughter during her struggle with a rare disease. I greatly enjoy many volunteer activities, as well as running, reading, and traveling. One of my greatest joys is the view from our family’s lakeside cottage on one of Michigan’s beautiful inland lakes near Chelsea.
As a new member of the Chelsea Education Board, I’m looking forward to working with other members of the board and the community to help support the students of Chelsea School District.
I'm thrilled with the opportunity to help other students in the Chelsea School District have the same educational experiences and opportunities that my children had!