Board of Trustees

Kenneth Schoen, Chair 
     The bulk of Ken’s working experience has been in corrections and broader criminal justice administration. Now retired, his employment included directing the Institute on Criminal Justice at the U of MN Law School which concentrated on research in sentencing, corrections, and juvenile justice. He served as special master for the Federal District Court overseeing a consent decree relating to New York City’s corrections system and directed the Justice Program of a major New York City foundation for some 19 years. He served in several capacities in Minnesota State Department of Corrections ranging from probation officer to state Corrections Commissioner.
     He has held leadership roles with the YMCA and Boy Scouts. He and his late wife, Connie, have a married daughter living in Washington DC. Their son died of cancer in 2004. They established a scholarship fund within the Duluth Superior Foundation for students who are late in achieving success in high school.

Shari Rud, (Advisor) Web Coordination/Communications
     Shari’s longtime connection with the Duluth Public Schools began at age four as a kindergarten student. She graduated from Duluth Central High School and then studied at UMD, graduating with an Elementary Education degree. Shari holds a master's degree and Sixth Year Program in Educational Administration and the Superintendency through St. Cloud State University. Her 36 year career with ISD #709 includes work as a Head Start teacher, an elementary teacher, an assistant middle school principal, and concluded in 2008 as an elementary school principal. She boasts of the proud tradition in that the fourth generation of her family is currently attending the Duluth Public Schools.
     "As an educator, I’ve seen amazing things happen as communities of learners created their vision to implement innovation. As a trustee, I encourage teachers to apply for these DPSF grants to continue to think differently for the improvement of teaching and learning opportunities for students, staff, and families," said Rud.


Al Chepelnik, Vice-Chair and Secretary
     Al Chepelnik was born and raised in Duluth and is a 1971 graduate of Morgan Park High School and a 1975 graduate of the University of Minnesota - Duluth. He has worked for the Duluth Public Schools for 34 years primarily as a Work Experience Teacher-Coordinator with middle school and high school disadvantaged and handicapped students.
     Al has served as a member of the Duluth Teachers Relicensure Committee, helped to create and serve as the Chairperson of the Duluth Teacher of the Year Committee which recognizes outstanding Duluth Public School teachers and has served as the Chairperson of the Interagency Coordinating Council of Duluth which connects Special Education teachers, social workers and agencies in Duluth that work with students and adults that have disabilities.
     Al is eager to support teacher grants that will create innovative programs for teachers in the Duluth Public Schools.

Bernie Burnham
     Ms. Bernie Burnham earned the degrees of Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN in 1998 and M.S. Education, St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN in 2005.
     Bernie has been a teacher with the Duluth Public Schools for 19 years, and she’s currently on full time release as she was elected to serve as the President for the Duluth Federation of Teachers. She also currently serves as the chair of the Duluth Community Schools Collaborative and has been appointed to represent Education Minnesota on the American Federation of Teacher's Program and Policy Council.
     The following is a list of various committees that Bernie has served on in our district: Laura MacArthur Leadership Team & Site Council, Arrowhead Reading Council member, ISD 709 Relicensure Committee, Elementary Labor Management Committee, Principals Advisory Council (PAC) Chair, Lincoln & Lowell Representative to ISD 709 Desegregation, ISD 709 Asian Pacific Advisory Board Chair/Member, Duluth Federation of Teachers, Education Minnesota, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association.
     Her community involvement includes serving as a mentor for 3 years with the Northland Foundation's Kids Plus Youth Leadership Program which she claims to have been a terrific experience.
     Finally, as an active member of the Duluth Area Labor Council and Take Action Duluth, she also now looks forward through this Endowment Fund to continuing her support of the many wonderful projects that our teachers do each and every year.
     Her hobbies include, golf, travel & photography which she tries to combine as often as possible for the happiest adventure.

Mark Boben
     Mark is a native Duluthian who graduated from Morgan Park High School, received his bachelors degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a masters from UMD. After graduation Mark and his wife, Linda, began a 35 year odyssey working for ConocoPhillips around the world, spending 6 years in Norway and 9 years in China. Although Mark and Linda had the opportunity to explore the world, it was always their intent to retire in Duluth. Mark is currently self employed as a consultant to the oil and gas industry.
     Mark believes that education is an essential component for an individual to achieve success in life. "Teachers who are committed to providing a challenging learning environment pave the way," said Boben, Being involved with the Duluth Public Schools Fund allows Mark to be a partner in promoting excellence in education in Duluth.

Marge Fisher
     Marge is a lifelong Duluthian, having been educated in the Duluth Public Schools before pursuing a degree in education. Her teaching career started by teaching special education before switching to third grade, which she taught for 29 years at Chester Park and Congdon Park Schools. Through the years of teaching third grade, she served on various district curriculum committees, including health, phy ed., language arts, reading, and math. Retiring in 2014, Marge is glad for the opportunity to stay connected with the Duluth Public Schools by working on the DPSF Board to encourage teachers to use the funds for innovative ways to enhance the quality education already provided in Duluth.


Rosie Loeffler-Kemp
     Rosie continues to be an active advocate of more than 25 years for our Duluth Public Schools as a parent, volunteer, and community leader where she has served in many capacities and on numerous school district committees. Her educational background includes a Masters Degree in Social Work; her professional work has included working as a Community Organizer on environmental and public health issues. Her support to children & families has been exemplary through several non-profits and community organizations: Community Action Duluth, Great Lakes Aquarium, League of Women Voters, Girl Scouts, CHUM (Churches United in Ministry), United Way, and KIDS Voting. She has served in numerous leadership roles for the several PTAs, including being a Mn State PTA President (2006-2009).

     Rosie serves on the ISD #709 School Board as the District One representative where most recently she was re-elected to her second term.
     She & her husband, Ken, have four children. They are thankful for the excellent teachers and school staff at Lester Park, Ordean, and East who have worked together with them to instill a love of learning, respect, and the desire to be responsible global citizens.
     Rosie says: “It is a privilege to serve on the DPS Endowment Fund Board. As a parent and a school board member, I am in awe of the many diverse ways our Duluth Public Schools staff provides innovative and creative opportunities for our students to succeed and for our families to be more engaged in our schools. It is an honor to help provide additional financial support to our teachers through DPS Fund grants.”


 Phyllis Makila
     EDUCATION: University of Wisconsin, Superior, University of Minnesota, Duluth, St. Thomas University, Concordia College,
EMPLOYMENT: Duluth Public Schools Teacher for 43 years
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Internal Coach for Americorps, reading corps, for 3 years President of ADK,Epsilon, a women’s education sorority for many years President of Lakewood Elementary School Foundation for 3 years, member for 6 years Supervisor for Lakewood Preschool for 3 years Volunteer for Grandma’s Marathon for many years Member of First Lutheran Church
ACTIVITIES AND HOBBIES: Quilting, scrapbooking, golf, reading


Steve Schoenbauer
     Steve is a retired high school special education teacher who currently works very part time for Duluth Parks and Recreation. Though not a Duluth native, he and his wife, Janelle, have lived in Morgan Park for the past 45 years and his children received excellent educations in the Duluth system. He spent 26 years in the classroom in Askov and Wrenshall and 15 years as the Secondary Transition Coordinator with the Northern Lights Special Education Cooperative working with students, parents, teachers, and community agencies preparing students for life after graduation. He has published curricula, organized events, and created collaboratives, all related to Secondary Transition.
     Steve has been involved in many Mn Department of Education committees including Secondary Transition Council, Work Based Learning Focus Group, Pathways to Employment: Camps to Careers, and Paraprofessional Competency Training development.
     Steve believes strongly in the capabilities and creativity of our teachers and welcomes the opportunity to assist, even in a small way, in their efforts.

Cindy Upton
     Moving to Duluth in 1997, Cindy has been a resident and an
educator with Duluth Public Schools for 20 years at Lowell Elementary, teaching 3rd and 4th grade, and is currently a Math Interventionist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Bemidji State University and holds a Masters of Education Degree from UMD. Over the years, Cindy has been an active participant in District Math and Social Studies Curriculum Committees, Lowell Leadership, DFT, and PTA. As a member of the DPSF board, she looks forward to supporting and encouraging teachers with grant opportunities that will enrich and engage the lives of their students.