Board of Trustees

Kenneth Schoen, President
     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, Vice President/Secretary
     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.

Darlene Anderson

Al Chepelnik
     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.

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.


Kisty Haller
     A native Duluthian, Kisty is a 1970 graduate of Morgan Park High School. Upon graduation from high school, she attended UMD where she obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Hired in 1974 by the Proctor School District, Kisty taught Physical Education and Health to both the general and special needs population in the district. In 1998 she was the Proctor School District's nominee for Minnesota Teach of the Year. After 35 years of teaching children at every age level, she retired.

Carol Hubert
     Carol's educational career has included numerous teaching assignments in private and public schools in Duluth. Her knowledge of grant proposals and awards are extensive as she taught students in K-6 elementary, the GATE gifted program, and supervised after-school EXCEL. Her involvement in local, state, and national educational organizations contributes to her focus on Best Practices in the classroom, Mentorship of colleagues, and Educational Research & Development professional practices. After retiring in 2013, Carol volunteers in schools each week to work with young children in math, reading, and writing; she is also a substitute teacher and a Hospice volunteer. Now becoming a DPS Fund Board member, she looks forward to offering other teachers grant opportunities for their special creative projects in their classrooms.

 Rosie Loeffler-Kemp

Jo Ann Luhtala
     Jo Ann taught in the Duluth Public Schools for 35 years teaching at Lowell (the old Lowell School), Chester Park Elementary School, Ordean Middle School, and finished her career as the districtwide K-12 Mathematics Specialist. She grew up in Virginia, Minnesota and upon graduating from Roosevelt High School, attended the College of St. Scholastica and never left Duluth. She and her husband raised their two daughters who attended the Duluth Public Schools and graduated from East High School. After retirement, Jo Ann has continued to stay close to education serving as the Supervisor for the Minnesota Mathematics and Science Teacher Academies at the Minnesota Department of Education, teaching online elementary and middle school mathematics education courses at the University of Wisconsin, Superior, and supervising elementary, secondary and Special Education student teachers at UMD. “I am pleased and it is an honor to serve on the DPSF Board. Every opportunity should be given to our teachers for additional resources to teach our children.”

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”—Albert Einstein

 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

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.