Board of Directors

Tori Christie - President

Tori has served on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Iowa Educational Foundation, Inc. since 2009. She currently works at the University of Nebraska Omaha. With many years of experience in a multitude of roles in higher education, she brings a relevant and important perspective to the board. She also brings a passion for not only increasing access to a college education but also for improving success in students’ educational pursuits, which includes providing financial support for the young people of southwest Iowa. She received both her Bachelor's degree and her Master's degree from the University of South Dakota. Tori and her husband, Jay Killion, reside in Council Bluffs. 

Cara Trede- Vice President

Cara currently serves as the Executive Director of Career EdVantage SWI. Cara received her bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, and master's degree from Bellevue University. Cara also serves on the Impact CB Board of Directors. Cara and her family reside in Council Bluffs. 

Chris LaFerla - Treasurer

Chris serves as Executive Director of the Council Bluffs Schools Foundation. Previously, Chris worked at Iowa Western Community College as Dean of Admissions and Records. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in Council Bluffs, he earned an Associate's degree from Iowa Western, Bachelor's degree from Simpson College, and Master's degree from Gonzaga University. In addition to serving on the SWIEF board of directors, Chris is also a member of the Council Bluffs Community School District Board of Education. Chris and his wife, Lea, have two daughters and reside in Council Bluffs.

Deb Goodman

Deb retired from the Council Bluffs School District after a 33 year career where she taught history,  journalism, business, was a school-to-career-coordinator, and the CTE curriculum specialist. Prior to teaching she spent 4 years in the finance and insurance industries. She is a Thomas Jefferson graduate with an education degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a business degree from Buena Vista University. Deb serves on the TJ Hall of Fame Committee and the Iowa Western Black Tie Committee. She also does consulting for Career and Technical Education. She resides in Council Bluffs.

Gary Funkhouser

Gary is a retired teacher, principal and school superintendent, who served for 50 plus years in the Iowa communities of Gravity, College Springs, Klemme, Oakland, Carson-Macedonia, and Whiting. His last superintendent responsibility was at Treynor, where he and his wife Julie currently live. He received is B.S. degree from N.W. Mo. State, Maryville, M.A. from Colorado State, Greeley, and Specialist in Education degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In his initial years he taught vocal and instrument music, was a high school principal, athletic director and served the last 5 years of his career at Treynor. He is a member the Treynor Optimist Club, is an Iowa Western Ambassador member, and was a local school board member for 10 years. He volunteers because he feels service to others is his "rent" for living. He currently assists with the Treynor High School Quiz Bowl team and is a co-sponsor of the Junior Optimist Service Club at Treynor High School.

Steve Irvin

Steve was involved in K-12 education for 38 years as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and school counselor. He served in the Mallard, South Page, and Treynor school districts and was a school counselor at South Page for four years and at Treynor for 11 years. Steve was also a past-president of the Iowa School Counselor Association. Currently, Steve is employed as a student success adviser for ICAN. ICAN is a non-profit organization that provides free college planning and financial aid services to students, families, and schools throughout Iowa.

Lou Jensen

Lou Jensen is an occupational therapist and associate professor at Creighton University. She attended high school in Sidney, Iowa and earned her Bachelor's degree from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa followed by her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from Creighton University. She and her husband Scott, along with their two daughters, reside in Council Bluffs.

Molly Noon 

Molly Noon serves as Iowa Western Community College's Vice President of Institutional Advancement, which includes
operations of the Iowa Western Foundation along with alumni relations, scholarships, grants, capital campaigns, donor relations, planned giving, and fundraising. She previously served as the Director of the Arts Center at Iowa Western for seven years.
Past service includes: the Bluffs Arts Council, Bluffs Downtown, St. Albert Strategic Planning, and the Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony. Molly received her Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Iowa and her MPA from the University of Nebraska Omaha. She and her husband Matt Noon are the proud parents to daughter Elizabeth.

Nicole Lindquist

Nicole Lindquist is the Director of Communications for the Iowa West Foundation. She graduated from West Harrison High School in Mondamin, Iowa and earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Coaching from Iowa State University. She completed her master's in Communications from University of Nebraska Omaha in 2019. Mrs. Lindquist also serves on the Council Bluffs Community School District's Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee and the International Baccalaureate Parent Board. She and her husband Rob, along with their three children, reside in Council Bluffs.

Jacque Mulholland

Jacque is a graduate of Exira High School and the State College of Iowa, completing a degree in Elementary Education and endorsements in Early Childhood and Reading.  She has served as a board member for preschool programs in the community and taught in the East Mills Community Schools for 25 years as an elementary classroom teacher, reading specialist and reading consultant.  Jacque and her husband, Ed, have three grown children, seven grandchildren and reside in Malvern, Iowa.  Jacque is active in church, community activities, the Malvern Area Betterment Association, volunteers in the elementary school and is an Ombudsman for the State of Iowa at On With Life.

Judy O'Brien

Judy retired from the Council Bluffs Community School District following an educational career as a teacher, counselor, building principal and secondary education director.  She is an Abraham Lincoln High School graduate and received a B.S degree from Colorado State University.  She received graduate degrees from Creighton University.  Currently, Judy volunteers in a variety of local and state organizations and is an active member of St. John’s Parish at Creighton.  Judy resides in Council Bluffs.

John Paul

John is President of Western Iowa Mutual Insurance in Council Bluffs
and has worked there for more than 30 years. He holds a Bachelor's
degree in Business, Economies, and Livestock Marketing from
Morningside College. John serves on the Children's Square Foundation
Board, Jennie Edmundson Foundation Board, People's National Bank
Governing Board, Chamber Agriculture Committee, East Mills
Scholarship Committee, National Association of Mutual Insurance
Companies Welfare Benefit Program, and Mutual Insurance Association
of Iowa Legislative Committee. He stays involved with national, state,
county, and community activities as well. John and his wife Cathy live near Henderson.

Frank W. Pechacek, Jr.

In 1984, Frank was a co-founder of Southwest Iowa Educational Foundation, Inc. Frank is the managing partner of the law firm of Willson & Pechacek, P.L.C. He holds a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Northern Iowa and doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Iowa College of Law. Frank also serves as a director of the Iowa Law School Foundation, Loess Hills Chapter of American Red Cross, Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus Foundation, Investment Committee of the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation and is a commissioner on the Pottawattamie County Civil Service Commission. Frank and his wife, Beth, live in Council Bluffs.

Jordan Preston

Jordan Preston grew up in Council Bluffs and attended CBCSD public schools from kindergarten through high school, so it’s only fitting that after graduating from Iowa State University, she returned to teach in their elementary schools. Mrs. Preston has worked as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in Crescent, Hoover, and Gunn elementary schools before moving to College View Elementary, an International Baccalaureate World School, where she continues to teach today. She also has served on the Council Bluffs Public Library Board of Trustees, the Iowa West Foundation Education Advisory Council, and the North Broadway Neighborhood Association. Currently, she volunteers with the Friends of the Library Board and the YMCA Board. She and her husband Matthew took over ownership and management of their family ice cream shop, Christy Creme, in 2015.

Gayle Strickland

Gayle spent forty years teaching either elementary or secondary students in Alaska, Washington, and Iowa. Most of those years were spent in the Oakland and Riverside Schools. Her final ten years included serving as K-12 curriculum coordinator and teaching Advanced Placement, Honors, Early Start, and gifted classes for the Harlan Community School District. Her undergraduate work was from NWMSU, with additional study at Buena Vista University; her graduate work was from the University of Iowa, Creighton University, and Drake University, where she earned a master's degree. Her family includes her husband, a retired teacher, a daughter, and two grandchildren. She is active in the Broadway United Methodist Church, P.E.O., and other community activities.

Warren K. Weber - Recording Secretary

Warren is a native of Iowa and during his career in education, he worked in a variety of positions, districts, and locations in the state. He is now fully retired and continues to stay active with his children, four grandchildren and a variety of community organization. He became a member of the SWIEF board in 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. He and his wife Karen reside in Council Bluffs.

Shawne Zuber

Shawne Zuber is a native of Los Angeles, California. He graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Southern University in 2001. He worked for Technical Services at Georgia Southern University from 2001 until 2012; first for the Mathematics and Computer Science Dept, and then for the new College of IT. In April of 2012, Shawne accepted a position at Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa as a Hardware Operations Manager.