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GPSF History

The Galesburg Public Schools Foundation was established in 1987 to help stabilize the financial situation in CUSD #205. In 1988, it became clear that due to state physical education requirements and a larger population of students at Galesburg High School, there was a significant need for more gymnasium space and a swimming pool. The school district asked the Foundation to raise the money to fund the construction of an auxiliary gym and pool. The GPSF agreed to take on this major capital project and assumed responsibility for both the fundraising and the construction of the facility. It was at this time that the Foundation established its independence from the district. Working tirelessly for over five years and raising over 1.8 million dollars with no tax monies involved, the Foundation was proud to see the new facility completed and turned over to the district in the fall of 1993. Following this major fundraising effort, the Foundation has continued its focus on enhancing educational opportunities for students by funding a variety of projects as well as field trips, family reading nights, visiting authors and illustrators, curricular materials, technology, fine arts, social/emotional learning, and other important needs throughout the district. The Foundation also has supported professional development opportunities for teachers and staff, which in turn benefit the education of their students. In September 2011 and 2013, the Galesburg Public School Foundation was recognized by CUSD #205 Board of Education for their many years of working to raise money to enhance the educational opportunities of students in District #205. GPSF board members were presented with a plaque during a Board of Education meeting. In 2023, the Foundation used funds donated in memory of one of our founding Board Members, Doug Mustain, to update the donor wall at Wicall Gym/Mustain Pool. The Foundation’s annual income has been derived from four main sources: an annual Duck Race (ended in 2015), a discount card fundraiser (ended in 2020), an annual support campaign letter, and a newsletter. Other fundraisers have included a celebrity dinner with Galesburg native Jim Sundberg in 2018 and an annual golf outing, most often coinciding with a GHS alumni class reunion. Currently we are planning an exciting new fundraiser for early 2025! We know that the opportunities for today’s students are limited only by the quality of their education. The GPSF is proud to be integral part of Galesburg’s educational environment for students in CUSD #205 on many different levels, and we look forward to continuing our work with the district to help our students succeed both now and into the future!

Board and Staff

Kristi Mustain

Board / President

Kristi moved to Galesburg when she was four and has lived here most of her life. She is the oldest of six children, who along with her father and grandfather, all graduated from GHS. Graduating from Knox College she went on to teach one year at Steele Elementary School. She is currently working part-time at Mustain Law Office, a local law firm, which allows her the freedom to be involved in many community organizations. Kristi joined the Foundation board in 2004 and is currently serving as President. She has run the Annual Duck Race telethon for several years along with helping sell ducks for her children's schools. Kristi's son attended Galesburg High School and her daughter attends Churchill School. In addition to her Foundation work, she formally served on the Community Preschool and Discovery Depot Children's Museum Boards and now serves on the Relay for Life Committee. She is President of the Silas Willard PTO and is a member of the District #250 Strategic Planning Committee. Kristi feels giving back to the community is so very important and her foundation work lets her do just that.

Mark Wilson

Board / Vice President

Mark is a native of Galesburg and a 1974 GHS graduate. He joined the Board in 1999. Mark is married with one daughter who graduated from GHS in 1999. He is a graduate of Monmouth College and is currently Associate V.P. of Major Gifts at Knox College. In addition to his work with the Foundation, he serves as Chairman of the Endowment Committee at First Presbyterian Church and is a member of the Western Illinois Estate and Financial Planners Forum.

Karen Z. Hawkinson

Board / Treasurer

One of the charter members of the Board of Directors, Karen knew it was important to raise money for schools but the need to have a body that would build good relations between the public and the school district was central thus helping education be valued the way it should be. A graduate of Knox College, Karen and her husband Carl (1966 GHS grad), have three children who have graduated from GHS. She is a Foundation past-President and Duck Chairman and currently serves as Treasurer. Karen recently retired from Knox College where she was the Coordinator of the Center for Global Studies and is member of the OSF St. Mary's Foundation Board. She has assisted the District in writing grants and coordinated the George Washington Gale Scholar Program for several years.

Denise Lakis Foote

Board / Secretary

Denise has lived in Galesburg since her 8th grade year, when her father, Louis Lakis, purchased the Ford dealership. She graduated from GHS in 1973 and attended Illinois Wesleyan University, where she met her husband Bruce. Bruce and Denise are the owners of Bruce Foote Chevrolet in Monmouth. They have two daughters: Christy Tapper (GHS Class of 1998), who teaches kindergarten at King Elementary, and   Amy  Hess (GHS Class of 2001). Christy and Mike have two children at GHS: Kylie (11th) and Ryan (9th). Amy and David currently live in Wisconsin with their young children, but they love supporting Galesburg activities whenever possible. Volunteering has been Denise's main focus since her children were little, and she is just coming back onto the GPSF board after being a charter member. During her previous stint, she served as Treasurer and was involved in the fundraising to build Wicall Gym and Mustain Pool.  She also served on the Knox County Day Nursery Board of Directors for over 20 years, was a past President of both the Lombard and Galesburg Athletic Booster Clubs, served 12 years on the OSF St. Mary Medical Center Community Advisory Board, served on the OSF St. Mary Foundation Board, and currently serves on the OSF St. Mary Auxiliary. "Helping to cultivate a wonderful environment for our young people to learn will always be a priority for me. I look forward to being a part of the GPSF Board of Directors and seeing what wonderful opportunities we can create for the students and staff of CUSD #205."  - Denise Foote

Lynn Armstrong

Board / Member

Lynn Armstrong is an Iowa native who moved to Galesburg in 1988. She is married to John and has two sons (Derek and Dylan) who both attended District 205 schools and have since graduated from college. She is also the proud grandma of three grandchildren. Lynn works as a Loan Specialist in Community Programs for USDA Rural Development, where she has worked for over 20 years. She was a former teacher in District 205 and education remains very important to her, so she stays active on the Foundation board. Teachers and students need support and encouragement more now than ever, and Lynn is proud to be part of the Galesburg Public Schools Foundation that provides additional resources for things not available through regular school funding. Lynn joined the GPSF Board in 2005.

Nancy Berry

Board / Member

Nancy was born and raised in Galesburg.  She graduated from GHS in 1978 and attended Carl Sandburg College. She has two children who graduated from GHS in 2001 and 2003.  Seeing an opportunity to help children in the community, Nancy joined the board in 2005. She also serves as a volunteer for the Elks lodge.

Ben and Jenny Bredemeier

Board / Member

Ben and Jenny have been educators in Galesburg CUSD #205 since 2004. Ben grew up in Aurora, Illinois and graduated from Illinois State University. Jenny grew up in Knoxville and graduated from Knox College. They have one daughter, Emily.  Ben and Jenny both value education and believe in creating as many opportunities for students and educators both inside and outside of the school day as possible. Ben and Jenny both believe strong schools make a strong community and are honored to serve as part of the Galesburg Public Schools Foundation board.

Mary Esp

Board / Member

Mary was born and raised in Galesburg, graduating from GHS in 2004. She attended Carl Sandburg College and is currently employed at Dick Blick Art Materials as an Accounts Payable Associate. She has two sons who are currently in the district.

Molly Kleine

Board / Member

Molly was born and raised in Galesburg, attended District 205 schools and graduated in 1991. She and her husband, Jeremy (a 1989 GHS grad) have two children – Kelsi and Kannon. Kelsi graduated from GHS in 2019, Carl Sandburg College in 2021 and The University of Tennessee in 2023. Kannon is a 2022 GHS grad and attends Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois. Molly spent 24 years teaching third grade at Nielson Elementary School before its doors were closed in 2020. She has been teaching second grade at Steele Elementary School since then. She and her husband are involved in various community service organizations as well as active members of their church. Molly joined the Foundation in 2010 and believes that all children deserve to have the same positive educational experiences that she had growing up in District 205.

Zach Maher

Board / Member

Zach has lived near Galesburg most of his life.  He attended Monmouth College for two years and Illinois College for two years, where he played football and received his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education.  He is currently a commercial loan officer and Vice President at First Mid Bank & Trust in Galesburg.  Zach has been in finance for the last 20+ years.   Zach and His wife have two sons and are very active in sports, coaching, and the Knox County 4-H, showing cattle.  Zach is very active in the community as a Chamber Ambassador, a director on the board at Camp Big Sky, and a member of the Graham Hospital Foundation.  He previously was a board member on the Spoon River College Foundation.

Connie Wessels

Board / Member

Connie came to Galesburg in 1977 and is a graduate of Rockford Memorial School of Nursing and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been employed by OSF St. Mary Medical Center for nearly 47 years currently working as RN Director of Educational Resources. A member of the Board since 2000, Connie and her husband Chuck have two daughters who graduated from GHS. Connie is a Leadership Greater Galesburg graduate, is active in her church, and served as a past president of the Women's Issue Network.

Teresa Baxter

Staff / Administrator

Teresa has been living in Galesburg since 2004. She graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in elementary education and earned her Master's degree in education from Western Illinois University. Teresa taught middle school reading and language arts for 15 years, six of those years here in Galesburg.  She and her husband Dave, a teacher at Galesburg High School, both know firsthand how valuable it is to have the support of our community in education.  Dave and Teresa have two daughters currently attending CUSD #205 schools. As Administrator, Teresa manages the day-to-day operations and is responsible for coordinating volunteers, fundraising, news publications, social media, scholarships, and bookkeeping.

Mission Statement

The Galesburg Public Schools Foundation is a chartered, not-for-profit foundation with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. The purpose of the Foundation is to raise funds to enhance the educational, interscholastic and extracurricular programs in District 205, and to strengthen the relationship between the public schools and the community.

The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of a diverse cross section of Galesburg. An Administrator manages the day to day operations and is responsible for coordinating the volunteers, fundraising and bookkeeping. (see Board and Staff)

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