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Carmel Education Foundation Open House for retirement/new director

Stephanie McDonald and Barbara Danquist are retiring as the Co-Executive Directors of the Carmel Education Foundation as of December 31, 2019.

A message from the two stated: Having both been retired teachers from Carmel Clay Schools, CEF gave us the chance to share our passion and support the CCS. The CEF teacher classroom and professional development grants, plus CEF donor given scholarships, has given us an opportunity to witness growth of Carmel Clay Schools students and staff members. It has been an honor for us to be able to represent CEF for the past 7 years.

The two congratulate Jenn Penix as the new Executive Director of Carmel Education Foundation as of January 2, 2020. They will be working with Jenn though January for an even and smooth transition.

The Carmel Education Foundation and Carmel Clay Schools will host an Open House to announce the retirement and introduce Jenn Penix on January 27th.

The following is a press release from CEF: The Carmel Education Foundation welcomes new Executive Director. Jennifer Penix will assume the executive director role for the Carmel Education Foundation (CEF) on Jan. 2, 2020. The CEF voted on October 22, 2019, to hire Penix as the replacement for retiring co-executive directors Barbara Danquist and Stephanie McDonald.

Danquist and McDonald led CEF for seven years, and, in that time, they grew the organization as a whole and strengthened its relationship with Carmel Clay Schools teachers and the Carmel community. “We are grateful for their leadership and wish them the very best in their retirement,” said Melissa Volz-Smith, CEF Board President. “Their hard work and dedication provided a solid foundation that Ms. Penix will be able to build upon.”

“Education is the cornerstone of our society, and the Carmel Education Foundation plays an important part in Carmel’s public schools,” Penix said. “I look forward to working with the Carmel community to empower our students and enhance learning opportunities through educator and classroom grants.” Penix will also work closely with Carmel Clay School administrators to maximize the positive influence that the CEF has at all 15 schools.

Prior to accepting this position, Penix served as the Development and Special Events Manager for Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. Throughout her career in non-profit administration, she has proven herself as a collaborative and visionary leader. Additionally, her involvement in the Carmel community has been extensive and includes board leadership within CarmelFest, Carmel International Arts Festival, Parent Teacher Organizations, and Carmel Education Foundation. One of her most notable accomplishments is in transforming the Taste of Carmel into an annual community wide event that raises funds for Orchard Park Elementary.

“Having participated in hiring the last few Executive Directors for the Carmel Education Foundation, I believe that Jenn Penix brings exactly what the CEF needs to take its mission of supporting Carmel Clay Schools to the next level.” said Jill Reese, a former Carmel Education Foundation board member and past president. “She has a demonstrated passion for Carmel’s public schools and for the foundation, a natural ability to lead and work well with people, and a broad knowledge of the nonprofit world, among other things. While I was sad to see our past Co-Executive Directors go and thank them for their service, I am so excited to see where the CEF can go and grow under Jenn’s leadership.”

Superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools Dr. Michael Beresford stated “Jenn has been a great supporter of CCS students and families as a parent and as a leader on the CEF Board. She is a “mover and a shaker” and we look forward to her leadership and the great things to come. We are confident that she will continue the great work Barb and Stephanie has set in motion for the benefit of our students, staff and families.”

Ms. Penix earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University and a Master of Science degree from Miami University. About the Carmel Education Foundation One of the oldest foundations of its kind, the Carmel Education Foundation was created to help Carmel Clay students achieve their full potential. Since 1966, the Foundation has awarded over $2,000,000 in college scholarships to CHS seniors and over $525,000 in education grants to increase student achievement for all 16,000 Carmel Clay students.

The Carmel Education Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors who give their time and energy to accelerate the foundation’s mission by funding education grants for teachers, awarding more than 100 college scholarships annually, and expanding the resources of Carmel Clay Schools. CEF hosts a number of events supported by individuals and businesses in the Carmel community, such as the annual Showcase in mid-February, Telethon in mid January and the Ghosts and Goblins 5K/2K in October.

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