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ipei annualmeetingIthacaSTEM Advocates Pitch new products/services and demonstrate prototypes

On Thursday September 27th IPEI's hosted its annual meeting to announce goals for the new year and welcome new leadership.

At the Just Be Cause Center, the leaders of IPEI's and its affiliated groups, The Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG), Ithaca STEM Advocates, and Star Bressler, Executive Director of the Discovery Trail, representing Kids Discover the trail! Ithaca, gathered community members including former IPEI presidents Terry Brynes and Jennifer Engel and former vice president Mary Grainger, to bear witness to the successes of 2017-18 and look forward to next year.

IPEI is a 501(c)3 local nonprofit based in Ithaca with a mission to support innovative education in the school district through grants made to teachers and staff of the Ithaca City School District. Since its founding in 1996, IPEI has made over $1.5 million in grant funding available to teachers and staff of the Ithaca City School District to innovate and improve educational experiences for students.

Last year, IPEI supported 50 unique projects and programs with more than $75,000 in funding, including two $10,000 dollar grants to "Re-imagine recess" at Fall Creek and Northeast Elementary schools, and pioneer Spanish language learning within the daily curriculum at South Hill Elementary. IPEI grants also brought Ithaca's Civic Ensemble, a local community-centered playwriting group "that explores and explodes the social, political, and cultural issues of our time," into LACS and Beverly J Martin Elementary, to help students challenge their own thinking about race, power, privilege and experience. IPEI is proud to support teachers who are responding to ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown's call to create a Culture of Love throughout the ICSD,

IPEI's affiliate organizations, Fine arts Booster Groups and IthacaSTEM Advocates, also provided financial and emotional support for members of the district!

FABG provided teachers opportunities to renew their love for teaching with the opportunity to participate in the Saltonstall Teacher Residency Partnership and worked with Band instructor Michael Allen to bring ICSD alum Cristina Dougherty back to the region for a recital and personal interaction with for students!

IthacaSTEM Advocates raises funds to support activities in and awareness of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) including a recurring annual "Pitch Night" event where Students "pitch" new products/services, demonstrate their prototypes and business plan to members of the community.

Ithaca High Schools' Code Red Robotics and IHS's and DeWitt's Technology Students Association (TSA) groups both competed in regional competitions, with TSA bringing home two 1st-place finishes by IHS students, one 2nd-place finish by DeWitt student and eleven top-10 finishes overall by ICSD in last year's national competition in Atlanta, GA. IthacaSTEM Advocate groups are also focused on creating and maintaining diversity within its groups, and a upholding a commitment to community service.

Recognizing the success of last year, and looking forward to this one, IPEI welcomed four new board members to its Board of Directors whom Steven Manley described as: "Energetic personalities from a variety of backgrounds, who will bring their support for innovative education to the leadership of IPEI, helping us to continue our mission: connecting our classrooms to the community" Welcome to Shivaun Archer, Anna Sims Bartel, Adam Jacobstein and Christa Nunez!

President Matt Braun stepped down from his role as President of the IPEI Board of Directors after serving 5 years in the position, and David Lee, IPEI's vice president, ended his term of service on the Board after 11 years. The Board of Directors elected Monica Touesnard and Liz Hartman to succeed Matt and David in the roles of President and Vice President, respectively.

Monica Touesnard has been a member of the IPEI Board of Directors for 3 years, has renewed her service to the Board for another 3-year term. While serving as Nomination Chair, Monica was instrumental in coordinating outreach to potential new board members and sharing the work that IPEI does for the District. As president, Monica brings to the role years of experience helping organizations move from conceptual to reality and skills in evaluating opportunities for growth in strategic and thoughtful fashion. She is currently the Associate Director for the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, at Cornell University.

Liz Hartman, a second-year board member of IPEI, has already aided IPEI greatly through her passion for relationship-building and communication, sharing the stories of IPEI's programs with the community, as well as thinking strategically about IPEI's future with our PR and Board discussions. These skills are critical to an organization moving into its third decade supporting local public education.

IPEI Executive Director Steve Manley said, "I'm incredibly grateful for the leadership than Matt has provided to IPEI during his tenure. He will be staying with us on the board and will be a wonderful resource to myself, Liz and Monica, with his experience and excitement. Monica and Liz each bring great passion and professionalism to IPEI, which will serve our organization well as we continue sharing stories of innovative educators and inviting community members to join us and see what happens when we connect our classrooms to our community.

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