Allison Struck brings passion for education, as well as valuable work experience, to her role as the first, full-time executive director of the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation. She begins her duties today (July 16).
Struck previously worked as a program manager and coordinator at Feeding South Dakota, a highly regarded, statewide, hunger-relief organization that has its headquarters in Sioux Falls.
She has had close ties to education throughout her life, and she is a proud graduate of public schools. “This position was a natural fit for me,” she said. “I’m really excited and looking forward to the opportunities we have.”
The Education Foundation champions the cause of teachers and students throughout the School District by raising money for innovative teaching projects not funded by tax dollars. The organization also provides grants to first-time teachers to help them buy classroom supplies.
The recent hiring of Struck represents a significant milestone for the Education Foundation, which is governed by a Board comprised of volunteers. In recent years, the Board has been assisted by part-time employees that have helped coordinate business matters and promote the organization. However, Board members have been planning for years to hire an executive directive. The goal is to raise more money for grants to help more students and more teachers in the steadily growing school system.
Plans for hiring an executive director earned the support of Superintendent Brian Maher and the Sioux Falls School Board. However, Struck will report to the nonprofit Education Foundation, which is separate from the school system but works closely with it.
“We are thrilled to welcome Allison as our first Executive Director,” said Stephanie Gongopoulos, who chairs the Education Foundation Board. “She comes from a family of educators and has a true passion for education. We were impressed with the energy, ideas and excitement that she brought to the interview process.”
Struck’s primary responsibilities will include helping raise money for grants by increasing awareness of the Education Foundation and its positive mission, Gongopoulos said. “We believe Allison will do a wonderful job telling the stories of how we are positively impacting students and teachers for the benefit of the entire community.”
Struck is a Yankton, S.D. native and a December 2010, honors graduate of the University of South Dakota.
“My parents always valued education. That’s something we focused on in our home. I always bring that with me.” Her father is an elementary school principal entering his 40th year in education, and her sister is a teacher in Brookings, S.D.
Her husband, Cole Robbins, is a mortgage loan originator at US Bank in Sioux Falls. Her husband also happens to be a graduate of South Dakota State University, which adds an element of college rivalry to their relationship that’s a lot of fun, Struck said.
She spent the last seven years at Feeding South Dakota, most recently as the Child Hunger Program Manager. Her duties there included leading and coordinating the organization’s backpack, school food pantry and after-school snack programs. She worked with dozens of school and community officials and with thousands of volunteers. She also assisted with marketing and outreach.
Struck said she enjoyed working for Feeding South Dakota and wasn’t looking for a new job when she learned about the opening at the Education Foundation. But the prospect of helping schools was a powerful attraction.
“My experience at Feeding South Dakota definitely prepared me for a job like this,” she said. “This is a natural fit for me.”
She expects to spend a lot of time during her first month listening and learning from school officials, community leaders and donors. That will help bring focus to her work. “Everything we do at the Education Foundation ultimately will be for the benefit of the district’s staff and students,” she said.
About the Education Foundation
The Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation champions teachers and students by encouraging, promoting and funding creative and innovative teaching strategies in order to enhance and enrich education in all Sioux Falls Public Schools. For more information about the nonprofit organization, see www.SFEducationFoundation.org.