The PPS Foundation recognizes that we have so many AMAZING people who are involved in our Peoria Public Schools community.  Check out the list below for those who have been awarded the PPS Foundation HERO or SHERO of the month.  These individuals have gone above and beyond to improve and strengthen Peoria Public Schools, and we are truly grateful for their time and talents.


March 2022: Michelle  Seipel, PPS Director of Technology

Congratulations to Michelle Seipel for being our PPS Foundation Hero of the Month! In her role as Director of Technology for Peoria Public Schools, Michelle has always gone above and beyond to help the Foundation with our technology concerns. She is always willing to troubleshoot issues, allowing us to get the vital technology component of our programs up and running, and will jump to the rescue when things don’t go as planned. We are very grateful for all work she puts into making our technology run.  Thank you for all you do, Michelle!


February 2022: Michael Brix, Instructor of Work-Based Learning at Woodruff Career & Technical Center

Congratulations to our PPS Foundation HERO of the month - Michael Brix! Mr. Brix is an instructor at Woodruff Career & Technical Center (WCTC) where he teaches Work-Based Learning of the Construction Industry and about renewable energy. He's also a representative for the Peoria Federation of Teachers.  Mr. Brix has been so supportive of the PPS Foundation for the last several years. He regularly volunteers and attends our fundraising events and was extremely helpful in building and maintaining the mini golf holes for the Peoria School House Open - an event that raises funds for PPS Middle School Athletics.  When we contacted WCTC principal, Arnie Spiker, to let him know about Michael's award, he immediately said, "he is so deserving!" and we definitely agree. Congrats, Mr. Brix and thank you for all you do for Peoria Public Schools!


January 2022: Connie Graves, Von Steuben Middle School

Congratulations to our PPS Foundation HERO of the month - Connie Graves! Connie is a powerhouse at Von Steuben Middle School. She has gone above and beyond helping do whatever is needed with our Von Steuben Horizons program...from finding space and technology for the students to use during club time, to coordinating Horizons field trip permission slips and attending trips. She has always jumped right in with enthusiasm and great ideas. We are privileged to work with her.  


December 2021: Lyndsay Griepentrog, Starbucks Coffee District Manager - Central Illinois North

Congratulations to our PPS Foundation HERO of the month - Lyndsay Griepentrog!  Lyndsay is the District Manager - Central Illinois North for Starbucks Coffee Company. Over the years, Starbucks has been a strong supporter of the PPS Foundation. They always provide us with coffee for our 365 Breakfast plus numerous coffee items for our PPS staff each year. Lyndsay coordinates these gifts in kind for us and has been so wonderful to work with. She always goes above and beyond to support Peoria Public Schools. Thank you and congrats, Lyndsay!


November 2021: Dave Meyers, PPS Director of Buildings and Grounds

Our November HERO is the Director of Buildings and Grounds for Peoria Public Schools, Dave Meyers! We have seen first hand how incredibly hard Dave works to maintain the district's property. Cindy Morris recently said that when she visits each school with the superintendent on her yearly first day of class visits, she is in awe of how great PPS buildings and grounds look. Dave has also been an awesome supporter of all of our Foundation events and helps us with coordinating many sponsorship opportunities. Congrats, Dave - and thank you for all you do!


October 2021: Janet Ham, Community Volunteer and PPS Parent

Our October SHERO is community volunteer and PPS parent, Janet Ham. Janet is the past president of Whittier Primary School's PTO, where her three boys attend school. She also recently spearheaded a capitol campaign and West Bluff community effort to install a new playground on the Whittier campus. This effort not only enhances the experience for all Whittier students but helped created a needed community space for all West Bluff children. Janet is wonderful to work with and we are so appreciative of all that she does to improve our community. Congrats and thank you for all you do, Janet!


September 2021: Andrew Muir, former PPS Foundation Board Member and Peoria Public Schools Alum

Our September HERO is long-time Peoria Public Schools Foundation friend, Andrew Muir! Andrew is a former PPS Foundation Board Member and still continues to be an active supporter of the foundation. He participates in many of our events, and frequently helps us by underwriting our marketing materials. He is a proud Whittier and Manual alum and has helped those schools over the years with projects and fundraising. Our staff loves working with Andrew immensely.


August 2021: Matt Fogelmark, PPS Print Shop

Our August HERO is long-time Peoria Public Schools employee, Matt Fogelmark! Matt works at the Print Shop located at the Roy Ricketts Center and is the PPS Foundation's go-to-guy for all of our printing needs. Matt always goes above and beyond to make our marketing material look good. Between printing material for the entire PPS school district and the PPS Foundation, we are constantly impressed with his flexibility, work ethic and communication style. He is one of the easiest people to work with, and we could not be more grateful to be able to work with him.


Past Recipients of our HERO/SHERO Award:

July 2021 No one in particular this month.  Our community is full of volunteers that care!

June 2021 No one in particular this month.  We love all of our PPS volunteers and supporters!

May 2021 Geri Hammer, Director of Employee Services at Peoria Public Schools

April 2021 Dr. Thom Simpson, retired PPS Administrator

March 2021 Shar'Ron Ford, Front Desk Gatekeeper at Manual High School

February 2021 Mike Illuzzi, Mentor, Volunteer and Retired PPS Principal

January 2021 No one in particular this month.  We have an amazing community of volunteers and supporters!

December 2020 Pam Wiley, Director of the Food Pantry at the PPS Wraparound Center

November 2020 Dr. Susan Grzanich, Innovation and Grants Officer and Director, Woodruff Career and Technical Center

October 2020 Brittany Duffield, Junction City Property Manager and Realtor

September 2020 Stacy Hardin, Owner of Book Rack Used Books & Gifts

August 2020 Alex O'Shaughnessy, PPS Graduate and Foundation Volunteer

July 2020 Elise Scheil, Hy-Vee Store Director

June 2020 Michael Murphy, PPS Foundation Volunteer and PPS Parent

May 2020:  No one in particular this month - You are all awesome!

April 2020 No one in particular this month - Shout out to all the wonderful people in our community!

March 2020 Barbara Pierce, PPS Communications Specialist 

February 2020 Tracey Jones, PPS Executive Administrative Assistant

January 2020:  Jitske (Jetty) Miedema-Fox, Culinary Arts Program at Woodruff Career & Technical Center

December 2019:  Alex Romero, Administrative Building's Daytime Custodian 

November 2019:  Naomi Armstrong, PPS Administrative Assistant

October 2019:  Mary Newman-Evans, English Teacher at Manual

September 2019 Lillian Bishop, PPS Transportation Department

August 2019 Stan Hangen, Community Liaison at Manual