Warsaw Education Foundation, is pictured sitting in her office in the Warsaw Community Schools administration building. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union.” style=”max-width:720px;” />
Erin Serafino, executive director of the Warsaw Education Foundation, is pictured sitting in her office in the Warsaw Community Schools administration building. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union.
Erin Serafino has always been interested in nonprofit management that combines all of her passions.
“I am always passionate and always will be for teachers and supporting teachers and schools. And it seemed like a fun way to get involved in the community to support teachers and apply all my areas of expertise,” Serafino said when explaining why she wanted to become the executive director of the Warsaw Education Foundation.
Serafino became executive director of the WEF in December after Barb Smolen retired on June 4.
Serafino worked as a fourth-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School from 2003 to 2007. She got a few grants through the foundation while teaching, so she said she knew about the WEF. Serafino’s mother taught art at Edgewood and also received grants from the WEF.
Serafino also has some experience outside of education with employment at Zimmer Biomet and a company in Colorado.
She said she wanted to spread the word that the WEF is still around. Serafino wants to keep doing what the foundation has been doing, as well as trying new things, and “just keep supporting our teachers and students to make schools in Warsaw even better than they already are.”
One of the WEF’s main fundraisers is the Community Quiz Bowl. Serafino said “because last year we didn’t have it at all and the year before was virtual” it was difficult. “So we really hope to make it work in person. That’s the goal, that’s the plan. And raise a lot of money. And the money goes to teachers who apply for grants who do fun and unique things in their classrooms,” she said.
The Community Quiz Bowl is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 15 at the Tiger Recreation Center at Warsaw Community Secondary School.
Serafino said the WEF has had the Community Quiz Bowl for over 20 years.
“It’s a live quiz,” she said. “You have your table, your team table for up to five people. And we have lots of sponsors so teachers can participate. Thus, many companies in our community have already sponsored teams.
In the past, the bowl was done with pen and paper, where teams submitted their answers and then they were scored.
“This year we’re going to try something new, where we’re using a digital system so they can use an app to respond and that way it will go a bit faster and hopefully be a bit more advanced. technologically than relying on our pen and counting paper,” she said.
The Bowl consists of 60 questions and as many teams as possible in the TRAC.
The way the fundraiser works is that companies provide the WEF with their payments to be part of the quiz bowl. There are three levels of team registration: valedictorian at $2,500, honor roll at $1,000, and team registration at $300 per team. The money goes into the WEF fund and when the grants are ready to go, the money comes out of that fund.
Teams can register online before February 28 at https://forms.gle/VR6HhVdDpPUWG8j79.
People can pay via PayPal via http://paypal.me/warsawedfoundation or by sending checks to Warsaw Educational Foundation, PO Box 1343, Warsaw IN 46581.
Another fundraiser that the WEF does is with Kroger. People can create an account where the money goes into a non-profit organization.
Besides Kroger accounts and the Quiz Bowl, the WEF depends on individual donations.
Examples of past WEF grant recipients include a community garden, a classroom play to re-enact history, and recycling plastics.
“Anything we can see that benefits students and adds creativity to what teachers are already doing and benefits students year after year, we’re interested in hearing about it and supporting it,” she said. .
The number of grants the WEF awards each year depends on the amount of money the foundation raises and the number of teachers who apply for grants.
“We are looking at them all. The Board of Directors (WEF) reviews them. And then they decide if it’s something that aligns with our values and what we could support,” Serafino said.
There are some programs that the WEF has done in the past that Serafino would like to revive.
Serafino said she would like to continue, but does not know if the WEF will be able to continue, the workshop on non-traditional employment opportunities for women. She said she thinks it’s a good thing.
The WEF also organized the Celebration of Excellence, which rewarded the best students in the classes, which Serafino hopes to revive.
She says she is open to new ideas. She said the WEF will be looking at new things to do to support its educators.
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