Board of Directors
Laura Kaiser – Board Chair
Overland Park, Kansas
Since retiring as an occupational therapist, Laura has devoted her volunteer time and efforts to improving the lives of children and public education. As a long time resident of Kansas she has been involved with PTA at the local, council, state and national levels, including serving as Kansas State PTA President. Laura still serves on the boards of many statewide educational organizations and has been honored to serve on the CIS of Mid-America board for more than eight years. Her other interests include parliamentary law and her sorority.
Richard is an attorney with the law firm of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer in Topeka, Kansas. He grew up in England where he attended the University of Bristol, before moving to Kansas in 2001 where he graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law. Richard lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife, Ellen, and his daughter, Penelope. Richard has served on CIS of Mid-America’s board since January 2014.
Cindy S. Wilson – Treasurer
CPA – Director of Retail Sales – Westar Energy
Cindy Wilson is the Director of Retail Rates for Westar Energy in Topeka, Kansas. Prior to serving as Director of Retail Rates, she was Director of Internal Audit for Westar. Cindy, her husband Travis, and their twin daughters, Brittney and Brianna reside in Topeka, Kansas. Cindy has been very involved in the sports her daughters play, coaching and helping with many teams throughout the years. She now cheers them on in competitive soccer and school sports. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, running and hiking with her family.
Howard was the President of Hesston College in Hesston, Kansas from 2005-2016. A native of Michigan, Howard graduated from Hesston College, Central Michigan University, and then the University of Kansas, where he earned his Ph.D. in Communication Studies. His family has resided in Hesston since 1987. Howard has served on the CISMidAm Board since 2000 because it is one means to fulfill his personal sense of call to change the world. Communities In Schools is the best dropout prevention organization in the country and Howard is pleased to be able to serve on the CISMidAm Board.
Larissa Long – Immediate Past Chair
Senior Manager, External Affairs – Retired
Black Hills Energy
Larissa Long retired as senior manager of External Affairs for Black Hills Energy’s Kansas/Colorado Gas Networks. She has 29 years of utility experience, holding progressive management positions in customer service and community relations. Larissa and her husband, Jim, reside in Lawrence, Kansas. In her spare time she enjoys golf, running and visiting her three young grandsons, who live with their parents in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Randee is the Research Associate in the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s Tulsa office, where she supports grantmaking, research and special projects related to public education initiatives. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2013, Randee worked as a corporate attorney and as counsel to a nonprofit organization. Randee has served for many years as a community volunteer in the areas of education and immigration in Tulsa. Randee graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University and obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa. She is originally from Maryland, but has made her home in Tulsa for her entire adult life.
Dr. Marcia Dvorak
Kansas Enrichment Network
Marcia is the Director of the Kansas Enrichment Network, a statewide coalition focusing on creating programs and opportunities for extended learning opportunities for youth. As a former teacher, director of gifted education, and elementary principal, providing a quality education for our children and youth has always been a top priority and passion. Marcia holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from the University of Kansas, a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Western Illinois University, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Quincy University.
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Overland Park, Kansas
Don has worked for Cisco, worldwide technology leader, for 16+ years. He’s currently a Consulting Systems Engineer covering Tropo for North America and Europe. Additionally, Don is the co-owner of Lucia’s Sarto, a fashion design company based in Kansas City, Missouri’s, Country Club Plaza area. He graduated with Honors from the University of Kansas with Bachelor’s degrees – one in Psychology and another in Human Development and Family Life both with a focus on children and Organizational Behavior Management (OBM). Don also graduated from Rockhurst University with an MBA – focusing his education and experiences on international studies and OBM. Don has served as a member on the Communities in Schools of Mid–America board since 2005, as a way to give back to the community and assist in educating the youth of our future – with an eye on dropout prevention. Don’s experiences vary from military, criminal justice, social and non–profit work, to his current sales focused roles in technology and a local community business – however, he’s always had a focus on the community, education, and corporate social responsibility. He firmly believes in ‘Children First’.
® Senior Vice President – Investment Officer Wells Fargo Advisors Topeka, Kansas Neta Jeffus is a Senior Vice-President – Investment Officer of the Wells Fargo Advisors office in Topeka, Kansas. She has many years of experience in the securities industry. With an emphasis on continuing education, she earned her Certified Professional PlannerTM (CFP®) designation in 1987. She has been active in her local community serving on several boards and co-chairing fund raising activities. Her office annually has a jeans project for The Topeka Rescue Mission. To date they have collected over 13,000 pairs. Neta and her husband, Allen, are actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives. Karen Mintz
Frederic Dorwart, Lawyers
Karen is an attorney at the law firm of Frederic Dorwart, Lawyers. Karen obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto and her Bachelor of Business Administration at York University. She is originally from Toronto, Canada, and has lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for several years with her husband and three boys. Karen recently joined the board of Communities in Schools of Mid-America in order to support its work empowering and supporting students in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa to stay and succeed in school.