Opening the door to greater educational opportunities since 1963.
Board of Directors 2019-20
Members of our all-volunteer board come from many different backgrounds and experiences, but they all share the same desire to give students a better chance.
Kelly Streit, President In 2013 Kelly attended her first Edina ABC Gala and was impressed with the speakers and inspired by how the program had changed their lives. She joined the board shortly after and currently serves as President. She has chaired the Gala committee two years, worked on the website and social media, and has been the Rotary liaison. Kelly has two children, a son who graduated from Edina in 2018 and a daughter who graduates in 2020. Her family has served as host family and still maintains a close relationship to the graduated scholar.
Brandon McCray-Reeves, Vice President Brandon was born into this work - literally. His very first home was the Edina ABC house, where his parents served as Resident Directors in the early 1980s. Brandon knows first-hand the quality of education available in Edina schools, which gave him an excellent foundation for college and a successful career in the healthcare business. But he’s also inspired by what else it gives our students. “Through moving and living in a different place, they learn so much about life, relationships, communities, and themselves.”
Laura Horton, Secretary Laura joined the ABC board in Fall of 2018 after attending the spring fundraising gala and hearing moving testimony from senior scholars about how the ABC program changed the trajectory of their lives. Having been a student at EHS she understands the impact the program can make not only on the scholars but also within the high school and community. Laura is a business leader within the community with a passion for inclusion, well-being, and being purpose driven; she offers perspective and advice to keep the program relevant and well-positioned for the future.
Ann Harens, Treasurer Ann has served on the board for nine years. During her time as a student in Edina, she was amazed to see scholars leave their homes to get an education available in her own backyard. She has since witnessed the power of education to enhance the success scholars pursue through their talent and hard work. Ann has welcomed several scholars into her home, where each has taught her and her family about other parts of the country, cultures, and their dreams. Ann holds a BA from St. Catherine University, MBA from University of St. Thomas, and CPA.
Francis Donnelly A graduate of the Edina ABC program in 2001, Francis has experienced firsthand the life-altering impact the program can have for scholars. Having benefited from the generosity of our volunteers and donors as an ABC scholar, he joined the board in 2013 to help ensure opportunities for quality education continue to remain available. Francis has served as chair of the digital outreach committee and as a member of the gala planning and housing committees.
Melissa Grindell Bio coming soon!
Dan Hunt Bio coming soon!
Sarah Kumagai Sarah has been a board member for 25 years, where she has served as host parent for 4 students, on the student and gala committees, and as past board chair. She has seen first-hand ABC working every year to break the cycle of poverty and attests the scholars continue to be a great addition to the community. Sarah holds a B.S. in music education from the University of Minnesota and has been a band director for 32 years, while teaching private lessons and playing clarinet. Additionally, she volunteers her time at Good Samaritan United Methodists Church and sings in the choir.
Steve Kumagai Private wealth advisor by day and rock band guitarist by night, Steve is one half of the dynamic Kumagai duo that has been a pillar of the Edina ABC community for more than 20 years. Steve has been a board member, board chair, and host parent, and as co-founder and committee chair of the Edina ABC Scholarship Fund, he coaches and supports our students on choosing a college and paying for it. Growing up, Steve had the resources and support he needed to be successful, and through Edina ABC he helps pass that on to our students. “I believe A Better Chance creates that type of environment for our scholars,” he said. “It allows them to focus on becoming.”
Jacob McCray-Reeves Benjamin Franklin might have been the first to say “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” but Jacob couldn’t agree more - and not just because he studied Accounting and Business at The University of Kansas. Jacob truly believes there is no greater factor in changing one’s life than education. “I’ve seen first-hand the impact a quality education can make in someone’s life and I am humbled to be a small part of that impact Edina ABC is having on its scholars.” Although his background will extend the Board’s financial and accounting depth, he’s most excited to continue the work of ensuring the Edina ABC program provides the best overall experience for its scholars.
Lisa Nelson Inspired by her community connections, which included ABC board members and host families, Lisa joined the board in 2015. A parent of two sons who attended Edina public schools from K-12, she has volunteered in various ways within the community. Lisa believes the quality of education and leadership opportunities provided by Edina schools could not be offered to a more talented and ambitious group of students than the ABC Scholars.
Theresa Sladek Theresa Sladek has been on the board since August of 2019. As a former student at Edina, she knows the value of the educational system here, as well as the ABC program, and is invested in creating an environment that supports our scholars educationally and emotionally. Theresa currently works at Literacy Minnesota, where she develops partnerships, new business, and marketing around digital literacy assessments and curriculum. She has also provided individual and group counseling at Neighborhood Involvement Program and as an ELL and GED teacher. Theresa received her B.S. in Biology from Lewis and Clark College, and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Thomas.
Morcine Scott-Warren Morcine has long been passionate about access to quality education and sees it as an important social justice issue and contributor to ending the cycle of poverty. She has spent a large part of her career working or volunteering for organizations such as Edina ABC who are committed to the important work of ensuring a level playing field is available for all students. She joined the Edina ABC Board in Fall 2019, where she serves as a member of the Wellness Committee focused on the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of scholars as they matriculate through the program. Morcine envisions a world where young people are able to achieve their goals and dreams by having access to high quality education throughout the course of their lives.
Jeremiah Steele A 2009 graduate of the Edina ABC program, Jeremiah was inspired by the passion and generosity he witnessed as student and joined the board in 2016, where he has served on the gala planning and student committees. Jeremiah graduated from Hamline University in 2013 with a degree in Anthropology.
Amanda Williams Amanda has been a host parent to two ABC students and a board member since 2012, serving as both former Secretary and current Vice President. Amanda counts an excellent education and a great family among her many blessings. “I know I need to share those blessings in all aspects of my life,” says Amanda. She loves working with the other board members and is constantly impressed by our students. “I love the graduation dinner,” she says. “Our students are very inspiring and that’s what keeps me involved.”