James C. Rahn, President email
Michael Senske, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
Greg Forster, Program Director email
Fred Oaks, Program Director email
Ryan Olson, Program Director email
Karen Wilken, Program Director email
Kyle Bode, Program Director email
Doug Melton, Program Director email
Richard T. Mannisto, Director of Partnerships email
Michael Jahr, Director of Communications email
Drew Cleveland, Program Associate email
Donna Gunther, Office Manager email
Jacquelyn Krecklow, Executive Assistant email
Pat Morgan, Administrative Assistant email
Clement Mariaselvanayagam, Grants and Network Administrator email
Jerry Valerio, Bookkeeper
Victoria Hechtman, Communications Assistant email
Jessica Zambo, Video Producer/Editor email
James C. Rahn
James C. Rahn became president of the Kern Family Foundation in February, 2008. In this role, he provides direction for expanding existing programs and establishing new programs in support of the Foundation’s mission to build the future through values, education and innovation. He joined the Foundation in September, 2007 as the Education Reform Program Director. Before joining the Foundation, he spent six years as Director of the Center for Urban Teaching and Assistant Professor of Education at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Prior to his work in higher education, he served in K-12 Lutheran schools as teacher, principal and regional school coordinator.
B.S., Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN
M.A., Concordia University, River Forest, IL
American Enterprise Institute - National Council Member
Charter School Growth Fund, Inc. - Director
Compass Educational Partners, Inc. - Co-founder & Director
EAGLE South Mountain Charter, Inc - Director
EAGLE South Mountain Property, Inc. - Director
Educational Enterprises, Inc. - Director
Educational Enterprises Real Estate Holding Co., LLC - Director
HOPE Christian Schools, Inc. - Co-founder & Director
Project Lead the Way - Director
Alliance for Choices in Education - Director
Center for Humanities, Art, and Religion in Society - Director
School Choice Demonstration Project - Senior Research Associate
Urban School Leadership Consortium - Member of Collaborative Council
WELS Forward with Lutheran Schools - Lead Consultant
WELS Parish Assistant - Associate Consultant
Chief Financial Officer
Michael Senske joined the Kern Family Foundation in October, 2005. He manages the asset allocation and investment process, consultant and investment manager relationships and administrative duties. He also manages financial reporting, internal accounting, taxes, budgets, payroll and benefits in accordance with Foundation policies, goals and objectives.
B.S. in Accountancy, Marquette University
Certified Public Accountant
Controller, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, 2000-2005
Tax Manager, Vogel Consulting Group, 1997-2000
Tax Accountant, Scribner, Cohen & Co., 1995-1997
Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Foundation Financial Officers Group Member
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Program Director; Faith, Work and Economics
Greg Forster is a Program Director for the Faith, Work, and Economics Program. He directs the Oikonomia Network, a national learning community of evangelical seminaries committed to equipping pastors with a theological understanding of faith, work, and economics, and how they relate to the pastoral calling. In addition to his duties at the Foundation, he is the editor of Hang Together, a group blog on religion, politics and national identity; a senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice; the author of five books and numerous articles in both academic and popular publications; and a regular contributor to The Gospel Coalition, First Thoughts, Jay P. Greene’s Blog and The Public Discourse. His writing covers theology, economics, political philosophy, and education policy. He received a doctorate with distinction in political philosophy from Yale University.
Ph.D. with Distinction in Political Science, Yale University, 2002
M.A. in Political Science, Yale University, 2002
B.A. summa cum laude in Political and Social Thought in Rhetoric and Communications
Studies, University of Virginia, 1995
Director of Research, Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, 2005-2008
Senior Research Associate, Manhattan Institute, 2002-2005
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice - Senior Fellow
The Joy of Calvinism
Crossway Books, 2012
Freedom and School Choice in American Education (ed. with C. Bradley Thompson)
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
Starting with Locke
Continuum Press, 2011
The Contested Public Square: The Crisis of Christianity and Politics
InterVarsity Press, 2008
Education Myths (with Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters)
Rowman & Littlefield, 2005
John Locke’s Politics of Moral Consensus
Cambridge University Press, 2005
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Fred Oaks came to the Kern Family Foundation in May, 2005. He directs the Pastoral Ministry Program, which exists to develop exceptional pastors to lead healthy churches. The centerpiece of the Pastoral Ministry Program is the Kern Scholars Initiative through which the Foundation provides grants to eight evangelical seminaries in support of scholarships awarded to Master of Divinity students called to pastor U.S. congregations. With Foundation consultant Ian M. Chapman, he advises on all aspects of the development, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives related to pastoral ministry, including the Pre-seminary Initiative, the Kern Scholars Initiative, and the Post-graduate Initiative.
Bachelor of Arts, Augustana College Rock Island, IL
Master of Divinity, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary
Pastor serving congregations in rural, urban, and suburban contexts as associate pastor,
solo pastor, and lead pastor of multiple staff, 1981-2005
Consultant with the Indianapolis Center for Congregations
Author of several articles on pastoral leadership published in Congregations, Leadership
Journal, and Upper Room Disciplines
Author of Welcome, Pastor!: Building a Productive Pastor-Congregation Partnership in 40
Days (FaithWalk Publishing, 2005)
Green Lake Conference Center - Director
Christians for Biblical Equality - Member
Religious Research Association - Member
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion - Member
Society of Biblical Literature - Member
Ryan OlsonProgram Director and Team Leader, K-12 Education Reformemail
Dr. Ryan Olson joined the Kern Family Foundation in June 2008 as Program Director and Team Leader for the K-12 Education Reform Program. In this role, he works closely with other senior staff in program planning, development, and strategy implementation to advance the foundation's mission in education reform
. His work involves identifying and vetting new investment opportunities, analyzing the strategy of current and potential grantee organizations, evaluating performance, and working closely with executives to connect their operations with the Foundation's values and donor intent. Olson was Director of Education Policy for three years at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Mich., and developed a passion for education reform while teaching first-year undergraduates. He earned a doctorate in classical languages and literature from the University of Oxford, and is the author of current and forthcoming works in ancient history, classics, and education published by Oxford University Press, Harvard University Press and Brill. He is a Fellow in Late Antiquity at the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University. Education
D.Phil., Classical Languages and Literature, University of Oxford
M.St., Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
M.A., Theology, Durham University
Diploma in Christian Studies, Regent College
B.A., Theology, North Park UniversityAffiliations
Harvard University, Center for Hellenic Studies – Fellow
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Program Director, K-12 Education Reform
Karen Wilken joined the Kern Family Foundation in September 2002 as the first program staff member. Working with the Kern family, Wilken was responsible for the development of strategic initiatives, and was involved in the selection of the initial Kern Scholars and the establishment of the Kern Scholars retreat as a key networking event. At the same time, she originated grants to engineering colleges that eventually catalyzed both the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network and the partnership with Project Lead the Way. Beginning in 2004, Wilken focused on the PLTW partnership in order to build a leadership and school implementation network in a four-state region. The network has grown to more than 520 middle and high schools with aligned university, agency, and community partners. Her current work is focused on serving the Foundation’s K-12 Education Reform Program.
Prior to joining the Kern Family Foundation, Wilken enjoyed a long career in fundraising for organizations in both Texas and Wisconsin, including the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Medical College of Wisconsin and the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. She was honored in 2008 as a “Woman of Influence” by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Bachelor of Arts, Economics and Business Management, Ripon College, Ripon WI
Master of Business Administration, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
Master of Arts, Non-Profit Management, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
Donor’s Forum of Wisconsin - Board Member
American Society of Engineering Education - Member
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Program Director and Team Leader; Faith, Work, and Economics
Kyle Bode is Program Director and Team Leader for the Faith, Work, and Economics Program. Bode works with other senior staff to plan, develop, and implement grant strategies that strengthen the understanding of the intersection of faith, work, and economics, and how it applies to the work of pastors and the life of the church. He joined the Foundation in 2008, and served as a program associate and Program Director of Theological Education Initiatives.
B.A in American History and English, Wisconsin Lutheran College
M.A. in Modern American History, Marquette University
Research Assistant, Marquette University, 2007-2008
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Dr. Douglas Melton is passionate about developing a future for engineering education that fosters an entrepreneurial mindset in students. In his current role as the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) Program Director for the Kern Family Foundation, he has an opportunity to work with universities that share that vision. He enjoys interaction with faculty and students and the challenge of relating technical topics in a live and relevant manner and served as a faculty member for seventeen years within the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. At Kettering, he served as the Program Director for Entrepreneurship Across the University. Prior to his roles as a faculty member, Melton worked as the Director of Research and Development at Digisonix Incorporated. His team created adaptive, multi-channel system identification, signal processing and control strategies. The active sound and vibration control products and projects he managed ranged from DSP development tools to production DSP systems for OEM products. The work combined business, technical, educational aspects and contributed to his current work in engineering education. Dr. Melton joined the Kern Family Foundation in 2012 as Program Director for KEEN. The program is aimed at developing future generations of entrepreneurially-minded engineers by investing in educational initiatives and programs at select institutions of higher learning.
Ph. D., University of Wisconsin-Madison in Electrical Engineering
M.S., Ohio State University in Electrical Engineering
B.S.E.E., Wichita State University
Director of Research and Development, Digisonix Inc.
Richard T. Mannisto
Director of Partnerships
Rich Mannisto began serving the Kern Family Foundation in April 2012. As Director of Partnerships, he connects the program team, grantees and national experts in carrying forward the vision of the Kern Family Foundation. In addition he directs special projects for the Foundation, which expands the reach and impact of the Kern Family’s philanthropic vision. Prior to working with the foundation, Rich served as a non-profit fundraising consultant, mission advancement director, Fine Arts administrator, high school band director, and elementary music teacher. Rich has received numerous awards including the 2006 Wisconsin Excellence in Teaching Music award and the 2010 National Rising Star in Fundraising award.
B.A., Music Education, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI
M.M., VanderCook College of Music, Chicago, IL
Partnership for Philanthropic Planning - Member
Rotary International District 6270 – Assistant Governor
Wauwatosa Rotary Club – President
Wisconsin Foundation for School Music – Director
Association of Concert Bands – Director
Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member
Badger Boys State – Director
Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band – Founding Conductor
Milwaukee Public Schools Music Task Force – Director
Music Educators National Association – National Convention Chair
Soli Deo Gloria Institute for the Arts – Co-founder and Director
Wisconsin Music Educators Association - Director
Director of Communications
Michael Jahr joined the Kern Family Foundation as the Director of Communications in August, 2012. In this role, Jahr crafts and implements targeted communications strategies, oversees the creation and dissemination of content, and manages social media and digital communications. He works closely with program staff, grantees, and partners to effectively communicate the guiding principles, vision and ongoing work of the Foundation’s initiatives.
Prior to joining the Foundation in August 2012, Jahr served as Vice President for Communications at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Mich. From 1995 to 2005 he served as the communications director and press secretary for a U.S. congressman in Washington, D.C.
Jahr has worked for a variety of media outlets, including National Geographic, The Ann Arbor News and Compass Newswire. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Detroit News and numerous other outlets.
B.S. in Journalism, Eastern Michigan University
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Drew Cleveland joined the Kern Family Foundation in August 2011. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech) with a bachelor’s degree in History and International Affairs. Prior to the foundation, he worked for the Trinity Forum, a non-profit dedicated to the transformation of society through the transformation of its leaders. He was a Fellow of the Trinity Forum Academy. During a short time in graduate school, he worked as the aide to the Executive Director of the Advisory Council on Voluntary Foreign Assistance at the US Agency for International Development. His passion is to connect ideas, individuals, and institutions with research and resources, for the advancement of the Christian church and the American civilization.
B.A. History – Virginia Tech
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Jerry Valerio joined the Kern Family Foundation in July, 2010. Where able, he provides bookkeeping and adminstrative support on a part-time basis. Most recently, he served as Business Manager of Wisconsin Lutheran High School for 13 years and reached retirement in March, 2010.
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Donna Gunther joined the Kern Family Foundation in April, 2007 as an administrative assistant. She manages the office and provides administrative support to the President and CFO.
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Jacquelyn Krecklow joined the Kern Family Foundation in March 2013. Originally from Mukwonago, Wis., Krecklow balanced her full-time career with night classes at Waukesha County Technical College, where she earned her associate degree in applied science, and Cardinal Stritch University, where she received her B.S. in management. Experienced in organization, project management, and innovative problem solving, she worked at Waterstone Mortgage Corporation before bringing her skills to the Foundation. As an executive assistant, Krecklow organizes and manages the schedules, travel plans, processes, and grantee reports of several program directors. Her passion for developing productive relationships and her motivation to achieve success make her integral to the Foundation’s efforts.
Krecklow currently lives in Pewaukee, Wis. Outside of the office, she can be found enjoying time with family and friends, as well as maintaining an energetic and healthy lifestyle.
Associate of Applied Science, Waukesha County Technical College
B.S. in Management, Cardinal Stritch University
Waterstone Mortgage Corporation, 2002-2008; 2009-2013
Metavante (now known as FIS), 2009
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Pat joined the Kern Family Foundation in October, 2008. She provides administrative support to all programs.
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Grants and Network Administrator
Clement Mariaselvanayagam joined the Kern Family Foundation in July, 2010. He handles all Grant and Network Administration.
BSc in Applied Physics, York University, Toronto, Ontario
Network Administrator, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, 2006-2010
Systems Analyst, Compuware Corporation, 1999-2006
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Victoria Hechtman joined the Kern Family Foundation in January 2013. She graduated from Grove City College with dual degrees in communication and political science. Her research experience in college and internship at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy helped her develop a passion for ideas that she now applies to the Foundation. Victoria's duties consist of editing, website management, and social media upkeep.
B.A. Communication Studies, Grove City College
B.S. Political Science, Grove City College
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Jessica Zambo joined the Kern Family Foundation as video producer and editor in January 2013. Jessica brings extensive video experience to the Foundation, having worked for her family video production company from an early age. Her experience ranges from set decoration and camera work to editing and directing – including serving as assistant director and co-producer for a full-length feature film.
B.A. Communications, Wisconsin Lutheran College
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