President's Message
Check out the video below from the PPS Foundation President, Cindy Morris!
Save the Date for our Annual Golf Outing!
This event is our largest fundraiser and always a lot of fun to participate in. Last year, the private dollars raised through this golf outing supported classroom grants, our Horizons Career Exploration Program, scholarships and so much more.  

Sponsorships are so important to this event. We want to ensure that all funds raised can go directly to support our work with Peoria Public Schools. CLICK HERE to view more information on sponsorship pricing.

Ready to register your foursome? Click on the button below or feel free to contact with any questions!
Volunteers Needed for the Wine & Whiskey Walk!
The 10th Annual Wine and Whiskey Walk is almost here and we are seeking volunteers to help with this fun event! This fundraiser will be held on Saturday, April 22nd from 1-6 pm at the Junction City Shopping Center. Volunteers are needed at the tasting tables to pour drink samples and to setup/cleanup. All volunteers will receive a link for $10 off the admission ticket price so you can still enjoy this event before or after your shift! All the proceeds from this event benefit the PPS Foundation!
PPS Foundation Scholarships Available!
Horizons Program: Speakers Wanted!
For a decade the Horizons Club middle school career exploration program has partnered with community volunteers to expose students across the district to diverse possibilities for their future. We are currently looking for speakers to come into the classroom and share their career story. If you can help, click the button below to see available dates and schools.

If you have any questions, please contact Jaleesha Allen at   
Adopt-A-School Update
Check out the amazing things happening in this program!
First Federated Church has increased their Snack Pack program from Whittier to now include Trewyn. This crew of volunteers are amazing and their support is of course so inspirational. 

Trewyn Little Free Pantry has two supportive sponsors. St. Ann Catholic Church, and Soulside Healing Arts are our new supporters and we are so thankful for them both.

Elise Ford Allen also has a new Little Free Pantry sponsor! Emission Lawn Care will help keep this pantry stocked. We are very grateful. 
The Violet Family has offered a donation to further support our Little Free Pantries at Franklin Primary School and Manual High School. We thank you for this support.
Interested in creating or expanding a school garden? There will be a meeting on Monday, February 20th at 4PM with our Adopt-A-School partners, Friends of Rocky Glen and Illinois Extension Master Gardeners, to gather resources and knowledge. If you are interested in being part of this conversation, please contact our Adopt-A-School Coordinator, Janet Ham, at
We are thrilled to recognize Holly Nelson of Manual High School as the PPS Foundation Hero for February! Coach Nelson's unwavering commitment to her students is evident in everything she does, from her role as the Head Coach of the Girls Basketball team, to her support of dances and events. Her tireless efforts as an educator both in and outside of the classroom make her a shining example of excellence. Congratulations Coach Nelson, and thank you for your incredible impact on the students at Manual High School!
We recently talked with Dr. Jerry Bell, Peoria Public Schools Executive Director for Middle Schools. Read on below to learn more about him!
Thanks for talking with us, Dr. Bell! Before we get into the 5 questions, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Thank you so much for choosing me for this; I'm truly honored!
As for my background, I was born and reared in Arkansas. I grew up in a small town named Dumas and received my formal education in its school system. I received my bachelor's degree from Philander Smith College; my master's degree from the University of Arkansas at Monticello; and my doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The 2022-2023 school year is my 27th year in the education profession, wherein I have taught five years and served as an administrator for the past 22 years (the last eight here in Peoria). My wife, Joe Ann, and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary on July 2nd. Our daughter, Constance, is a freshman at Richwoods High School. 

That's awesome! We are so glad to have you at Peoria Public Schools. What’s your favorite thing about the Peoria area?

My favorite thing about the Peoria area is the quality (and abundance) of dedicated health care professionals. With two major health care systems and a number of physician groups in Peoria, individuals in Peoria and surrounding areas do not have to travel to Chicago, to have their health care needs met. 

Yes, that is definitely a great thing about this area! Do you have a go-to weekend activity?

On the weekend, I like watching sporting events on television and getting as much sleep as possible. With such busy days during the weekday, I do not always have the time or energy to watch sporting events on television or to get quality sleep. On the weekend, however, I always make it a habit to slow down, unplug, and enjoy "me time."  

How about if you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

If I could meet any historical figure, it would be Dr. William Edward Burghardt DuBois, better known as W.E.B. DuBois. As an intellectual and pioneering historian and sociologist, Dr. DuBois advanced his "Talented Tenth" theory. I would love to ask him if he had to do over again, would he change his stance to align with Booker T. Washington or continue to advance his "Talented Tenth" theory.  

That would be an interesting conversation for sure and an awesome person to meet! If you could snap your fingers and immediately learn to do anything, what would it be?

As a little boy, I dreamed of being an airline pilot. If I could snap my fingers and immediately learn to do anything, I would learn to fly a commercial airliner.

That would be very cool! Last question - and it's a tough one - if you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which ones would you pick?

The three apps I would pick are NOAA weather; QR Reader; and SmartNews.

Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Dr. Bell! We truly do appreciate everything you do for PPS students! 
Check Out Buzz Chats: a PPS Foundation Video Series!
Each month we connect with different members of our community to talk about our public schools and how they interact with current events in Peoria. The video chat is streamed live on our Facebook page.

This month we chatted with Sheila Snarr, who helped create the Rick Snarr Enduring Spirit Scholarship for Richwoods High School students. Check out the video to find out more about creating a scholarship with the PPS Foundation.

We also keep old episodes up on our page so scroll through to catch any you may have missed! 
Click the picture below to donate.
All proceeds from the sign advertisement go directly to help Peoria Public School's campaign to improve the stadium property. Feel free to reach out to Jen Adler at for more information on pricing, artwork or any other questions!
Thank You to our Community Partners!
We'd like to give an especially big shout out this month to Starbucks, Hy-Vee in Sheridan Village and K2 Benefits for going above and beyond to further our mission to improve the quality of education in Peoria Public Schools!
PPS Foundation's Board of Directors:
Dan Adler, Andre Allen, Beth Crider, Solivian Dismuke, Maarten de Haas, Alex Elger, Kim McGhee, Cheryl Sanfilip, and Doug Shaw

Ex Officio Board Members:
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat (PPS Superintendant) and Mike Murphy (PPS Board of Education)

PPS Foundation's Staff:
Cindy Morris - President
Trish O'Shaughnessy - Director of Programming & Community Engagement
Jen Adler - Administrative Director
Janet Ham - Adopt-A-School Coordinator
Matt Violet - Data and Programming Logistics Coordinator
Jaleesha Allen - Career Program Coordinator
Annalee Anderson - Career Tech Advocate
Ellie de Buhr - Career Tech Advocate
Catherine Murray - Career Tech Advocate
Olivia Smith - Career Tech Advocate