December 2021
President's Message
As we wrap up 2021, we are truly thankful for all who have supported Peoria Public Schools with their time, talents or donations this year. We couldn't do what we do without you. Please know that you are so appreciated, and we wish everyone the happiest of holidays this winter season!
Join us for our Annual 365 Breakfast!
We are excited for this annual event!

This year's event will be similar to last year with a drive-through breakfast pickup at Hy-Vee in Sheridan Village and a virtual program live streamed on our Facebook page at 9:30 AM. PPS Alum and the Chief Financial Officer for AutoZone, Jamere Jackson, will be our featured speaker.

The donations raised through our 365 Annual Giving Fund provide vital funding for many of our programs that support Peoria Public Schools. We thank you in advance for your generosity!
Meet this year's 365 Breakfast Speaker -
Jamere Jackson!
Jamere Jackson, a graduate of Peoria Public Schools, is the Chief Financial Officer for AutoZone, a multi-billion dollar retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories. Jamere joined AutoZone in September 2020 and became the first African-American CFO in the company’s 41 year history. Jamere also serves on the Board of Directors of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company where he is the Chair of the Audit Committee, and the Board of Directors of Hibbett Sports, a leading athletic-inspired fashion retailer. 

Jamere received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1990, where he was also a two-year co-captain of the Men’s Basketball team and earned Dean’s List honors for academic achievement. He is a certified public accountant, has served on corporate advisory boards at the University of Notre Dame and Albany State University, and on non-profit boards at Future 5 in Stamford, CT and Peoria's Tri-County Urban League. Jamere was also named by Savoy Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America and by the Financial Times as one of the top 100 ethnic-minority executives in business.
Adopt-A-School Update:
Making the Grade Conference 
Making the Grade Conferences were held at Roosevelt, Harrison, Sterling, Lincoln, and Glen Oak Schools during the weeks of November 15th and November 29th. Fifteen community members visited with 77 sixth grade students that were selected by the staff. In 15-minute sessions, the mentors met one-on-one to review with the students their most recent progress report. They also covered topics such as homework, absenteeism, referrals, experience in school, and planning for the future.

The program provides students with a way to help them reflect on their academic performance and to motivate them for the rest of the semester. This personalized attention assists students in getting the help they need, if necessary. Past conferences have helped identify students who may need enrichment, tutoring, social support, or other types of assistance to help them reach their utmost potential. Our goal is to make sure that no student gets left behind in his or her schoolwork or “falls through the cracks” of Peoria’s support systems.

Want to help? Volunteers will be needed again in the spring to meet with students. Contact to be put on the list.
Pictured above: Making the Grade Conferences at Harrison Community Learning Center in November 2021
See It Be It Speakers Needed!
The K-5 See It Be It career program is BACK! Career speakers are needed to share with students across the district. We would love for you to be a part of the program. Watch this newsletter and our Facebook page for sign-up details and other information. As we like to say, "if they can see it, they can be it."
If you have any questions about being a career speaker, please contact Trish O’Shaughnessy at 
For this month's Take 5, we chatted with our Adopt-A-School coordinator, Sarah Oakford. Sarah took on this role in 2016 and has revitalized this program for our school district. Our Little Free Pantries, Making the Grade Conferences and Principal for a Day all fall under Sarah's leadership of the Adopt-A-School program. Read on to get to know Sarah a little better!
What’s something that happened recently that made you smile?

I got a phone call from my college kid.

How about if you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which ones would you pick?

Facebook, Life360 (kids), and this time of year - Hallmark Movie Checklist!

If you could snap your fingers and immediately learn to do anything, what would it be? To be able to sing.

On that note, what’s your favorite Holiday song?

For traditional: I'll be Home for Christmas, but if we're talking Contemporary then Jingle Bell Rock.
And how do you celebrate the Holiday season?

I celebrate with my family and friends.

Thanks for chatting with us, Sarah. Keep up the good work with the Adopt-A-School program!
Congratulations to our PPS Foundation HERO of the month - Lyndsay Griepentrog!

Lyndsay is the District Manager - Central Illinois North for Starbucks Coffee Company. Over the years, Starbucks has been a strong supporter of the PPS Foundation. They always provide us with coffee for our 365 Breakfast plus numerous coffee items for our PPS staff each year. Lyndsay coordinates these gifts in kind for us and has been so wonderful to work with. She always goes above and beyond to support Peoria Public Schools. Thank you and congrats, Lyndsay!
Check Out our Latest Buzz Chat Videos!
This past month, we chatted with two members of our PPS Foundation Board - Solivian Dismuke and Daniel Musisi and also our Adopt-A-School coordinator and two of our Adopters - Dan Phillips from First United Methodist Church and Andrea Tortora from Rotary's Peoria North Club. Check out the latest videos below!

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. All chats can be viewed live on our Facebook page on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM. Not able to catch it live? No problem, the videos will stay posted on our page so scroll through to watch any you missed.
Ad spots are available on the new electronic sign located on the PPS Stadium property. The sign has great visibility for both eastbound and westbound traffic on War Memorial Drive. $300 per week or $1,000 per month spots are available. Artwork must be in a 2100 x 900 jpg file. The sign is 14 feet wide by 6 feet tall.

All proceeds for sign advertisement go directly to help Peoria Public School's campaign to improve the stadium property. Please message with any questions.
PPS Foundation's Board of Directors:
Dan Adler, Andre Allen, Ruth Bittner, Solivian Dismuke, Maarten de Haas, Alex Elger, Daniel Musisi, Cheryl Sanfilip, and Cathy Wiggers

PPS Foundation's Staff:
Cindy Morris - President
Jen Adler - Administrative Director
Sarah Oakford - Adopt-A-School Coordinator
Trish O'Shaughnessy - Director, Community Engagement & Horizons Program
Annalee Anderson - Career Tech Advocate
Ella Dancey - Career Tech Advocate
Sara Montgomery - Career Tech Advocate
Olivia Smith - Career Tech Advocate
Matt Violet - Horizons and See It Be It Career Exploration Programming Logistics Coordinator