In the News

“The Panhandle Alliance for Education is one of the few charities in our community that impacts nearly everyone,” says Georgia Simmons. “Beneficiaries of the Alliance’s programs include children, parents, grandparents, daycare providers, teachers, and school administrators – so many people in this community! That’s why I’m very proud to have re-joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors.”

Georgia took a Board position soon after Bill Berg and Mindy Cameron founded the Alliance in 2003, and served for eight years before taking a sabbatical. Now she feels she’s ready to come back and give her considerable talents and energy to the Panhandle Alliance for Education.

Community involvement has long been an important part of Georgia’s life. While living and working in New York City, she was a member of the Committee Concerned for Children (CCC), which dealt with life-threatening or terminal illness for under privileged children. She received the “Woman of the Year Award” for her work with the CCC in 1996. After arriving in our community, it was obvious that education was the biggest need for our children.

Georgia’s impressive career in the retail field began in 1971. Among her positions was that of Executive Vice President of Newport News, a Catalog Division of Spiegel, Inc. part of the multi-million dollar international catalog company, Otto Versand. She moved to Sandpoint in 1998 when she joined Coldwater Creek as Vice President and Director of Merchandising. In 1999, she was promoted to President of Catalog and Retail Sales Divisions and in 2002, became President and Chief Merchandising Officer. She received a “Life Time Achievement Award” from the International Fashion Group in 2000. Georgia retired at the end of January, 2011.

Married for 32 years to Howard Simmons, Georgia and her husband, who is also retired, remain involved in the Sandpoint community, particularly in the areas of children and health. Returning to the Panhandle Alliance Board was a decision Georgia made without reservations: “I’ve been so pleased with the outstanding long-term planning capability of this organization. During the eleven years the Board has served our community, I’ve seen that its members thoughtfully consider not only the immediate needs of our educational system but also its long-term needs. The Board works so well with the school district administration and teachers to determine what’s best for students.”

Georgia continues, “The Panhandle Alliance for Education understands that many of the issues that exist in our community can be resolved by having great schools, and PAFE is doing something about that. One of the reasons the Lake Pend Oreille School District is such a fine educational system is because of the strong, steady partnership between the Alliance and our schools.”
She adds, emphatically, “The Panhandle Alliance for Education is truly one of the best investments in time and money anyone could make.”

The Panhandle Alliance for Education is a non-profit organization composed of local citizens, businesses and educators with the mission of promoting excellence in education and broad-based community support for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Donations are distributed as a working pool of money used to fund local teacher grants, a district-wide reading program, and READY! for Kindergarten, a national program providing early childhood literacy classes for parents of children from birth to age five. To learn more about the Panhandle Alliance or to make an on-line donation, visit the website at www.panhandleallinace.org or call Marcia Wilson at 208.263-7040. For information on the READY! for Kindergarten program, go to www.readysandpoint.org. Please visit the Panhandle Alliance for Education’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/panhandlealliance. We hope you will “like” us!

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