PAFE Announces New Board Members

The Panhandle Alliance for Education was very pleased to welcome two new Board members at the non-profit organization’s annual meeting on May 9: Geraldine Lewis and Megan Johnson. The Alliance’s Executive Director, Marcia Wilson, was also named a member of the Board.

Geraldine Lewis, husband Jim, and their four children are long-time Sagle residents. After graduating in Engineering from Gonzaga University, Geraldine worked at Encoder as an engineer for a year. She began developing an interest in public education when her children attended Sagle Elementary School, where she was an active classroom and PTA volunteer. As her kids grew, Geraldine transitioned to volunteering at Sandpoint Middle School and Sandpoint High School. She served on the Panida Board of Directors, from 1995 – 1997, and for the past 14 years has worked part-time at St Joseph’s Church, writing and publishing the bulletin. Geraldine says, “Every time I get involved in community volunteerism, it deepens my commitment here (Sandpoint), and my interest in those who live here.” She adds that she feels it’s important to support our public schools because, “With our decreased state support, I think the community has a duty to do everything possible to make our schools strong and vital.” Geraldine joined the Panhandle Alliance in 2008 as Events Coordinator and worked there until October, 2012. Currently a participant in the 2012-2013 Leadership Sandpoint class, she is learning the fine points of being a community leader; skills which will enhance her service on the Alliance Board. Geraldine is also an active member of the new CARE organization at SHS, which supports teachers, staff and students. She says she hopes to be involved with the Alliance primarily with upcoming strategic programs and with building donor relationships.

Megan Johnson has deep roots in Sandpoint, having grown up and attended elementary through high school here. She graduated from SHS in 2002. Megan attended Whitman College for two years before transferring to the College of Idaho, where she interned as a business analyst in the purchasing department of Micron Technologies in Boise. After graduating from the College of Idaho with a B.A. in Business, she continued at Micron for a year, then moved to Salem, Oregon to attend Willamette University College of Law. While living in Salem, Megan worked in the Civil Recovery division of the Oregon Department of Justice as well as volunteered with Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (S.O.A.R.), a non-profit organization offering legal help to refugees and immigrants. After her graduation, she accepted a position as an associate attorney with Sandpoint’s Berg & McLaughlin. Megan jumped right into volunteering here, including helping out at the Panida, where “the programming enriches our community.” She’s also involved in Relay for Life, a cause she feels strongly about because “almost everyone has been or will be in some way affected by cancer. Relay for Life works with families… and funds research that has advanced many treatments which have a direct impact on people in our community.” Megan is excited about being part of the PAFE board of directors. Her mother was a teacher at Sagle Elementary, and Megan says she grew up “hearing (her) mom and other teachers talk about how even a little extra support and encouragement such as is provided by the Alliance, can make a huge difference in the classroom and to each individual student.” Megan is especially interested in being involved with PAFE’s teacher grant awards.

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 and 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. The Alliance is building a permanent endowment, which is managed by the Idaho Community Foundation and the Inland Northwest Community Foundation. Local citizens are encouraged to help by making donations. To learn more about the Alliance or to make an on-line donation, visit the website at or call Marcia Wilson at 208.263-7040.