In the News

Sandpoint, ID – The recently elected Panhandle Alliance for Education Executive Committee is ready and eager to contribute to the nonprofit’s support of the Lake Pend Oreille School District.

Board President and Executive Committee Chairperson Geraldine Lewis was elected to the LPOSD Board as well as to the post of president of PAFE in May of 2015. Geraldine attended Gonzaga University where she received a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering in 1989 and met her future husband, Jim. Geraldine became involved in the community as a member of the Panida Board from 1995 – 1997 and through St. Joseph’s church. She soon became involved in volunteer work at Sagle School in the classroom and on the PTA. As her four children grew, she transitioned from volunteer work at Sagle School, right on through Sandpoint Middle and High Schools. She worked as an engineer at Encoder for one year, and has worked part-time for St. Joseph’s writing and publishing their bulletin for the past 14 years. She worked for PAFE as event coordinator from 2008-2012. Geraldine participated in the 2012-2013 Leadership Sandpoint class and is an active member of the CARE organization at SHS, working to support teachers, staff and students. Geraldine credits her years working at PAFE as a major catalyst in her interest in education and community involvement.

Having lived in Bonner County since 1969, Executive Committee Vice President Allison Gilmore has seen many changes in our community and our schools. She completed her secondary education at Sandpoint High School and then earned several degrees from the University of Idaho. She has taught Adult Basic Education, ESL and GED classes for North Idaho College, as well as administering several federal education grant programs for Idaho’s five northern counties. She retired from teaching at Sandpoint Middle School several years ago but continues to enjoy working as a “humble guest teacher,” aka substitute. .An avid gardener, Allison helped initiate Bonner County’s Master Gardener program. She is a fervent skier and devoted fan of the many outdoor activities our area has to offer. She enjoys travels far and near with her husband, Dan Jacobson. Allison maintains her passion for public education by serving on Panhandle Alliance’s Grant, Gala and Resource Development committees. The Grants Committee is a particular favorite for her because it helps provide so many new and innovative programs.

Kelly Prior, PAFE Executive Committee CFO, joined Litehouse in 2002 as controller, was appointed to CFO in 2005 and added executive vice president to his responsibilities in 2010.Kelly graduated from Eastern Washington University with a degree in Business Administration and immediately obtained his license as a Certified Public Accountant. He has more than 15 years of experience in business management, finance and leadership. His career started with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he became Manager of Business Assurance. Other positions Kelly has held include Director of Internal Audit for Eastern Washington University and Controller and CFO of Medinex Systems. In addition to his formal training, Kelly gained the valuable skills of entrepreneurship while working in his family’s arts and crafts business for over 10 years and holding positions from stock clerk to bookkeeper.Kelly has been involved with many aspects of the community in Sandpoint and neighboring Spokane, Washington including Board Member for the Sandpoint Area Chamber of Commerce and instructor for Junior Achievement on multiple occasions.

Kelly and his wife Diane have two sons, Jackson 11 and Parker 10, and spend their free time traveling, camping and enjoying other family activities.

Chris Bessler, the Executive Committee’s secretary, is the president and founder of Keokee Co. Publishing, Sandpoint, which publishes magazines and regional books as well as providing website development and marketing services. Chris graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, then moved to northern Idaho, first as a reporter and editor at the Bonners Ferry Herald and later as a reporter and editor for the Sandpoint Daily Bee. Chris launched his own business in 1990. He is married to Sandy and is the parent of a son, Nate, who attended school in the Lake Pend Oreille School District before graduating from the University of Idaho in 2011. Chris serves on the Panhandle Alliance for Education board of directors and is also involved in the Marketing Committee.

Brent Eacret, an Executive Committee member at large, is the owner of Alpine Shop in Sandpoint along with his wife Nicole. Prior to owning Alpine Shop, Brent spent 13 years in employee benefit sales with the most recent role as Director of Sales for a large regional insurance carrier. An avid skier and boater, Alpine Shop was a natural next career step. Brent is a graduate of Gonzaga University with a degree in Business Administration, with concentrations in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Brent has traveled extensively and visited over 25 countries across the globe. He spent most of his life visiting a family property in Sandpoint and moved to Bonner County permanently in 2004. He has two boys in elementary school and is deeply passionate about the continued development of children within Lake Pend Oreille School District. Time away from work is typically spent coaching kids sports, fishing and skiing with his family.

Executive Committee member at large Annie Reeves was born in Everett, Washington and lived there until she left to attend Arizona State University. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in business, Annie began working for Ping Golf Equipment Company. During her 14-year tenure at Ping, she created and ran Ping’s clothing and embroidery division. She then headed up the retail division for Michael Jordan Golf in Chicago, including the opening and operation of three retail stores and a golf practice center in the Chicago area. Annie was also involved with the 501(c)(3) corporation that introduced golf to underprivileged kids. Annie and her family moved to Sandpoint in 2006 from Carmel, California. Annie is married to Chuck Reeves and has two children, Jack and Will, who attend Sandpoint Middle School and Northside Elementary School, respectively. Annie and Chuck are partners in The Idaho Club. Annie’s interest in Panhandle Alliance for Education is based on her belief that a strong educational system is tremendously important in the development of a child and that all children should be afforded this opportunity. Her passion is a balance between the acknowledgment that fundraising is critical to this goal and using these funds wisely in the proper programs. Annie is most involved in the yearly Summer Sunset Gala and the annual Grant Program.

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