Board & Staff

Thomas-Beckett.jpgJulie Thomas-Beckett - President

Julie Thomas-Beckett joined the ELEF Board after her children graduated from ELPS in 2012 and 2014. On the Board, she can help all children in the District, not just her own. She believes in public education and the support of educators and students as they grow and develop. She strives to make a positive difference in the East Lansing community. Julie works as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a busy family practice, is the author of "The Work of Nonviolence; Stories from the Frontline," and a trainor and peace team member with the Meta Peace Team. She lives in East Lansing with her husband, Rocky Beckett.

Kacie Kefgen.jpgKacie Kefgen - Vice President

Kacie Kefgen is an attorney and consultant who specializes in K-12 education law, policy, and governance. She and her husband have two children who attend Robert L. Green Elementary. Kacie joined the East Lansing Education Foundation Board in 2021 and serves as the Board’s vice president.

Tom Fehrenback.jpgTom Fehrenback - Treasurer

Tom Fehrenbach is an East Lansing native and a 2001 MSU graduate. Shortly after graduation, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he operated a small business and volunteered for community organizations. Through this involvement, he found his passion for community building. This led him to a career in economic and community development. In 2016, Tom and his family were drawn back to East Lansing. He joined the City of East Lansing as the Community & Economic Development Administrator in 2017, and currently serves as the Deputy City Manager and Director of the Planning, Building, & Development Department.

Sam Klemet.jpgSam Klemet - Secretary

Sam Klemet is the President/CEO of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Sam has a unique combination of skills coming from a broadcasting background working in radio, television and public radio. He has worked in both commercial and public broadcasting and association management. A Michigan native, he graduated from Michigan State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honors in Broadcast Journalism. He joined the ELEF board in 2022 and has two young children who will attend ELPS in the future.

Dane SprecherDane Sprecher - Past President

Dane Sprecher currently serves as the Director of Marketing and Agency Relations for AF Group in downtown Lansing. Dane is an experience marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the insurance industry here in Michigan, having previously worked with BCBSM, Delta Dental, and Vertafore. Dane holds a BA in Marketing from Michigan State University and a MBA from University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Dane has served on the East Lansing Educational Foundation Board of Directors since 2017 and is a graduate of East Lansing High School.

Born and raised in East Lansing, Dane now resides there with his wife Angela and three children – Roslyn, Gloria, and Henry. 

Kwafo Adarkwa.jpgKwafo Adarkwa 

Kwafo Adarkwa works as a Manager of Regulatory Strategy for ITC Holdings Corporation. In this role he provides support for and helps shape the regulatory strategic initiatives for the company’s Michigan Operating Companies. Prior to his work at ITC, Kwafo was a Public Utilities Engineer for the Michigan Public Service Commission. Kwafo is a multiple time graduate of Michigan State University holding both a BS in Electrical Engineering (’03) and a MBA in Integrative Management (’13).

Kwafo began serving on the East Lansing Educational Foundation Board of Directors in 2014.

Kwafo and his wife Mia live in East Lansing, in the Hawk Nest Neighborhood, and have two daughters Olivia and Lily.

Casey Bain.jpgCasey Bain

Casey joined the board in 2022 after retiring from ELPS after 29 years. She inspired elementary students as a teacher for 29 years and as a volunteer coach of the East Lansing Archery Club Team for 10 years, a club she founded. After gratefully receiving numerous grants from the ELEF, Casey joined the Board to give back and assist with the grant process.

kevin-blair.pngKevin Blair

Kevin M. Blair is a litigation attorney at Honigman LLP. He has lived in East Lansing for eight years and has four kids in East Lansing Public Schools, one at MacDonald Middle School, and three at Green Elementary School.

Scott-Carney.jpgScott Carney

Scott is an EL alumnus (class of ‘89), who married alumnus Molly (class of ‘91), who has two parents Bob and Linda McKnight (classes of ‘59/58), two brother in-laws (class of 79), a sister in-law (class of ‘81), and a proud parent of three children: Paul (class of 2019), Peter (class of 2021), and Maggie (class of 2024). With three generations of family attending East Lansing schools, the Carney Family are big fans of all the Blue & White has to offer. Scott is a Senior Director at Neogen Corporation. He has been an IT leader, Project Management professional, and Security  professional in the Lansing area for 25 years. He enjoys giving back to our community by volunteering as a coach, for non-profits, and on many boards.

Erin Cazal.pngErin Cazal

Erin Cazal joined the ELEF board in 2022. Prior to her time with the foundation, Erin was an Assistant Athletic Director at Michigan State University where she focused on development and donor relations. Erin began her career as a lobbyist and political fundraiser at a multi-client lobbying firm in Lansing. Originally from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Erin attended public schools K-12 and graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations. She has served on the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan board and chaired the East Lansing Art Festival board. Erin lives in East Lansing with her husband, Adrian and their four daughters.

crawford.jpgMary Crawford, PhD, MPH

Mary joined the ELEF Board of Directors in 2004.  She has been living in Chesterfield Hills, East Lansing with her husband, Eric, for over 30 years and all four of their children attended East Lansing Public Schools – Glencairn Elementary and 5/6 configuration, Hannah and MacDonald Middle Schools, and East Lansing High School.  Having volunteered in the classrooms and the schools since her oldest started kindergarten, she continues that commitment to ELPS through her volunteer activities on the ELEF Board.  Along with other ELEF board members, she is part of that village it takes to successfully raise a child.

Scott Eldridge.pngScott Eldridge

Scott is a Senior Principal at the law firm Miller Canfield, PLC, where he also serves as one of the firm’s Managing Directors and heads the firm’s Lansing office. He focuses his law practice on higher education law, management-side labor and employment law, government litigation, and election law. Scott has been a member of the ELEF Board since 2020. He and his wife, Kara, reside in East Lansing with their two children, Claire and Vivian, who attend East Lansing Public Schools.

Jerry Jennings.pngJerry Jennings

Jerry has been an elementary school teacher, principal, and superintendent in a 32-year public school career. For over three decades, while working in public schools, he taught courses in educational leadership and literacy development for MSU. In his retirement he spent ten years as a Leadership Coach for the Great Lakes Leadership Academy at MSU and served as the Assistant Director of Courageous Journey for the Michigan Association of School Administrators.

Jerry is a contributing author to The Power of the Social Brain: Teaching, Learning, and Interdependent Thinking published by Teachers College Press (2013). He and his wife Karen have lived in East Lansing for 16 years. They have three grown children and 4 grandchildren.

Dorian Prier-Piloto.pngDorian Prier-Piloto

Dorian Prier-Piloto is a member of the ELEF Board. She is a Professional Issues Organizer with the Michigan Education Association. She focuses on issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Previously, she was a UniServ Director (Union Representative) for MEA in southwest Michigan for 5 years. Before working at the MEA, Dorian taught middle school science in Texas. She has a Master’s of Education from Concordia University Texas and a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications from West Virginia State University. She has a husband, Maikel, and a bonus kid, Maria. She also has two dogs (Tank and Taz) and two cats (Macaroon and Moonshine).

Administrative Support

Michele Huisgen

(517) 333-7439