PIQUA — Katie Neubert’s career travels have come full circle and led her home to help Piqua students further their own careers.
Neubert, who recently joined the Piqua Education Foundation (PEF) as its first executive director, said she hopes to propel the foundation into the future with some of the strengths she has gained from traveling all 50 states and more than 20 countries where she held an array of professional positions.
“I think that my past positions and travel have helped me bring to my role not only a respect for local traditions but also a strong belief in the idea that we have to work together today to make a difference in our community tomorrow,” she said.
Since 1985, the Piqua Education Foundation has existed, providing financial support to Piqua City School graduates and the school district. On average over the last few years, PEF has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships and $15,000 in grants annually to 150-plus high school seniors and current college students and about 10 grants that donors support through their individual gifts and endowments each year. These funds are supported by about 80 scholarships and several hundred individual and organizational donors.
“These amazing accomplishments have all happened ‘organically’ and have only been limited by time and funds. My hope as the first full-time executive director is that we can take that passion and 36 years of success and turn that into a base that we can build on moving forward,” said Neubert, who with her husband Shaun are currently remodeling their 110-year-old duplex near the University of Dayton. “I am confident that by creating community outreach opportunities and internal infrastructure that we will build exponentially our ability to serve our community.”
Neubert said her role at PEF is to advise and support the volunteer board to help them bring the organization’s mission of securing and distributing contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations for the benefit of the students and staff of the Piqua City Schools.
Neubert’s first move was to purchase the organization’s website, which had not been done previously. The website, www.PiquaEducationFoundation.org, now points to the school district’s web pages where visitors can find more information about PEF. Neubert also has implemented the ability to make one-time or continued donations and residents can even support PEF through AmazonSmile.com.
Neubert, however, is still looking to up the ante for the sake of future Piqua graduates.
“As we move forward, I would love to see our community find fun and unique ways to come together to continue funding current endowments, as well as find ways to create and support new scholarships, which all will help us to continue bringing our mission to life,” said Neubert, who has scuba dived, driven sled dogs and repelled during her travels.
Neubert said of her positions, two that focused on learning opportunities would stand out as favorites from her resume, including teaching English in Miyazaki-ken, Japan, as part of the JET Program and serving as the Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion’s (DoSER) project coordinator at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.
“While living in Japan, this might sound basic, but I really learned that no matter where you go people are people and generally good and helpful, even to strangers. I learned that while my independence is a strong quality in an individual, that there is also great strength in being part of a team that is designed to achieve more by working together and supporting each other,” Neubert said.
Neubert, who can be reached at ExecutiveDirector@PiquaEducationFoundation.org, brings her personal mantra to her position.
“It is an old saying, but I really do believe that ‘when the tide comes in, all boats rise together,’” she said. “It is my personal and professional goal to always try to find ways to create new opportunities for us all to work together to do more and be more within our community and I would love to have people reach out to talk about what we can accomplish together for our youth and for the future of Piqua.”