SAF welcomes five new board members!

SAF welcomes five new board members!

On July 1, 2016, the Student Advancement Foundation welcomed five new members to our Board of Directors.  Each brings a wealth of unique experiences and wisdom.  We are thrilled to welcome Christine, Brendan, Max, Adriana and Jill. Learn more about each of them below.


grsaf 1Christine Arnold

Christine is the retiring Director of the Woodrick Diversity Center at GRCC, bringing over 25

years of Grand Rapids community experience.  She is the granddaughter of
Mexican migrant workers, who proudly settled and raised their family in the city of Grand Rapids.  Christine attended and graduated from Grand Rapids Public Schools and then attended GRCC as a student before starting her career
with the college.  Christine’s children are also alumni of Grand Rapids Public Schools.  She believes passionately in a strong public education system and looks forward to serving the GRPS district and students as a board member of SAF.



grsaf2Brendan Geary

An attorney by trade, Brendan Geary returned to Grand Rapids five years ago after starting
his career at the law firm of Winston & Strawn in Chicago, Illinois.  He is currently a private equity director for RDV Corporation.  With his
return to Grand Rapids, where he was born and raised, Brendan was interested in making an impact on the long-term success of the core city.  It was a natural fit for this father of two children under age five, joining the Student Advancement Foundation in support of the GRPS Transformation Plan vision to create the best mid-sized urban school district in the country .  Before joining the board, Brendan was a member of theSAF MindShare Host Committee and the Donor Development Committee.




grsaf3Max Gibbs

Max Gibbs started his career as a teacher for GRPS South High School.  He quickly moved into administration and retired from GRPS in the 1990s to begin a second career in the private sector.  After officially retiring from work life, Max turned his energy to his earliest passion—educating and supporting children.  He is an active volunteer at GRPS and at Kids Food Basket and serves on the board of the Salvation Army. Interestingly enough, early in her career Superintendent Weatherall Neal worked as Max’s administrative assistant at GRPS.  He happily shares that the tables have turned, and he now serves her as a volunteer supporting a number of special projects throughout the district.






grsaf4Dr. Adriana Tanner

Dr. Adriana Tanner is passionate about the correlation between access to health care and education.  She knows that a high quality public education system is central to families’ long-term health outcomes and that poverty and access can often create insurmountable barriers to developing and maintaining healthy lifestyles.  Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Dr. Tanner moved to the United States for her medical internship and residency.  As an immigrant, she has a very real understanding of the language and cultural barriers families can experience as they settle in our community.  Today, Dr. Tanner is a board certified neurologist serving at the Hauenstein Center at Mercy Health/Saint Mary’s.  She looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to the Student Advancement Foundation Board.







grsaf5Jill Wilterdink

Jill Wilterdink is a long-time volunteer with the Student Advancement Foundation.  As the owner of JW Event Management, Jill began supporting the Foundation’s MindShare gala in the early 2000s.  Taking a few years off when her children were teenagers, Jill rejoined the MindShare Host Committee two years ago and quickly moved into a leadership position as a MindShare Committee Chair.  She has seen the Foundation’s impact first-hand,  providing resources to GRPS over the years, and believes that all children should have access to the best educational experiences—from vibrant arts programs to innovative, hands-on science lessons.  When approached about the SAF board, Jill was thrilled to step into a new leadership role and to expand her commitment to the students of Grand Rapids Public Schools.




Join us in welcoming all of our new board members, share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you for serving the Student Advancement Foundation, GRPS and the students of our community!

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