Education nonprofit leader helps support, celebrate teachers

Feb. 4, 2020

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Allison Struck, executive director of the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation.

Name: Allison Struck

Age: 32

Hometown: Yankton

What brought you to Sioux Falls?

When I graduated from college, I accepted a position as the BackPack Program coordinator at Feeding South Dakota. I spent seven years working with staff and volunteers to enhance the organization’s child hunger programs.

What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

My husband and I love the quality of life in Sioux Falls. We’ve found great career opportunities, we look forward to sporting events like the Summit League — Go Yotes! — and we enjoy going to concerts. We also like that we can get in the car, and in less than two hours, we can visit most of our extended family.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

The best part of my job is celebrating teachers! Collaborating with donors, business partners and board members, we get to surprise educators with balloons, candy and a check to purchase creative and inventive materials that give students hands-on, immersive activities in the classroom. We also award First Time Teacher Grants in the fall, and every first-time, first-year teacher in the Sioux Falls School District receives $200 to equip their classroom. We support the teachers who are dreaming big so that they can give their students incredible opportunities!

How did you get connected to your industry?

I’m a proud public school kid. Other than my family, my teachers had the greatest effect on my life. I will be forever grateful to the educators who invested so much in me. My dad is in his 41st year in education, and my sister teaches in Brookings, so I’ve always felt a connection to the profession. When this position opened, it felt like a natural fit. Through my previous work experience, I know that education is one of the only ways to break the cycle of poverty. In my role with the Education Foundation, I get to champion both teachers and students. The educators in the Sioux Falls School District are top-notch. They’re always thinking of new ways to engage students, including how to give children opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, and thanks to our generous donors, we get to be part of that process. We have 25,000 students and 1,800 teachers in the Sioux Falls School District, and a strong public school system benefits everyone in the community.

Describe the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation in three words.

Collaborative. Engaging. Impactful.

What’s your favorite way to give back to your community?

Volunteering my time. I had a great childhood, and I want kids here to have the same opportunities I did. That happens when community-minded people work together to create positive change.

What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

Mexico Viejo, a locally owned restaurant in Yankton and Vermillion. I’d also love to see Bruce Springsteen perform at the Denny Sanford Premier Center!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope I’ll be working with engaged and dedicated community members to advance the greater good.

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Education nonprofit leader helps support, celebrate teachers

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Allison Struck, executive director of the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation.

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