Ebony Speers

Administrative Assistant

Ebony is the Administrative Assistant for the SPPS Foundation team & New Lens Urban Mentoring. She has 20 years of experience in Office Administration and Business Management. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the Front Office Manager and Administrator at a Montessori school in Minneapolis.

Phone: 651.325.4254
Fax: 651.379.5354

Jack Reif


Jack serves as the Foundation’s part-time accountant. After retiring from his position as the Income Tax Director at Target in 2010, Jack decided to return to work as a part-time employee. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at the Carlson School of Management. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Taxation and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Minnesota, and is a Certified Public Accountant. Jack grew up on the East side of Saint Paul.


Judy Hawkinson

Development Director

Judy is a long-time Saint Paul resident and her children have attended Saint Paul Public Schools. She has entensive experience in fundraising, with a focus on individual donors. Judy is passionate about Saint Paul and rallying investments to support education in our city.

Kara Bixby

Research & Evaluation Director

Kara manages the Foundations evaluation and research efforts with the goal of improving the quality of tutoring in Saint Paul. She helps programs use data to more effectively serve their students. Kara has a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School and a Bachelor of Arts in International Political Economy and German from Fordham University. In addition, Kara completed a Fulbright research project on education policy in Hamburg, Germany, which inspired her passion for work in education.


Karen Woodward

Senior Program Director

Karen directs the Tutoring Partnership and Grant Program and manages the Foundations relationship with the Saint Paul Public Schools. Prior to joining the Foundation, she ran her own education consulting business. Karen’s professional experience includes teaching, higher education and private sector management. Karen holds a masters degree in curriculum and instruction from the College of St. Scholastica, a teaching license from Macalester College, and a bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Phone: 651.325.4209
Fax: 651.379.5309

Mike Anderson

Executive Director

Mike has been with the Foundation since November 2006. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was the Executive Director of the East Side Neighborhood Development Company and the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing. He also served as co-director of the Center for Global Education in Cuernavaca Mexico and district director for Congressman Bruce Vento. Mike has a Masters degree from the Humphrey School and a Bachelors degree in Secondary Education from the University of Minnesota.

Phone: 651.325.4224

Fax: 651.379.5324


Nora Robinson

Tutoring Partnership Director

Nora manages the Foundation’s Tutoring Partnership with the goal of mobilizing high quality tutoring across Saint Paul. She oversees the professional development, tutor training and technical assistance provided to each Tutoring Partner. Nora has worked at the Foundation since 2008 in a variety of roles including management of grants and National Service. Nora has her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College.

Phone: 651.325.4244
Fax: 651.379.5344

Rebecca Becker

Development Assistant

Rebecca manages the donor database and assists the Development Director with fundraising activities. Currently she also works part-time at Helping Paws. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from the University of St. Thomas.

Phone: 651.325.4280

Gayle Smaller

Executive Director, New Lens Mentoring

Gayle J. Smaller has 20 years of experience in education as a social studies teacher, high school principal and founder of Smaller Concepts. Smaller Concepts is a consulting firm specializing in school and program design, project implementation and school turnaround. Mr. Smaller holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in k-12 Alternative Learning Environments and Organizational Development. Gayle joined the SPPS Foundation team on October 1, 2013 as an administrator on loan from Saint Paul Public Schools to serve as the Executive Director of New Lens Urban Mentoring.

Phone: 651.325.4288