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Eric Christensen named next executive director of the Zach Johnson Foundation
Cedar Rapids schools executive director of elementary education is retiring from the school district to begin his new position July 10
CEDAR RAPIDS — Eric Christenson, Cedar Rapids schools executive director of elementary education, has been named the next executive director of the Zach Johnson Foundation.
“I am honored to bring my experience in education and join the Zach Johnson Foundation to help build on the amazing work that has already been accomplished,” Christenson said in a news release. “I am excited to work with the team and the community to continue making a positive impact on the lives of children and families from our area.”
Christenson is retiring from the Cedar Rapids Community School District this summer after 20 years with the district and more than 30 years of education and leadership experience.
Christenson will start July 10 with the Zach Johnson Foundation, a nonprofit founded by professional golfer Zach Johnson and his wife, Kim. The foundation is dedicated to providing students with new opportunities and helping them navigate barriers so they can succeed in school and in life.
As executive director, Christenson will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the foundation’s operations, including fundraising, program development, community outreach and strategic planning. He will work closely with the board of directors and staff to ensure the foundation is fulfilling its mission to provide resources and support to children and families in need.
“We are thrilled to have Eric join our team,” said Brent Cobb, board chair of the Zach Johnson Foundation. “His experience in education and passion for our mission make him the perfect fit to lead as we continue to grow and serve our community.”
Christenson replaces Sara Volz as executive director of the Zach Johnson Foundation. Volz resigned last fall after less than a year in the position.
One of the foundation’s programs is Kids on Course, which provides tutoring, parent engagement, summer learning and long-term mentoring to about 1,000 students in nine high-poverty schools in the Cedar Rapids school district. Kids on Course celebrated its first graduating class last year.
Cobb said Christensen has been involved in Kids on Course and Kids on Course University — its summer program — for years, helping coordinate the foundation’s access to the Cedar Rapids elementary school buildings.
Christensen will be joining the foundation as its leaders begin a new strategic planning process, Cobb said in an interview with The Gazette. “Having that strong leadership is going to be key,” he said.
Cobb said that while the foundation isn’t “ready to unveil” the goals of the plan yet, they do plan to grow their programs into more elementary schools.
“We want to have Eric get in the seat and make sure his fingerprints are on the strategic plan and we’re working collaboratively on the details of that vision,” Cobb said.
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