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Sue Bush
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WES Endowment Board Adds Members

12:00AM / Monday, December 26, 2005

Williamstown - The board of governors of the Williamstown Elementary School Endowment (WESE) Fund announced that four new members have joined the board and three long-time members have retired.

The new members are: Pam Besnard, Russ Howard, Margot Sanger, and Carol Stegeman. The departing members are: Nancy McIntire, Tom Welch, and Kaatje White. Current members of the WESE board include: Suzanne Dewey, Janette Kessler Dudley, Rose Ellis, Judy Fraser, Sue Killam, John Skavlem, Geoff Strawbridge, Jane Swift, and Jennifer Trainer Thompson.

"We want to recognize our out-going members Nancy McIntire, Tom Welch, and Kaatje White for their years of dedicated service to WESE," said Trainer Thompson, chairwoman of the board. "They will be sorely missed and we thank them for their commitment. We are excited to welcome our new members to the board. They each bring unique talents and perspectives to our board. We are grateful they have agreed to join us in furthering the important mission of WESE."

Besnard is currently a Senior Development Officer at Williams College. Before moving to Williamstown from New York City three years ago, Pam was the Northeast Advertising Director for Newsweek magazine. She has also served as the Treasurer of both the WES (Williamstown Elementary School)PTO and Williamstown Cal Ripken Baseball League. She has a daughter in 5th grade at WES and a son in 8th grade at Mount Greylock Regional High School.

Howard has been a Managing Director since 2000 with The Berkshires Capital Investors, a venture capital firm based in Williamstown, MA. Prior to joining BCI, Russ was a Senior Vice President in the Technology and Communications Group at GE Equity from 1994 to 2000. Howard lives in Williamstown with his wife Christina and three daughters, Lauren, Alison and Ava.

Sanger currently teaches instrumental music at WES and owns "Legacy", a gallery in North Adams that features the work of local artisans. She was headmistress of a private sector primary school in Egypt and taught at the Conservatory of Music in Giza and at the American University in Cairo. She has performed in the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. She has two children - a daughter who is a freshman at University of Toronto; and a son who is an information technology specialist and Scuba Dive Master.

Carol Stegeman served as Director of Public Information & Publications for 14 years at St Andrew's School in Delaware. She has served on the board of the Delaware state chapters of the Sierra Club and Common Cause, and presently serves on the Board for the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation and on the Development Committee for MASS MOCA. She has two married sons and now concentrates on her interest in photography and community service.

WESE was founded in 1999 by a group of parents, educators and citizens who cared deeply about the welfare of the Williamstown community and the health of its public school system. The purpose of the fund was to establish an endowment, the income from which would be given in grants annually for extraordinary educational initiatives proposed by teachers, community members, and even students. The endowment has grown steadily since those early days and currently stands at approximately $360,000. In 2005, WESE made grants totaling $8,159 for a wide range of projects including: the WES literary magazine, curriculum development at Sheep Hill, teaching through Grandma Moses for pre-schoolers, enriching art education for all grades, Words are Wonderful, Laptop Computers, and WESE Kids NewZ.

An annual appeal letter was recently sent to all registered voters in Williamstown as well as to parents of Williamstown Elementary School students. The appeal is currently underway and has raised more than $12,000 to date for the fund. For more information about giving to WESE, contact Jennifer Thompson at 458-2882. Gifts to WESE may be made by sending a check to WESE care of Superintendent Rose Ellis, Williamstown Elementary School, 151 Church Street, Williamstown MA 01267. Gifts are 100% tax deductible.
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