About Us

Our Mission

The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation was formed to enhance, promote, and support the public schools of Oak Ridge, their students, and their mission. Since 2000, the Foundation has coordinated efforts to provide preK-12 teachers with resources over and above those funded with tax dollars by financially supporting programs that enrich student learning, encourage professional development, enhance innovative technological and instructional programs, and provide state of the art facilities to set the standard of excellence in public education.

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors consists of community members who are committed to excellence in our public schools and believe improving public school education is a powerful investment in our community.

Members of the Foundation are: Thom Mason, Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Barry Stephenson, President and CEO Materials and Chemistry Laboratory, Inc., Andy Page, President/ CEO ORAU and Director ORISE, Matt Shafer Powell, Director of News Content, WUOT, Gerald Boyd, Vice President, S.M. Stoller Corporation, Cathy Toth, President, Acato Information Management, LLC, Darrel Kohlhorst, Executive Vice President, Omega Technical Services Inc., Jim Campbell, President, East Tennessee Economic Council, John Smith, Jr., Manager of Network Operations, SAIC, Kelly Callison, COO Information International Associates Inc., Ken Reuter, UCOR President and ETTP Project Cleanup Manager, Brenda Thornburg, ?President, Co-Owner, Galbraith Laboratories, Inc., Ivan Boatner, General Counsel, ORAU and ORISE, Leigha Edwards, Manager, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Protocol and Community Relations Office, David Bradshaw, Executive Vice President and Director of Client Services, Capital Mark Bank and Trust in Oak Ridge, Kevin Corbett, Vice President of Quality Assurance, Y-12 National Security Complex, Robert Smallridge, Former Superintendent, Oak Ridge Public Schools, Benita Albert, Retired Math Teacher, Oak Ridge Public Schools.

Grant Committee: Chair Cathy Toth; Members Barry Stephenson, Brenda Thornburg, Matt Shafer Powell, Robert Smallridge, & John Smith, Jr.

The purpose of this committee is to develop guidelines and standards for grants. They implement and administer the grants program.

Finance Committee: Chaired by the Treasurer Andy Page, consists of the Chairman of the Board, Thom Mason, and additional members appointed by the Finance Committee Chair, Darrell Kohlhorst, Gerald Boyd, and David Bradshaw.

The finance committee will monitor spending against the approved budget and the Chair of the Finance Committee will, in his capacity as Treasurer, report to each Board meeting.

Executive Committee: The executive committee shall include the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, the Secretary, and the Executive Director of the Corporation. The Executive Director shall not be a voting member of the Executive Committee.


The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation (ORPSEF) is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization existing to financially support programs to ensure the continued excellence of Oak Ridge Public Schools (preK-12).

Contributions can be made as one-time donations or as pledges. The mailing address is Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, PO Box 117 MS-22, Oak Ridge, TN 37830. ORPSEF has investment accounts and accepts donations of appreciated stock. Please call Jessica Steed (865.241.3667) for account information.

The Foundation's History

In January 2000, with her vision and under her guidance, Barbara Phelps, member of the Oak Ridge Board of Education, invited a group of Oak Ridge citizens to meet to discuss establishing an education foundation to support the Oak Ridge public school system. This Founding Committee, chaired by Barbara Phelps, included members: Ron Bridgeman, Editor, The Oak Ridger; Jim McCarten, attorney; Herman Postma, retired director, ORNL; Dana Thompson, KMDS Tech Association; Dianne Wooten, retired ORNL; Tracy Larabee, accountant and Oak Ridge Board of Education Member; Chris Lee, Director of Human Services, Oak Ridge Schools; Randy McCoy, Superintendent, Oak Ridge Schools; and Craig Rigell, Principal, Willowbrook Elementary School. Ron Bridgeman was later replaced by Karen Bridgeman, partner, Bridgeman and Brookshire. Jerry Lenn from the Guidance Department at Oak Ridge Schools, was later added to the original committee.

The Founding Committee worked to develop a mission, set goals, and write the charter and by-laws for the Foundation. In the summer of 2000, the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation was formally established as a non-profit organization, separate from the school system, but existing to ensure its continued excellence. The Founding Committee elected nine community members to serve as the first Board of Directors of the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation. Those elected were: Jim McCarten, Tom Clary, Dana Thompson, Janet Coxon, Gordon Fee, Robert Poe, Steve Buckley, and Ginny Basseen. Non-voting members were Barbara Phelps, representing the School Board; Randy McCoy, representing the School System; and Jerry Lenn, representing Oak Ridge Schools staff.

While Barbara Phelps soon resigned her position to move with her family to London, the Foundation continues to support her vision and goals in the community. At the election of the Board of Directors, Barbara Phelps said, "Those of us working toward the development of this new foundation firmly believe in keeping our public schools in Oak Ridge progressive. This Education Foundation helps our community make better use of private funds to continue to support excellence as well as to meet new challenges."