Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation’s leading community-based organization helping young people stay in school and prepare for life. With so many young people struggling in our schools today, CIS understands that schools alone cannot solve the complex and diverse problems faced by today’s students. CIS serves 1.3 million students nationwide in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

At the local level, each CIS organization is shaped by the needs and resources of its community. Local affiliates coordinate community assets, bringing them to the place where children and teens are already spending a great deal of their time—their schools.

Since the 2008 school year all USD 290 students’ lives were touched by Communities In Schools of Ottawa in large and small ways. All grade levels had programs designed to meet the needs of that particular age group. Other programs addressed the needs of the whole school, such as basic needs programs like food for hungry kids and dental clinics.

Over 30 programs gave our students a hand-up, heads-up, leg-up!

Mission & Vision

Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

2015 – 2016 Board MEMBERS

Communities In Schools of Ottawa is proud to be led by the tireless efforts of a strong collection of executives, educators and civic leaders from across the state.

Executive Committee

Rachel Smith
Executive Director, CIS of Ottawa

Teri George
Director of Finance, USD 290
CIS Financial Officer

Russ Testorff
Retired Director,
Future Visions
CIS Chairperson

Robbie Strahm
Nurse Practitioner,
Ottawa Family Physicians
CIS Secretary

Crystal Anderson
Director of Case Management,
CIS Vice Chairperson


Tracy Crosley

Betty Birzer
Real Estate Broker,
Reece & Nichols Town and Country Realty

Derek Chappell
Marketing Consultant/Voice Talent,
KOFO Radio – Ottawa

Crystal Davis-Taylor
Financial Representative,
Modern Woodmen of America

Emily Graves
Materials Management,
Ransom Memorial Hospital

Dr. Jeanne Stroh
USD 290

Beth Testorff
Retired Educator

Kyle Trendel
Devore & Associates Architects

Angie Welch
Director of Emergency Services,
Ransom Memorial Hospital