Dena Johnston has been the Executive Director of the Lawrence Schools Foundation since January, 2016. The Holton, Kan. native has three children in the Lawrence Public Schools – Skyler (Free State), Braycen (West Middle School) and Bentley (Quail Run).
She spends most of her time driving her “mom taxi” and is the biggest fan to her three children in their sports of basketball, football and competitive dance. When she isn’t working or chasing her kids around, Dena enjoys cooking, cheering on her K-State Wildcats, traveling, being active in the community and organizing (yes, this is a hobby!).
“What I have enjoyed most about my experiences within the Foundation is seeing all of the amazing ideas and impactful contributions being developed in the Lawrence community,” she said. “I have not only been inspired for my future, but provided with a friendly reminder of what first sparked my passion for nonprofit work.”
Fun Fact: Dena once opened a Vanilla Ice concert as a backup dancer.
Jamie Sinclair began working at the Foundation in 2011 and is the coordinator of the Lawrence Schools Foundation and Lawrence Education Achievement Partners (LEAP). A Lawrence native, she and her husband Jason have three children (Logan and Lauren, both at Free State and Piper at Southwest Middle School).
As a mother of three, her hobby is driving her kids to their hobbies. She and her family are avid Jayhawks fans and enjoys spending time at The Lake of the Ozarks with her family in the summer.
“My favorite thing about the Foundation is working with my awesome co-workers and I am sure they feel the same,” she said. “It feels like we work for the prize patrol being able to give out grants, awards and scholarships to the students and teachers. Our community business partners are so generous with their time and resources, whether it is speaking in a classroom or donating straws for science projects, they step in and help support our schools."
Fun Fact: Jamie has a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do, but being only 4’ 10 ½” tall, she is not sure how much of an effect it would have.
Erin Koksal joined the Foundation in 2019 as a Bookkeeper. A KU alumna, Erin returned to Lawrence after working for 12 years in Denver, Colorado to pursue even more education. She is a strong believer in community involvement and is excited to join the Foundation team in its efforts to support Lawrence Public Schools.
Erin grew up in Garden City and is happy to be back home in Kansas. She enjoys the outdoors and spends as much time as possible at Lake Wilson in central Kansas.
“My favorite thing about the Foundation is definitely working with my awesome co-workers. We have a great team and it’s been a joy to connect with the Lawrence community through the Foundation’s involvement with local businesses and schools.”
Fun Fact: Erin celebrated earning her CPA in 2008 by taking a scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef.