Our Team

AdoptAClassroom.org Staff

Ann Ruhr Pifer

Executive Director

Ann joined AdoptAClassroom.org in 2013, bringing experience in nonprofit management, education, finance and the arts. She spent 15 years as a corporate banker in New York and Minneapolis with Wells Fargo and Banque Paribas, among others. She is the founder and former owner of The Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul. Ann received her BA from Smith College; her MA from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Humphrey School of Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. She serves on the boards of The Minnesota Museum of American Art and Craft in America, and previously served on the boards of St. Paul Academy and Summit School, and Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow.

Carolyn Aberman

EVP, Corporate Sponsorships

Carolyn joined AdoptAClassroom.org in 2013 to establish the non-profit’s corporate sponsorship discipline and oversee its brand marketing. She is a respected veteran of corporate retail and consumer brand marketing, and is credited with some of the most differentiated campaigns during her tenures at Target and Best Buy. Carolyn spearheaded Target’s first-ever cause marketing campaign, Kids for Saving Earth, which helped set the standard for innovative and impactful corporate cause marketing. As the director of public relations at Target, Carolyn was a key member of the marketing leadership team responsible for strategic partnerships and developing retail industry firsts, e.g., the democratization of design and pop-up shops. Carolyn graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, Advertising Sequence.

Chuck Stroud

Chief Operating Officer & SVP of Finance

Chuck joined AdoptAClassroom.org in 2018 as the Director of Finance & Administration. After a short absence, he returned as the Chief Operating Officer & SVP of Finance. During his time away, he stayed connected as a member of the AdoptAClassroom.org Board of Directors. He began his career in public accounting with Ernst & Young in Cleveland, OH, where he specialized in tax and business consulting predominantly with entrepreneurial organizations. He also has over 25 years of nonprofit financial management experience in higher education. He was an adjunct business professor for ten years as well. He is a CPA, earned a BA in Accounting from Mount Vernon Nazarene University (OH), and a MBA from Bethel University specializing in entrepreneurial services. He is currently serving on the Vision Loss Resources Board of Directors.

Alex Aberman
Account Director

Sarah Beam
Program Coordinator

Kirsten Fedorowicz
Outreach & Marketing Assistant 

Sarah Fowler
Account Manager

Austin Hagle
Director of Technology and Operations

J Gold
Program Manager

Ezra Horton
Donor Communications Coordinator

Melissa Hruza
Director of Marketing & Corporate Sponsorships

Ryan Jordan
Technology Project Manager

Devon Karbowski
Marketing Manager

Zach Stoebner
Graphic Designer

AdoptAClassroom.org Board

Board Officers

Jen Swanson, Chair

Founder & Principal, Jen Swanson LLC

Jen’s career spans over 20 years of roles in customer advocacy, marketing technology, and service channel operations in higher education and healthcare organizations including the University of Minnesota, Capella University, Children’s Minnesota, and UnitedHealth Group. As AdoptAClasssroom.org’s Board Chair, she brings her insatiable curiosity for technology and a drive to use it to find innovative solutions to support educators and students.

Matt Johnson, Vice Chair
Director, Technology, West Monroe Partners

Julie Krueger, Secretary
Americas Staffing Director, Google

Kurts Strelnieks, Treasurer
Vice President, Commercial Lender, Union Bank & Trust

Board Members

Ami Miesner Anderson
VP Brand Marketing and Performance – Tenet Healthcare

Dale Robinson Anglin
Program Director, Youth, Health & Human Services – Cleveland Foundation

Ashley Gobert
Vynamic, Healthcare Management Consultant

Jeff Gray
Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP

Rahoul Ghose
Chief Information Officer, ECMC Group

Erik Huckle
Senior Product Manager, AI Platform, Sailpoint

Jordan McGowan
Former National Director of Business Development; Commercial & Corporate Baking, Wealth Management, U.S. Bank*

Martha Phelps
Partner, Davis, Wright Tremain

Patrick Strother
Founder and Chief, Marketing Officer, Strother Communications Group

Neely Tamminga
CEO, Distill

Ryan Vernosh
Principal, Maxfield Elementary School

(*) Former / Retired

AdoptAClassroom.org Advisory Council

Dr. Hines and COMMON

Dr. Hines shares AdoptAClassroom.org’s commitment to teachers and children, particularly in under-served schools. She currently serves as President of the COMMON Ground Foundation and a member of both the Chicago Board of Education and the Obama Foundation. As a retired teacher and principal, Dr. Hines uses her 35 years of experience working in urban areas throughout the country to develop effective school leaders who will guide others to provide the best possible education for children least likely to receive it.

Sheryl Crow

AdoptAClassroom.org National Spokesperson and Partner

As a former teacher, Sheryl knows first hand how hard it can be to get the supplies needed to help your students. Sheryl is passionate about education and a huge advocate for our teachers. She believes being a teacher is one of the most important jobs there is and they should treated as professionals and given the respect, support and supplies they need to educate our nation’s children.