Staff


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Tim Benz, CFRE, President: Tim came to MISF in January, 2014, and became president of MISF on July 1, 2014. His professional background and passion for private and independent education make him the ideal person to lead MISF into the future. As president, Tim has responsibility for overall management of the MISF office and staff. He oversees fundraising, marketing, finance, membership and evaluation of MISF's programs and services ensuring that MISF schools are receive the most value from their membership. Tim served in fundraising and marketing roles at the College of Saint Benedict, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Cretin-Derham Hall, and the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls. He has been active on the Advisory Council for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School in Minnetonka (now Notre Dame Academy) and is a member of the board of directors for Hopkins Early Learning Center. In addition to having two children who have attended MISF member schools, he also attended private schools through grade 12. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of St. Thomas and has held the Certified Fundraising Executive designation since 2005.

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Brenda Kappel, Director of Membership and Networking: Brenda came to MISF from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics Foundation in 2006. She held various positions at Children’s Foundation where she assisted with planned giving, major gifts and tributes. She also served as interim database manager and directed the annual giving program. At MISF, Brenda currently manages membership recruitment and retention. She also works to strengthen the network of MISF schools by connecting them to each other and to the larger community of Minnesota's private and independent schools in order to help them enhance the quality education they already provide as individual schools. Additionally, Brenda is responsible for MISF publications, including the monthly E-News and Annual Report. Brenda has her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Northern Iowa. She has held various positions in nonprofit organizations since 1994.

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Michelle Ponsolle, Director of Development and Programs: Michelle joined MISF in August 2010. She held various positions in retail management for 22 years before beginning her development career in 2004 at a K-12 inner-city private school. Her responsibilities as Director of Development included soliciting major gifts, directing the annual giving program, grant writing, and project management. She also served as the alumni director. At MISF, Michelle is responsible for development and implementation of a comprehensive advancement program. She manages the annual campaign, and has responsibility for grant writing and donor relations. She serves as the director of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Program, and is the coordinator of Development Workshops. Michelle has been an active member of the SciMathMN Board of Directors since 2014. 

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Michele Speranza, Executive Assistant and Office Manager: Michele came to MISF in July 2010 with over 14 years of administrative and office management experience. She provides administrative assistance to Tim Benz, takes care of our daily office needs, maintains our database, and administers our website and social media presence. Prior to joining MISF, she was executive assistant to the CEO and office manager for a telecommunications provider. Michele earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Debbie Kaliszewski, Business Manager: Debbie began her career at MISF in September of 2012. She is responsible for all of the accounting functions, and manages the insurance contracts and retirement plan, as well as assisting with HR functions. Before coming to MISF, Debbie worked at a social services agency for nine years. Prior to that time, she was co-owner of a construction company.

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