BEMIDJI, MN – November 28, 2016 — Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) is pleased to announce that Missy Okeson of Roseau has been selected as the new NMF program specialist – early childhood and youth. Okeson began her duties on November 21.  Vicky Grove, who held the position since 2012 will retire in December.

Okeson will work to serve the NMF region by providing support and direction to the 12 early childhood coalitions.  Her biggest role will be working with coalition coordinators, and the STAR Program.

The early childhood coalitions work within their local communities and the region to help all young children reach healthy development and enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. Students Teaching Attitudes of Respect (STAR) is a program designed to increase awareness for students in the areas of community building, media, specific skills needed to deal with conflict, and the utilization of personal power and strengths. The goal is to model and support a positive school culture.

NMF President Nancy Vyskocil said, “We are excited to have Missy on board with us because of her extensive background in education.  Her multi-county work and previous experience, positions her well to take on the role of program specialist- early childhood and youth for our region.”

Okeson began working for Northwest Community Action Head Start in August 2002 as a teacher/home visitor. In December of that same year, she assumed the position of Education Manager, serving as a supervisor of 32 staff and coordinator of 12 classrooms in four counties. She has held this position from then until the present time. Before working with Head Start, she was a part-time school readiness teacher at the Roseau Community School.

“I am very excited to join the staff of NMF and I am looking forward to serving the region’s youngest citizens and their needs to help them prosper in their communities,” said Okeson.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is a public, charitable foundation serving 12 counties of Northwest Minnesota by investing resources, creating opportunities and promoting philanthropy.