- Tehya Tournier
Staff of Two: Get to know us!
Learn. Grow. Drive. As two former Panthers, through our extensive experiences and background in our community, Hannah Luce and I have these three words instilled in us.
Luce joined the Waterloo Schools Foundation in August of 2020 as the Executive Assistant and began her role as the Executive Director in September of 2021.
“I never knew I wanted to do foundation work until I was a part of a fellowship going into my junior year of college. I just knew it was going to be my calling,” she said. “You can collaborate with intelligent community leaders, and truly be a sponge to eliminates issues while breaking down barriers.”
Luce graduated in 2021 earning her B.A. in Recreation, Tourism, & Nonprofit Leadership, a minor in International Relations, a certificate in Global Health & Humanitarian Assistance and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional. While in college and after being a part of the foundation, she has sat on several committees that have given her confidence and knowledge to continue carrying out the WSF’s mission.
“We hold innovation true to heart here and are actively choosing to make a positive impact for our students every day,” she said.
In her role, Luce is committed to being proactive and passionate.
“We’re here for our students and teachers,” she said. “We want them to know that we’re here to advocate for them, and that they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness - just like any other profession. Students should have the opportunity to mold their futures molded specifically for them.
She said that many non-profit organizations are addressing intersectional issues, and the best way to move forward is by collaborating and listening.
“There are so many good people doing great work in Waterloo and here at the Foundation. We listen because we care, and take action now, which sets this community apart,” Luce said.
The work that the Waterloo Schools Foundation does impact our students, parents, families, teachers, and schools, now, but also for years to come. With the help and grace of many supporters, Hannah's hit the ground running to ensure that the Foundation continues to shine a light on the Waterloo Schools and make our community benefit for future generations.
“With foundation work and philanthropy, you can problem solve, try new things, help solve issues in your own community, but also connect your ‘why’ with everyone else's too. That’s why I love it.”
Out of the three words listed above, growing is my top priority as I have entered the full-time position of the Development and Communications manager, here at WSF.
I have always been involved within the community through numerous volunteer activities or surrounding nonprofits in the area since a very young age, yet I never envisioned myself working on the education side within the nonprofit sector.
However, setting myself apart, my ‘why’, as Hannah talked about earlier, connected to hers because I believe in youth empowerment and giving children a voice in and outside the classroom is extremely important to their emotional and social growth.
I recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Public Relations with a minor in Digital Media. Through my advocacy and mentoring with Alive&Running Iowa, I created my organization, Let’s Start Talking, for mental health and suicide prevention back in March of 2018. This nonprofit has given me many opportunities to uphold my strong desire to help my community and others in Iowa.
When applying for this position, the mission “to fund, inspire, and promote academic opportunities for all in the Waterloo Schools ”, spoke great levels to me because having those social, physical, and emotional strengths grow as a child throughout their education career sets them up for success beyond the classroom. Here at the foundation, we want to continue to give Waterloo pride and set a standard of what our children can accomplish.
I am here to not only soak up knowledge just like Hannah, but also learn how we can continue to benefit the Waterloo School but to help tell our story. With my various accomplishments as a feature writer at the Northern Iowan student newspaper and UNI Athletics, I bring a writer's eye to the WSF as we continue to grow.
I want to illustrate and bring our words to life to show not only what the WSF has accomplished, but what we will continue to do for our future students and faculty. Our schools, teachers, and children deserve to be honored for their experiences and hard work.
As two young people entering the fast-paced workforce at such a young age, Luce and I both want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has helped us along our journeys and supported us in every step we took.
“If I wouldn’t have had people who constantly supported me, took a chance on me, and valued my leadership and youth perspective, we wouldn’t have seen such success this past year, so thank you,” Luce said.
We look forward to a school year full of success, support, and storytelling.