about the ptg
Welcome to O'Keeffe!
O'Keeffe Parent Teacher Group (PTG) Board of Directors
The O’Keeffe PTG has an all volunteer board of directors. The leadership at each meeting is in place to represent, facilitate and connect people of all backgrounds and levels of interest. The board of directors is a group of hard working individuals committed to supporting O’Keeffe Middle School in as many capacities as possible.
Send Maria an email!
Maria’s background is two-fold; she’s a graphic designer and marketing executive by day and a martial arts instructor by night. She is a co-owner of East Madison Martial Arts, LLC (EMMA) and also holds the position of Youth Program Director. Her passion is working hands-on with children and bringing communities and people together through the martial arts.
Grant Samuelsen is a Realtor with Restaino & Associates in Madison as well as a musician, record collector, various-things-collector, reasonably skilled house-tinkerer, and dad to an advancing 8th grader and alumnus of Lowell Elementary. He formerly worked for over 25 years working in the visual art and classical music worlds and in higher education, and he holds a Masters in Public Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and a BFA from UW-Madison. In Madison, he has served on the Community Advisory Board of WORT-FM, the Board of Directors of Arts + Literature Laboratory, and the Community Advisory Board of the Willy Street Chamber Players. His family bounced back and forth for 15 years between Madison, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Madison, and Raleigh, North Carolina, and he is thereby trained and authorized to properly use the words “yinz” and “ya’ll” un-ironically. His family returned to Madison in time for second grade at Lowell Elementary and settled down for good (really) in the Elmside area.
Coming to us from Lowell Elementary, JoAnn is a parent who has had an outsized impact on the Lowell community. During her 6 years as a Lowell parent, Jo Ann Kraus did anything and everything that a parent can do to make our school and community better, and has done it with uncommon positivity, grace and humility. From volunteering in the lunch room weekly to organizing the games at the annual Carnival, JoAnn. We’re lucky to have her expertise as director of the O’Keeffe PTG.
Sheila’s three children all attended O’Keeffe for a total of nine years. Her youngest is now an eighth grader — rounding off Sheila’s 9th year of commitment to volunteering at O’Keeffe! Sheila has been involved in numerous volunteer positions at O’Keeffe and taken the lead, heading a number of activities. She has been in charge of the Garden Beautification for both school building entrances for several years. She also ran a math club called Math Counts that allows kids to compete in math, potentially nationwide. Sheila also heads Box Tops for Education at O’Keeffe and brings relaxation through to the community through Brain Gym. Sheila has helped with a number of bake sales during voting and has organized parents to bring in weekly treats for staff. She has scooped many a cup of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream during concerts at O’Keeffe. Eighth Grade Graduations are also where she’s volunteered her time — this year being her final 8th grade graduation hurrah. Sheila’s volunteer commitment at O’Keeffe will be a tough act to follow as she moves on to volunteering at East High School next year.
(And oh, Sheila asks that we remember that Mr. Jacobs likes dark chocolate bars, especially on his birthday of November 30… Pass it on! 🙂
Send Gideon an email!
Gideon Amoah, is a proud O’Keeffe parent. Together with his partner Keisha and their daughter, they have lived in Madison for over 10 years. Gideon grew up in Ghana, West Africa. He and Keisha moved to Madison to take up jobs at UW-Madison. After serving in a variety of administrative roles in higher education at UW, he now devotes his energies to a variety of civic projects including but not limited to the African Diaspora Development Institute, the online platform social.africa, and serving as a member of Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin Member Advisory Council. In addition, Gideon previously served as the vice-president of African Association of Madison. He is excited to bring the lessons he has learned living and working in the African diaspora to O’Keefe’s Parent Teacher Group.
Send Kate an email!
Kate Brunner is mother to 2 boys, one at Marquette Elementary and one at O’Keeffe Middle School. She had a 20-year career in environmental consulting working on soil and groundwater contamination issues, and now works for an environmental non-profit facilitating updates to technical documents. She was raised in Wisconsin, took a 14-year detour to New York with her husband Todd, then returned to settle in Madison. In her free time, Kate enjoys cooking, running, hiking, reading, and spending time with her family.