The Board of Trustees
President: Peter R. Teahen
Peter R. Teahen is a Funeral Director, author and a mental health professional. He is president of Teahen Funeral Home and an Adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa. Peter has been involved in leadership roles in more than forty-seven major disasters throughout the world. He has been recognized for developing mental health programs for the military and international humanitarian aid workers in areas of conflict. Peter is a recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious National Public Spirit Award.
President Elect: Mark Hixson
Mark Hixson is the Business Development Director of Ladco Incorporate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has 40+ years’ experience in Business Technology, Electronic Technologies, Business Management, and Sound Engineering. He is the past president of the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival, Director Emeritus for Foundation 2 and currently serves on the HACAP Board of Directors as the Chairman of the Food Reservoir Advisory Council and is a Pastor for PCS Ministries he serves and is passionate about serving his community as a way to bring a sense of community to others and hopefully to inspire others to do the same.
Vice-President: Debra Brooks
Debra Brooks is a native of Cedar Rapids. She is a member of the International Thespian Society and started her acting experience at Jefferson HS. She graduated from Coe for her undergrad work. Debbie taught music in Cedar Rapids Community Schools for over 20 years. She did her post-grad work at UI and Clayton. Debra has been a frequent presenter at both state & national conferences. She attributes her ease in public speaking to groups to her years teaching and as a performer. She was a featured soloist in the original 10 years of “The Follies” (some of her solos were, “Just a Housewife”, “Somewhere Out There”, “Somewhere” from West Side Story, etc.). She also had roles in different Broadway series stage productions at the Paramount Theatre, ie: Lady Thiang in The King & I and roles in Theatre Cedar Rapids productions, ie: Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum under the direction of one of Old Creamery Theatre Company founders, Mick Dennison. She loves volunteering. She has served on many boards locally, and on several state and national boards. She is an accompanist and plays the piano and serves as the accompanist for Orchestra Iowa’s Discovery Chorus & Taft’s show choir, Adrenaline. She teaches private voice lessons and her paintings are shown in art exhibit shows. She spent the last part of her career helping those who are stuck in their careers, business or life as a Life Coach.
Secretary: Kim Kudej
Kim Kudej was appointed by Governor Branstad and confirmed by the Senate on April 11, 2016, to serve on the Council on Human Services which advises the Department of Human Services and its agencies. She retired from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she worked primarily as a Public Affairs Specialist. During her career she designed, developed, and conducted educational and/or training seminars employing all types of media to disseminate information to the general public or specialized target groups. As a public affairs specialist, she organized and coordinated news media interviews and press conferences to foster communication between the federal government and state local organizations. She worked with IPTV on the show Internet Intruders as well as provided content for their Frontline program The Meth Epidemic. During her career, she planned and implemented more than one hundred conferences on substance abuse. She also set up school assemblies to reach over 30,000 middle schoolers to educate children on staying safe on the Internet.
In addition to serving as Secretary of the Old Creamery Theatre, she is a Paul Harris fellow, and is in charge of programs for Cedar Rapids West Rotary. Kim is also a member of the Older Iowans Legislature (OIL) which promotes the health and safety of Iowans through legislation. She has also assisted with fundraisers for various nonprofits as well as serving on a number of board and civil organizations.
Treasurer Co-Chair: Mike Murray
Mike Murray is a Wealth Advisor with UICCU Investment Services. He grew up in Cedar Rapids and now resides in Amana with his wife Beth and their 2 children. Mike has been an active volunteer in the community. He is a member and past President of the Iowa City Noon Lions Club and currently serves on the Iowa City Lions Foundation. When Mike is not busy attending his children’s activities he enjoys running, biking and golfing.
Currently serves as Executive Dean of the Arts & Humanities and English departments at Kirkwood Community College. Jennifer earned her B.A. from Simpson College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She served as a faculty member and administrator at a number of colleges, including Central College and Mercy College of Health Sciences, before coming to Kirkwood. She is currently the program chair of The Way Up Conference, a conference dedicated to developing women leaders in higher education in Iowa. When not attending visual and performing arts events, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, reading, and home renovation projects.
In 2011, Ron Fielder completed nearly 25 years as the Chief Administrator of the Grant Wood Area Education Agency. Ron is currently a Clinical Professor at the University of Iowa where he is responsible for the school superintendent preparation program. In addition to teaching aspiring superintendents, Ron maintains his interest and activity in futures issues, leadership development, organizational effectiveness & leadership, strategic planning, & systems design. He has consulted with over 100 private and public sector organizations.
Heather Gierut is the Chief Communications Officer, co-founder, and co-owner of Flow Media, Inc. Prior to starting Flow, Heather served for almost 2 years as Community Relations Specialist at Tanager Place and has over 15 years of retail experience. Heather is passionate about the arts and is a strong advocate of the role they play in building a well-rounded community. Heather grew up in the Cedar Rapids area, received her B.A. in Communication Studies (2008) from Luther College in Decorah, and has volunteered her time to actively serve nonprofit organizations in the area, including Catherine McAuley Center and the Economic Alliance through her 4 year term on the ImpactCR board of advisors.
Cody Edward Johnson grew up in Vinton, Iowa and graduated with a BA in Performance Art from St. Ambrose University. He now resides on the southeast side of Cedar Rapids with his wife, Alexandra Olsen. Cody is a Territory Sales Manager for Atlantic Bottling Coca Cola, managing the University of Iowa Coca Cola account. He also enjoys acting when time permits.
I love being involved in my community, and am always looking for ways to share my energy, enthusiasm, and resources in venues that enhance and enrich our cultural environment! I am originally from Benton County, raised in a farm family with 5 siblings. We were active and creative in finding ways to entertain and engage in our rural environment. Coming from a small school system allowed participation in a multitude of sports and extracurricular activites, and I carried over that mindset into my college years at Coe College, where I double-majored in Speech and Business Administration, minored in English, played 2 sports, served on student government, and worked both on and off campus. Graduating from chiropractic college in 1995 was the perfect culmination of my continued interest in health and wellness, to which I added an Acupuncture Certification in 2011. Kahle Chiropractic and Acupuncture Clinic has served the Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities since 1999! My husband Doug and I are the proud parents of a 13 year old and an 11 1/2 year old, who light up our lives every day. We love being involved in their schools and activities, and work hard to parent by example, encouraging them to be good citizens by participating and giving of their time, energies, and skills. Serving on the OCT Board is a great fit in terms of channeling my enthusiasm, giving back to my community, and supporting our local arts and entertainment, as well as setting a great example for my children to follow in their own lives.
Joe Schmall is a shareholder at Bradley & Riley, PC. He and his wife, Barb have 4 adult children, and enjoy live music and theatre performances. Joe is active in several community organizations including the South and Eastern Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross, Cedar Rapids Kiwanis Club, Catherine McAuley Center and the Men's Choir at St. Joseph Church. He also enjoys running, bicycling and coin collecting.
John Slusher has lived in the Cedar Rapids area since 1966. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a major in accounting. He worked for Rockwell Collins with various jobs in finance. John and his wife enjoy growing roses, exhibiting roses at rose shows, and judging rose shows. They now grow about 50 roses and at one time had over 250 roses in their yard. They enjoy attending Iowa sporting events and have season tickets to watch 5 Iowa teams perform. Those are football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, wrestling, and softball. John also spends time as a volunteer. John has volunteered to do tax returns as a volunteer tax preparer. He is an AARP tax volunteer. He helps out low income people and retired people by preparing their tax return and submitting it electronically. He has been a tax volunteer since 1983. He works 1 day a week and does about 75 tax returns a year. He also volunteers at his church for various jobs and has worked on various committees. John also enjoys traveling with his wife. They have been on over 20 cruises seeing Alaska, the Caribbean, and the Panama Canal. They also make trips to Branson to see the various shows there.
Brandon Yuska is a manager and accountant at Terry, Lockridge and Dunn, Inc. Brandon and his wife are from Cedar Rapids and have lived here for most of their lives. They love to go to the theatre together. Brandon was involved in multiple choirs and sport teams druing his school years. When he is not attending the theatre, he enjoys spending time with his 3 kids as well as officiating high schoool baseball and football.
Liz Zabel is the Marketing Manager at Indian Creek Nature Center, an Iowa State University graduate, photographer, videographer and all-around storyteller. Prior to Indian Creek, Liz was a Content Manager for GO Cedar Rapids and a Multimedia Reporter for The Gazette. Liz loves being involved in her community and supporting organizations that make it a great place to live, work and play!