Who We Are

OPENING DOORS TO GREAT WORK... CONNECTING STUDENTS TO HIGH SKILL CAREERS

From the time education began, student reflection on the value of their educational experiences has regularly centered on a single, appropriate, and familiar question: “When am I ever going to use this?”

Our purpose at Avenue Scholars is for the answer to that question to be “every day of your life.” That’s because Avenue Scholars is about careers – learning about them, preparing for them, entering them, and above all else, succeeding in them.

Avenue Scholars will expose the students entering our program today to a variety of quality career options in fields such as health care, information technology, automotive technology, trades and manufacturing, and business processes. We’ll also coach them through part-time work so that they can experience the realities of the work world and learn and develop the attributes necessary to be successful in it.

We’ll help students identify and access the paths to their career goals, which includes providing them with a scholarship to continue their education/training after successfully completing their Avenue Scholars high school experience. We’ll continue to support them throughout their time in post-high-school training and will work with employers to open doors to career opportunities. We’ll then stay with them for six months after they start their careers to make sure they get off to a good start. This is our commitment to our students.

We greatly appreciate the generous support of our educational, business, philanthropic, and community partners for their unique contributions to our students’ success and well-being. Without the collective contributions of each of them, none of this would be possible. Special thanks to our students for choosing to be part of this program and being the inspiration for our work.

Let’s go forward together and accomplish great things!

Kenneth M. Bird

Kenneth M. Bird, Ed.D.
President/CEO

“Avenue Scholars helps provide a sense of direction by emphasizing career training and the importance of building a future on that solid foundation.”

Walter Scott, Jr., Chair Emeritus, Avenue Scholars Foundation

Click Here for our
Annual Report

Board of Directors

Susie Buffett

Chair

Wallace Weitz

Vice Chair

Jeff Schmid

Director

John Scott

Director

Calvin Sisson

Director

Barbara Weitz

Director

Ken Bird

President/CEO

Walter Scott, Jr.

Chair Emeritus

Administration

Kenneth M. Bird, Ed.D.
President/CEO
kbird@avescholars.org
402.991.5595
Mike Alvano
COO/CFO
malvano@avescholars.org
402.991.5597
Jamar Dorsey, Sr.
Director of Community Engagement & High School Partnerships
jdorsey1@avescholars.org
402.991.5328
Kris Valentin
Director of Human Resources & Partnerships
kvalentin@avescholars.org
402.991.5532
Catie Dagle
Manager of Information Services
cdagle@avescholars.org
402.991.5402
Doug Pierson
Special Projects Coordinator
dpierson@avescholars.org
402.991.5489
Penny Darnell
Accounting Manager
pdarnell@avescholars.org
402.991.5543
Beverly Hass
Executive Assistant to CEO & Events Coordinator
bhass@avescholars.org
402.991.5595
Laurie Merten
Office & Staff Assistant
lmerten@avescholars.org
402.991.5552

High School Team

Jason Boyd
Director of High School Programs
jboyd@avescholars.org
402.991.5439
Taleya Broadway
High School Career Coach
tbroadway@avescholars.org
402.991.5427
Kayla Gillian
High School Career Coach
kgillian@avescholars.org
402.991.5430
Terrence Gillian
High School Career Coach
tgillian@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Allison Goff
High School Career Coach
agoff@avescholars.org
402.991.5425
Ashley Knott
High School Career Coach
aknott@avescholars.org
402.991.5465
Beth Leach
High School Career Coach
bleach@avescholars.org
402.991.5487
Kamina Lemons
High School Career Coach
klemons@avescholars.org
402.991.5421
Alejandra Soto-Suarez
High School Career Coach
asoto@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Fred Starks
High School Career Coach
fstarks@avescholars.org
402.991.5418

Career Team

Terry Fischer
Director of Career Programs
tfischer@avescholars.org
402.991.5337
Dan Corral
Postsecondary Career Coach
dcorral@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Tonya Fairgood
Postsecondary Career Coach
tfairgood@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Michael Johnson
Postsecondary Career Coach
mjohnson@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Amanda Lonergan
Postsecondary Career Coach
alonergan@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Canei Rodriquez
Postsecondary Career Coach
crodriquez@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Anthony Tate
Postsecondary Career Coach
atate@avescholars.org
402.991.5633

Business Outreach Team

Ana Lopez Shalla
Director of Business Outreach
alopezshalla@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Lindsay Decker
Business Outreach Coordinator
ldecker@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Kathy McGauvran
Business Outreach Coordinator
kmcgauvran@avescholars.org
402.991.5633
Jan Benitez
Internship Coordinator - Intern Omaha
jbenitez@internomaha.org
402.991.5633
Allie Thompson
Internship Coordinator - Intern Omaha
athompson@internomaha.org
402.991.5633

Student Support Team

Kelly Bernadt
Director of Student Support
kbernadt@avescholars.org
402.991.5471
Janae Donaldson
Student Support Coordinator
jdonaldson@avescholars.org
402.991.5463
Stephanie Kellum
Student Support Coordinator
skellum@avescholars.org
402.991.5441

Our Partners

  • CIT

    Encor

    Beardmore

    Werner

  • Woodhouse

    Ameristar Council Bluffs

    YMCA

    CHI Health

  • United Parcel Service

    Union Pacific

    Lamp Rynearson

    Builders of the Future

  • Owen Industries

    Nebraska Department of Correctional Services

    Security National Bank

    Boys Town

  • Legacy Homes

    Metropolitan Community College

    Dorothy B Davis Foundation

    Horatio Alger Association

  • Boyd Jones Construction

    Mutual of Omaha

    Five Nines

    PVS Metals

  • Gallup

    Teammates Nebraska

    Dream It Do It Nebraska

    Surdell and Partners

  • Nebraska Methodist College

    Business Ethics Alliance

    Mammel Foundation

    Robert B Daugherty Foundation

  • William & Ruth Scott Family Foundation

    Peter Kiewit Foundation

    QLI Tri-Dimensional Rehab

    Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce

  • Carstar Auto Body Repair Experts

    Urban League of Nebraska

    Omaha Prime

    Nebraska Children and Families Foundation

  • Ralston High School

    Omaha North High School

    Millard South High School

    College Possible

  • IBEW International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

    City Sprouts

    Northwest High School

    William Jennings Bryan High School

  • Partnership 4 Kids

    Children's Hospital & Medical Center

    Nebraska Department of Labor

    Pheasant Bonanza

  • University of Nebraska Omaha

    Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands

    Nebraska Medicine

    Wells Fargo

  • Hilton Omaha

    University of Nebraska Medical Center

    BlueCross BlueShield Nebraska

    Mutual of Omaha Bank