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West Bend COLUMNS hires first executive director

West Bend, WI –West Bend COLUMNS has hired its first Executive Director. West Bend resident, Kristin Bayer, has accepted the position and will begin in early June.
Columns hires executive director.


“Kristin has a background in education, and has extensive non-profit experience,” said Rose Petitte, President of the COLUMNS Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to have hired a person who so thoroughly embodies our mission, values, and vision to lead the foundation into the future.”

The mission of COLUMNS is to encourage graduates of the West Bend High Schools to pursue higher education by providing academic and technical scholarships to help make that education attainable. Founded in 1972, COLUMNS, along with other local foundations and organizations, present over $900,000 in scholarships to graduating East and West High School students.

“West Bend students leave the high schools with a strong foundation to become the leaders of the future. Higher education, both academic and technical, is such a powerful way to help these students succeed in an increasingly complex world,” Bayer said. “COLUMNS is a remarkable organization, and I’m so happy to be a part of it. Making education more affordable for students is so important, and I can’t wait to get started.”


Since its inception, COLUMNS has been an all-volunteer organization. “As part of our strategic planning, we explored the best way to ensure the foundation would continue to grow and fulfill its mission well into the future,” said Josie Brzezinski, Secretary of the COLUMNS Board of Directors. “Hiring an Executive Director is an exciting step for us, and we’re so happy to have Kristin representing COLUMNS.”


Bayer, who holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from UW-Madison, has taught at both the high school and college levels. In addition, she has served on numerous non-profit boards, including her current position as Marketing Director for Kettle Moraine Playhouse in Slinger.


“Our goal as an organization is to transform the lives of these young people by providing pathways to higher education,” said Petitte. “Kristin’s leadership will help propel us toward even greater impact and positive change. This is an exciting new chapter for COLUMNS.”


One of the foundation’s most visible and entertaining fundraisers each year is the Holiday Pops Concert performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. This year’s concert will be held Tuesday, December 10 at The Silver Lining Arts Center at the West Bend High Schools. Tickets will go on sale in fall.



West Bend COLUMNS is a scholarship foundation that awards academic and technical scholarships to students graduating from West Bend East and West High Schools. Founded in 1972, the organization has roots dating back to 1926. COLUMNS, along with other local foundations and organizations, present over $900,000 in scholarships to students at the West Bend High Schools on an annual basis. Scholarships are awarded based on academic standing, financial need, evidence of character, leadership, and determination, as well as meeting the specific requirements of the individual donor. Membership in West Bend COLUMNS is open to anyone who believes in advancing the education of our children. 

For more information, contact Board President Rose Petitte at 262.808.2670 or wbcolumns@gmail.com.

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