It takes a tough and resilient person to be the business manager of a school district. The one who dares to accept the responsibility of chief finical officer has to be one that can take constructive and more often than not, misinformed criticism from within, from without, and even from friends. It isn’t for the faint of heart. In rural Alaska, it is even more challenging.
Loreen Kramer has filled this role in the Copper River School District for over 28 years. There have been years when the choices were easier. Lately, the decisions have been hard and no one in the CRSD has spent more time fearing the funding what-ifs than Loreen. As Business Manager, she is the first to communicate the hard realities and the last to receive credit when the bills get paid on time.
In spite of the challenges, the CRSD has had years of clean audits and financial solvency. Loreen has kept the CRSD financial house in order so that schools could keep the classrooms in order. In gratitude for her years of service to CRSD students, this week’s Snippets honors Loreen.
Name: Loreen Kramer
Birthday: October 27th
Role in the CRSD: Business Manager
Primary Campus: District-wide
Where else have you worked in Alaska? Bering Straight School District
Where are you originally from? Minnesota
Favorite Book/Author/TV Show: Clive Cussler (Author) The Notebook, Hope Floats (Movies)
Favorite Music Genre: Folk
Favorite Place in Alaska: My home. I love to travel the state but my favorite place is home with my family.
Favorite Place Outside of Alaska: Crooked Island, Bahamas or some other tropical island in the Caribbean.
Hobbies: Sewing, cooking, camping, rafting, hanging out with our children and their families.
Favorite Aspect of Your Job: I love my job and always have. I love the interaction I have with my co-workers and managing the district finances.
One Interesting Thing About You That Might Be Surprising: I have climbed the Chilkoot Trail.
Favorite Beverage: Coffee
Favorite Snack: Chips
In One Sentence, What Advice Do You Have for Students? Hard work and respect of others will get you far in life.
Loreen started working in the Copper River School District in 1987. Send Loreen an email, buy her a cup of coffee or take her a bag of chips to let her know how much we appreciate her serving students and families in the CRSD.
James Fields, CRSD Board Member and President AK State Board of Education
Thank you Loreen, for your high level of care for ensuring that Copper River School District is above reproach in all of it’s business dealings. You maintained a high level of character and it is much appreciated.
Mindy Lobaugh, AK Department of Education & Early Development
Loreen has always been sharp with numbers and fun to work with. I have always looked forward to our phone calls because as soon as business was out of the way we could catch up on life. She is such a blessing to Education and I will miss her humor, integrity, and fun that she brings to a business that can come with so many rollercoaster rides.
Linda Marchini, Past-President CRSD Board of Education
I want to applaud Loreen for her years of service to our district and thank her for all the students that have benefitted from her skills and professionalism. I wish her many happy and full years in retirement.
Lanette Phillips, Former Upstream Learning Administrative Assistant
It was a great pleasure to work with Loreen for 18 years. To see the inner workings of running a school district budget and more has been eye opening and incredible. Most do not know the intense work she performed throughout her time with the District and her care for all students. Our hats are off to you, Loreen!
Kathy Gearhart, Incoming CRSD Business Manager
Loreen Kramer has been a mentor, friend and inspiration over the years as I’ve worked alongside her at the CRSD. Loreen’s knowledge of school finance and the operations of the district have helped to ensure the success of students and staff. During good and uncertain times, Copper River School District has been fortunate to have such a devoted, caring and trustworthy Business Manager to help lead the way. I will miss you Loreen, but find comfort in knowing you will be available for help along the way.
Sandy McMahan, Glennallen Elementary School Teacher
Wow-has it really been 30 years?! Thanks Loreen; I’ll miss not seeing you at the D.O. Happy travels!
Fred Williams, Loreen’s Neighbor
Loreen is a very good neighbor of mine and good neighbors are good people. Fortunately, she has given me some of her fine homemade bread. Unfortunately, I eat it faster than she can make it!
Rick Oatman, Kenny Lake School Custodian/Maintenance Mechanic Extraordinaire
Loreen, along with her husband Pete and children Ben and Samantha made a positive impact on C.R.S.D., Glennallen Campus and the Copper Basin. Working with this professional for the past 30 years has been a joy for me. Working hard for our school district through the good times and the tough times. Kenny Lake School and I will miss this caring, honest and compassionate friend. Thanks for always being there for us and helping in so many ways!
Sandy Friendshuh, CRSD Accountant
Thank you for your many years of dedicated service to the kids and employees of the Copper River School District. You’ve established an atmosphere of high financial accountability and accuracy so annual audits go smoothly, even to the point where CRSD has become the training ground for new auditors because our audits are so clean. Thanks for being patient as I was learning my job and thanks especially for allowing me to work from Kenny Lake. You have a huge heart and I’m going to miss you, but I know we’ll be in good hands with Kathy at the helm! I truly hope you enjoy retirement and I can’t wait to see all of your new sewing projects and hear of your travel adventures. Stop by and visit often!
James W. Elliott, Former CRSD Superintendent
Having started my career in Alaska public education in 1964 and completed it just last June 30, 2015, I have known many of Alaska’s very best school district business managers, including Marcie White (Copper River), Dick Swarner (Kenai), Melody Douglas (Kenai), Kerry Jarrell (Bering Strait), John Tongen (Valdez), Dennis Niedermeyer (Lake and Peninsula), Tom Freeman (Anchorage), Guy Bellville (Anchorage), and, of course, Loreen Kramer (Copper River). Fortunately, I had the privilege and honor of working directly with Loreen for seven years during my tenure as Superintendent of Copper River School District (2002-2009). As the result of her extraordinary competence, careful attention to detail, diligence, and exceptional professionalism, Loreen, in my judgment, ranks among the very top 1% of school district business managers in Alaska whom I have known.
Rene’ Spracklen, Former CRSD Accountant
It was a pleasure working with you and I hope you enjoy your retirement. It is well deserved.
Loreen, Ramona Henspeter and Cheryl Sparks will be recognized at a reception on December 1st at 4:30PM before the CRSD Board of Education’s monthly meeting.