Bachelor's of Arts in Art History and Fine Art, DePaul University
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy
Elaine Kreuz is the Director of Advancement. She came to Asheville and CDS from Chicago, Illinois, having worked at The Latin School of Chicago, which is Chicago’s oldest Pre-K/12 independent school. While at Latin, Elaine served as the Director of Campaigns and Leadership Gifts, most notably for the school’s recent $50 million endowment campaign. Prior to that, she served as Director of Advancement at the Lycée Françias de Chicago, an international Pre-K/12 independent school. For many years, she served as the first the Director of Development for Loyola University Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center in Rome, Italy. During this time she developed and implemented a complete advancement program for the Center and was on the Leadership team for the University's $500M comprehensive campaign. Elaine’s career in the nonprofit sector began in arts administration. She served as the Executive Director of the Brickton Art Center, also in the Chicago area.
Elaine holds a dual degree in studio art and art history from DePaul University in Chicago, a post-Baccalaureate certificate in studio art from Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, and a Masters of Nonprofit Business Administration with concentrations in Governance and Philanthropy from North Park University.
Get to know Elaine Kreuz:
What professional recognition have you received? “Since the start of my nonprofit and Advancement career 16 years ago, I have been on the leadership team of 6 different major campaigns--capital, comprehensive, and endowment-- with respective goals ranging between $100,000 and $500 million dollars. I estimate I have handwritten over 5,000 personal thank you notes to donors over that time.”
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “CDS is uniquely suited in both its structure as an independent school and through its education philosophy and methodologies to guide each student into a life-long love of learning. Joy of learning, critical thinking skills, and the ability to find and more deeply explore one’s own passions are tremendous gift children receive at CDS.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “Most of my job is about people-- and people are interesting! I love helping the greater community see how spirited, passionate, and generous they are, and further illuminating how the school has positively impacted their and their family’s lives. Education is profoundly transformative, and seeing the impact we have on children further illustrated in their lives as adult alumni is very exciting and rewarding. Connecting people to the school and highlighting their place in its story is one of my favorite parts of my job- watching the community blossom is a real pleasure and a privilege.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “As an independent school we have more flexibility with our teaching methodologies, and therefore can extend our students greater flexibility in their learning processes. Our students learn in an environment where it is okay to take risks and there are not always “right or wrong” answers-- this fosters our culture of inquiry and encourages our students to become critical thinkers.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
― Robert Frost
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “Focused on shaping the future of CDS and our students through community building.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “My son, Will, is a tremendous balancing force for me. He is 5-years-old and his sense of wonder, humor, candor, and amazing zest for life are incredible and positive reminders to me about what is truly important. In addition to Will, reading, writing, gardening, walks in the woods, and connecting with water are important pieces of balance for me.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “I am fortunate in that I feel I received a very good education growing up. But for the most part my education was test based learning. At CDS the learning is student based, and inquiry based. The individualization and differentiation in teaching is a major difference from my own schooling. The level of freedom and individualization CDS offers students ignites for passion and a love of learning that remains with them their whole lives. This is an invaluable gift.”