About KFS

“To provide resources to enhance education and encourage individual success for the students of Knappa Schools.”

Our History

The Knappa Schools Foundation (KSF) was founded in 1997. Knappa School District had recently become independent from Columbia 5J and community leaders were intent on seeing the district be successful. Out of that concern, which reflected the sentiment of the entire community, KSF was born. The organization was modeled after the long-standing Astoria Schools Foundation with the help of their President Michael Foster.

Our Mission

“To provide resources to enhance education and encourage individual success for the students of Knappa Schools.”

Now in its 25th year, KSF has been very successful in its efforts to improve the quality of education in our community. Funds raised through the annual dinner and auction have been used in a three-point approach to fulfilling our mission statement. First, KSF awards scholarships each year to deserving students entering that critical first year of post-secondary education. To date those scholarships total over $498,150. Secondly, KSF awards mini-grants to encourage innovation in the classroom and access to technology. Lastly, KSF has continually invested portions of the fundraising revenue since its inception. Foundation assets now total over $1.7 million. These invested assets will be enhancing and encouraging Knappa schools and its students into perpetuity.

2024 Scholarship Totals

Recipients of scholarships awarded since 1997

Scholarships awarded since 1997

Mini Grants Awarded since 1998

Our Board

Anita Nichols


Anita was born and raised in Clatsop County. She graduated from Knappa High school and went on to attend Oregon State University, graduating with a B.A. in Education. Anita moved back to Clatsop County and married her husband James, where they settled in Knappa and raised their three children. Anita’s kids were the third generation in her family to graduate from KHS. She is so proud to be a part of this community its schools. Anita  served on the Knappa School Board for several years, but her service came to an end when she resumed working for the school district as a substitute. She feels that the Knappa Schools Foundation is an important asset to our schools and offers another way for her to contribute to our schools and her grandchildren’s future education!

Kristina Weichal


Kristina Weichal was born and raised in Knappa and graduated from Knappa High School in 2004. She currently works at Columbia Memorial Hospital as a Commercial Biller and lives in Knappa with her husband Jon and daughter, Bristol, who is currently in the 5th grade at Hilda Lahti. They enjoy attending many school sporting events, softball with the North Coast Merchants and spending family time kayaking and enjoying the woods. Kristina also serves on the Astoria Regatta Education Board, Columbia Memorial Hospital Friends Fund Committee as well as the Planetree Committee.

Tonya Dick


Tonya moved to Knappa in 1977 and attended elementary school at Hilda Lahti from 1982 to 1990.  She took a short hiatus from the area but couldn’t stay away.  She moved back in 1994 after graduating high school in Northern Michigan and has been here ever since.  In 2017, she decided to retire from her 20-year banking career to spend more time with her family and to help out with the family business.  Retirement didn’t last long and in 2021, she joined Frontier Credit Union as a part-time Senior Credit Analyst.

Tonya and her husband have two kids together, with their youngest being a 2023 Knappa High School Valedictorian graduate.

Ben Palenske


Ben was born and raised in Brownsmead, and is a class of 2000 graduate of Knappa High School.  After graduating from Knappa, Ben attended Clatsop Community College for one year before transferring to Western Oregon University.  Ben graduated with honors from WOU in 2004 with a bachelors of science in psychology. Ben moved back to Clatsop County in 2006 to work at Tongue Point Job Corps Center.  Ben left TPJCC in 2018 and now works for Clatsop Community College as the Director of Advising Services.  Ben loves working in higher education and enjoys working with local students to help them with their post high school plans.  Ben lives in Astoria with his wife Carrie – a Hilda Lahti Elementary teacher – and daughter Lucy. As a KHS alum, Ben is excited to give back to his community by supporting all students and teachers in the Knappa School District.

Julie Denny


Julie Denny moved to Knappa in 1976 and attended Hilda Lahti from 4th to 8th grade and graduated from Knappa High School in 1983. She and her husband,  Mike, have lived in Knappa for 27 years. They have one daughter, Katie, that graduated in 2020. Julie has been employed by the Wauna Mill for 38 years.

Jeanne Windsor

Executive Director

Jeanne moved to Knappa in March of 1997.  She became a Knappa Schools Foundation Board member in 2005.  She has had several successful businesses including “A Taste of Heaven” coffee shop in Knappa, as well as a catering business and 6-year Food Service contract with Clatsop Community College.  She was the Chief Operating Officer for National Insurance Consultants from 2009 until 2012.   She recently retired from Teevin Bros. Land & Timber where she was the Director of Human Resources and was also employed as the General Manager of the Logger Restaurant.  Jeanne resigned from the board of directors in October of 2021 and began working part-time as the Executive Director to the Board of Directors.