BSE Elementary Education `68 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; MS Educational Psychology `78 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; EdD Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service `07 from Cardinal Stritch University
Mary, and her husband Ted, have made significant contributions to bettering education, especially for urban youth, and health care in the city of Milwaukee.
Mary has over 20 years of counseling experience with adults and children. Her strengths are in relationship building and problem solving. She likes the challenge of creating projects that fill specific needs in the community. She also has extensive volunteer experience in not-for-profits and schools. A few of her major accomplishments include:
- Established and organized the Books for Kids program at the Next Door Foundation. Books for Kids has put hundreds of thousands of books in the hands of inner city Milwaukee Children
- Implemented a Student Assistance Program at Homestead High School to help in prevention, early identification and intervention with students involved with drugs and alcohol.
- Was instrumental to the fundraising and development efforts of the Health Education Center of Wisconsin, Inc. This not-for-profit organization is dedicated to fostering healthy lifestyles for people of all ages, especially school aged children.
- Developed a Human Relations Program at Donges Bay Elementary School. She recruited volunteers and developed curriculum to present to each classroom. This program proved the need for, and resulted in, the hiring of counselors.
- Chair of Prevention Education Project of the Junior League of Milwaukee, in collaboration with Milwaukee Public Schools, the Milwaukee Council on Alcoholism, and Family Service. Skits were presented to children on human relations, acceptance, and getting along.
Through the Kelben Foundation, the Kellner’s family foundation, they have endowed the Kellner Professorship in Early Childhood Education at UWM’s School of Education. As part of the “I Have a Dream” project, they are sponsoring scholarships for all students in the Clarke Street School first grade class of 2008 who graduate from high school ready to enroll in college. The Kellners are co-leading a $9 million campaign to enable Milwaukee College Preparatory Academy to expand to 1,500 students by 2015. Milwaukee College Prep is a very high performing school chartered by UWM. Through the Kelben Foundation, Mary and her husband have provided scholarships to many higher education students.