Ten years ago, former Mountain View educator Gay Krause started her second career, taking over an abandoned building on the Foothill College campus with the goal of bringing technology into as many classrooms as possible.
This weekend, community members will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Krause Center for Innovation, which has helped 12,000 California teachers to integrate technology in the their elementary and high school classrooms.
For preparing Silicon Valley's teachers for the digital generation, Foothill College will honor Gay and her husband Bill at the Decade of Innovation Fundraiser this Saturday, Jan. 31 at the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club in Menlo Park.
Community members say the recognition is much deserved considering the couple's commitment to local education. Krause is the center's executive director, and also volunteers as the chairperson of the Challenge Team, a group of local leaders who meet once a month to discuss issues facing at-risk youth. Bill Krause, former CEO of 3Com Corp., has helped fund the center and reach out to other potential donors.
"Teachers are able to bring back those skills and implement them into the classroom," Mountain View-Los Altos High School District Superintendent Barry Groves said of the center's programs.
Krause spent the majority of her career in the Mountain View Whisman district as a teacher, counselor and then principal at Graham Middle School. She said former Foothill College president Bernadine Fong approached her twice before she agreed to take on planning and running the center.
"I thought maybe it was time for me to change careers," Krause said. "It was an opportunity for me to do development on a bigger level. It is a way to serve a lot more teachers."
Krause inherited the former space science museum at Foothill which had not been used in years and was "totally in despair," she said. She spent her first two years fundraising and overseeing construction of the new building.
"I thought this would be a part-time retirement," Krause said. "It hasn't turned out that way. I have put my heart and soul into it."
The light-filled and dome-shaped building, across from the main Foothill campus, now has a cafeteria, multimedia lab and several classrooms where teachers participate in two key programs. The center's merit program selects 50 teachers, provides them with a stipend and trains them to bring technology and math and science curricula into the classroom. Through a second program, a teacher in residence designs and develops curricula highlighting these same subject areas.
"Teachers bring back not only the latest technology, but they also learn technology in a framework of effective teaching strategies," said Mountain View Whisman Superintendent Maurice Ghysels.
Foothill students also have access to the center during the day.
The center costs $1.2 million to run each year, with half coming from Foothill College and the remainder from donations. Proceeds from the $225 tickets for the anniversary dinner will go toward the center's endowment.
"This is not only a celebration, but also a way to bring attention to the need for funding," said Laura Woodworth, associate director at the Foothill-De Anza Foundation, which is helping to organize the fundraiser.
As the center begins its 11th year, Krause said she hopes to reach as many students as possible.
"Once we train the teachers, the effect is multiplied out," she said.