715-261-0510 | wsdfound@wausauschools.org


Our Mission . . . To advance student learning, achievement, and success.

Wausau School Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports the students, teachers and schools within the Wausau School Foundation. This includes 13 elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, a charter school and online school. In all, we work with more than 1200 teachers, staff and administrators to enhance the educations and lives of more than 9500 students each year.

Since 1999, the foundation has been able to:


Award more than $700,000 in grants to teachers for innovative, beyond-the-lesson-plan ideas to spark student engagement and success.


Provide more than $250,000 to schools for playground projects, smart reading rooms, the arts and career exploration.


Recognize more than 5000 teachers and staff through SPARK and Caught in the Act awards for their work above and beyond for their students, schools and the community.


Assist more than 500 students annually with needs that can include school-related activity fees, emergency funds for prescriptions, glasses, travel, college entrance fees and more to help them be successful in their school careers.


Award nearly $1,000,000 in scholarships through designated funds set up through the foundation.

Learn more about these funding sources HERE

Meet Our Executive Director

Debi Traeder, Executive Director

As a graduate of Wausau West, and a lifelong member of the Wausau area, I am so honored and pleased to be leading the Wausau School Foundation into a new and exciting future. Most of my career has been spent in the non-profit sector, finding new and innovative ways to engage community members to collaborate and support each other. I hope to use this past experience and my love of this community to help the foundation, thus the students, staff and teachers of the district flourish.

My goal is to see students, teachers, parents and the community at large get excited about learning, to have pride in their schools and especially themselves and revel in what we can accomplish together. If the past couple of years has taught us anything, we know that resiliency and teamwork brought us through some challenging times.

We learned what worked, and sometimes what didn’t – but we came through it all together and stronger. I am in awe of what was accomplished as our district traversed through uncharted waters.

We are Wausau, we are strong, we are family.

It is so exciting to be a part of this amazing organization and I pledge to you to do my very best to see the foundation grow and be the place for schools, staff, students and parents to turn to for their educational needs.

Debi Traeder
Executive Director

A Letter from the Superintendent of Schools Wausau School District

A Letter from the Superintendent of Schools Wausau School District

The Wausau School District’s mission is to advance student learning, achievement, and success; a mission that can’t be accomplished without the help of so many wonderful community partners. One of our biggest partners is the Wausau School Foundation.

For years, the Wausau School Foundation has played an integral role in helping us fund projects within the district; projects we can’t always pay for out of our own budget. Because of them, we’ve been able to get some much-needed work done out at the Wausau School Forest, which has paved the way for the new Environmental Learning Center that will be built thanks to the passing of a recent referendum. It’s work that will directly benefit the more than 7,000 students in our district.

But, the Foundation’s work goes far beyond funding projects. They spend a great deal of time recognizing our incredible staff for the life-changing work they do every single day. One such way they do that is with the ‘Caught in the Act’ awards, which honors staff for going above and beyond their job description. In the spring of 2022, they recognized more than 40 staff members.

This work I mention is just a couple of the many ways the Wausau School Foundation has helped the district. We are truly excited about the partnership and we can’t wait to see what’s in store. We know they will do incredible things, not just for the Wausau School District, but each student and staff member; even the community. For that, we are forever grateful.

Dr. Keith Hilts
Wausau School District

2023-24 Board of Directors

  • Amy Reif, President – WSD Parent and Educator
  • Christy Keele, Vice President – Rise Up Central WI, Attorney
  • Michael Lamanski, Treasurer – CPA, Marathon Cheese
  • Melissa Matteson, Co-Secretary – WSD Teacher, YMCA Instructor
  • Denise Snoeyenbos, Co-Secretary – WSD Retired Teacher
  • Carl Hart – WSD Teacher, Marketing and DECA
  • Evan Mayer – Attorney, Weld Riley
  • Karen Vandenberg – Wausau School Board, Physical Therapist
  • Jon Creisher – Wausau School Board, Greenheck Group
  • Dr. Keith Hilts – WSD Superintendent, Ex-Officio
  • Debi Traeder – WSF Executive Director, Ex-Officio