The Salem Educational Foundation and Alumni Association (SEFAA) is a non-profit educational fund that recognizes and rewards excellence among graduates of Salem City Schools. The Foundation maintains a three million dollar endowment that provides nearly 100 unique scholarships for deserving Salem High School seniors.
SEFAA also recognizes Salem high school graduates who have achieved high professional success in their fields (SEFAA Hall of Fame) or individuals (whether or not Salem high school graduates) who have shown an exceptional commitment to children in our community (SEFAA Champions for Children). SEFAA also manages a database of graduates from all the Salem high schools and preserves the rich history of the Salem City Schools.
The SEFAA leadership consists of a volunteer board which includes the following members:
Tommy McDonald – President & Graduation Chair
Wayne Tripp – Vice President
Dr. N. Wayne Tripp is a Fellow in the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement (COTA) at Virginia Tech and an Affiliate Faculty Member of the Educational Leadership Program in the Virginia Tech School of Education. Prior to joining the staff at Tech, Dr. Tripp served seventeen and one-half years as Superintendent of Schools and seven years as Director of Instruction for the City of Salem School Division. In March 2003, Dr. Tripp was selected by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents as the 2004 Virginia Superintendent of the Year. In 2004, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech presented Dr. Tripp with its Outstanding Alumnus Award. In 2008, he was named recipient of Roanoke College’s Charles Brown Award.
Jim Robertson - Treasurer
James A. “Jim” Robertson is a graduate of Andrew Lewis High School, Class of 1962. Jim attended Virginia Military Institute, graduating in 1967 before serving in the U.S. Army from 1967- 1981, rising to the rank of Major. Jim has been the SEF Treasurer since 1997 and is a retired biology teacher from the current Salem High School.
Jim Archer – Membership Chair
Jim Archer is Executive Vice-President and COO of his family’s business, Blue Ridge Beverage Company, Inc. He is a retired Major General in the Army Reserve. He attended Andrew Lewis High School and earned a degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Emory University.
Kelly Dalaski – Scholarship Chair
Kelly Dalaski is a Career & Professional Development Advisor at Raonoke College. She ‘graduated’ from Salem High School with the Class of 2016 after being a school counselor in Salem for 13 years. Prior to that, she graduated from Elon College with a Bachelor’s in Elementary & Special Education and Radford University with a Master’s in Counseling and Human Development. Kelly is originally from New Jersey but now calls Salem home.
Jamie Garst – Endowments Chair
Jamie is currently working as Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at Andrew Lewis Middle School. He graduated from Salem High School in 1999 and then attended Virginia Tech earning a BS in Biochemistry. His graduate degrees are in Biochemistry(Virginia Tech), Curriculum and Instruction (Virginia Tech) and Educational Leadership (Radford).
John Givens – Nominations Chair
Forest is the principal of Andrew Lewis Middle School in Salem, Virginia. He graduated from Roanoke College in 1995 with a BA in History and Education. Graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011 with a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Forest moved to Salem in 1983 and was a member of the first 6th grade class at ALMS and the Salem High School Class of 1990.
Edward W. “Skip” Lautenschlager
Skip graduated from Andrew Lewis High School 1968. He served in the United States Navy from 1968-1974 before graduating from Virginia Tech in 1974. Skip graduated from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary in 1977 and has practiced law in the City of Salem, VA. From 1977 until present. Skip is active in the Salem Rotary Club and endowed the SEFAA’s Lautenschlager Family Foundation scholarship with other family members.
Melissa Loving – Secretary to the Board
Melissa grew up in Salem, attending Andrew Lewis Middle School and graduating from Salem High School in 1989. She currently works in the Guidance Office at Andrew Lewis Middle School. Melissa’s son received a Salem Educational Foundation scholarship in 2013 and is now attending Southern Virginia University.
Betsy McClearn – Hall of Fame, Champions for Children Chair
Christine Lockhart Poarch – Media Chair
Christine Lockhart Poarch graduated from Salem High School in 1990 and was awarded the Salem Education Foundation’s Outstanding Student Award which she used to attend college in Houston, Texas. After completing an undergraduate degree in English and law school, Christine practiced law in Houston, Texas and Washington, D.C. before returning home to Salem to begin Poarch Law, a full-service immigration law practice.
Robyn Smith Ellis – Finance Chair
Robyn Smith Ellis is a graduate of Salem High School and a past recipient of a scholarship from the Salem Educational Foundation. Robyn attended the University of Virginia and the School of Law at the College of William and Mary and now practices law in Salem with a concentration in wills, trusts and estates and elder law. She enjoys participating in her children’s education through the PTA at West Salem Elementary where she has served as President and Treasurer. Robyn lives with her husband, David, also a Salem High graduate, and her three children in Salem.
Dr. H. Alan Seibert is an Eagle Scout from rural southern New Jersey who attended Virginia Tech aspiring to be a high school science teacher. After graduating, he was hired to serve in Salem High School where he had completed his student teaching the year before. Over the past twenty-four years, he has served Salem’s children in five different positions: as an Earth Science Teacher at Salem High School, an Assistant Principal for Instruction at Andrew Lewis Middle School, an Assistant Principal for Instruction at Salem High School, the Principal of South Salem Elementary School and in 2006, as the school division’s fourth Superintendent.
Tobey was educated in Salem Schools, graduating from Andrew Lewis High School and Virginia Tech with BS and MS in Microbiology. He worked in the industrial biological fermentation field for almost 40 years developing processes and patents. He served as Business Manager for Novozymes Biologicals and as President of George A. Jeffreys and Co of Salem. A former President of the Foundation, Tobey and the Jeffreys family endowed the Foundation’s Jeffreys Science Scholarship. Tobey is member of the board for HopeTree Family Services, and serves on other corporate boards in addition to independent consulting.