Grants for physical fitness, servant leadership, and character development will be funded through Randy and Lynn Nelson Endowment

La Crosse school students will have the opportunity to participate in projects involving physical fitness, servant leadership, and character development due to an endowment fund established by retired School District of La Crosse Superintendent Randy Nelson and his wife Lynn.

Beginning this fall, teachers in the School District of La Crosse will be able to apply for funding through the La Crosse Public Education Foundation’s Gold Star Grants program.

At least one grant will be awarded annually to support:

  • Physical education or physical fitness.
  • Servant leadership, specifically programs that help students and/or school staff develop leadership skills focused on serving others, on inspiring and influencing people, on placing other people’s needs ahead of your own, or on learning to show respect and compassion.
  • Character development and teaching values, such as patience, kindness, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty and commitment.

Randy Nelson retired in June 2020 after nine years as superintendent of La Crosse schools. He joined the District in 2008 as associate superintendent after many years as a teacher and administrator in Minnesota.

Lynn Nelson is a native of Westby and retired in 2018 after 35 years as a physical education teacher, most recently in Rochester, Minn.

“Together we have dedicated more than 70 years as public educators, and we are convinced that our future relies on healthy, high character students dedicated to serving others.”

The new grant will be offered as part of LPEF’s twice-annual Gold Star Grants program, with the first applications to be accepted this fall. The overall intent is to inspire teachers to guide students, and parents, in seeing the benefits of time in nature, for people at all ages. Projects may include: field trips to explore nature or land conservation projects; on-site school experiences; co-curricular or after-school activities (such as birding, nature study, geo-caching, hiking, outdoor survival techniques, etc.); fees to hire speakers or guides; or support of costs for students exploring nature-oriented career experiences.