Rick Ahaus (Chairman & Co-founder)
An electrical engineer by trade, Rick Ahaus has worked in his family business, Ahaus Tool and Engineering, since 1966. Beginning as a toolmaker in training he gained hands-on experience in the metal working industry. He soon became vice president of sales and engineering and, in 2005, chairman of the board. Rick is also actively involved in the Richmond community. He has been elected to both the Richmond City Council and the Richmond Community Schools school board. He has served as chairman of many local agencies including Richmond Power and Light, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, Dunn Mental Health Center, and the Wayne County Foundation. As a school board member, Rick recognized the importance of students reading on grade level in the third grade. He suggested that reading at grade level become the number one priority of RCS. That philosophy prompted Rick and Vic Jose, a retired Richmond businessman, to establish the Third Grade Academy in 2008. TGA is an intensive summer reading program designed to improve reading skills and comprehension. To provide an avenue for funding Every Child Can Read, a 501C3 organization was created. Rick serves as chairman of that board. To further emphasize the importance of reading, in 2012 ECCR created the K-Ready program which encourages parents to read with their children 20 minutes every day. This program serves all Wayne County children four and younger.
Vic Jose (Co-founder)
Vic was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and went to Shortridge High School (where he became friends with famed novelist Kurt Vonnegut). Mr. Jose attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and has a M. A. in journalism from Northwestern University and also served in the Navy. He worked for several newspapers before starting his own, The Graphic, located in Richmond, Indiana. He has published several works including The Free Paper In America: Struggle for Survival (2000) and Thailand Revisited (1975). Mr. Jose has been an active member of the local community and served on numerous community boards. He has been a member of the Richmond Kiwanis club for 55 years and was awarded the 2003 Chancellor’s Medallion from IU-East. Mr. Jose is currently retired but still an active advocate of literacy for our future generations. Mr. Jose co-founded the Third Grade Academy with Mr. Ahaus in 2008. Mr. Jose passed away on Friday, December 5, 2014. His leadership and direction will be greatly missed by the board.
Guy Guthrie (Secretary)
Mr. Guthrie, a retired community businessman, serves as secretary on the board and also serves on the steering committees for both the Third Grade Academy and the K-Ready programs. Outside of these committees, Mr. Guthrie also serves as board treasurer for the Hope House (residential addictions treatment program and men’s homeless shelter), board treasurer for Christian Charities, Inc. (which runs Operation Backpack Blessings) and on the board and executive committee for the Circle U Help Center (food pantry and daily meals provider). Mr. Guthrie grew up in Richmond and returned after a business career in the Midwest. His wife of 43 years is a retired school teacher.
Jon Ford (Treasurer)
Mr. Ford serves as treasurer for the ECCR board. Mr. Ford is a 1958 graduate of Hanover College. He worked for Ralston Purina/Purina Mills for 40 years in various locations including St. Louis, Cincinnati, Battle Creek, MI, Davenport, IA, Mechanicsburg, PA and Richmond, IN. He retired in 1998. Jon has been married to Judy for 56 years and has 5 children and 12 grandchildren. Mr. Ford also serves on the Reid Hospital Board of Directors as their Board Chair, Board of trustees of Ivy Tech Richmond, the Indiana Hospital Association Board of Directors and as an Elder at Christ Presbyterian Church. In the past, Mr. Ford has also served on various local boards including the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Wayne County Foundation, Starr Gennett Foundation, Hanover College Alumni Board and the YMCA.
Dr. John Dehner
Dr. Dehner graduated from DePauw University and Indiana University Medical School. He worked for 42 years in Radiology and Radiation Oncology. He retired from the medical practice in 2006. He is married and has four chidren and eleven grandchildren. He has been a resident of Richmond, Indiana since 1966.
Judge Robert Reinke
Judge Reinke and his wife, Toni, came to Richmond, Indiana in 1958 with their one year old daughter to practice law. Judge Reinke practiced law for 24 years, during which time they added another daughter and two sons to their family, all of whom are now adults. Judge Reinke was a trial judge in Wayne County for 14 years and retired in 1996.
Mr. Borchers career has related to the not-for-profit community, including 20 years with a small, but nationally prominent fundraising consulting firm. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Wayne County Foundation, a position he has held since 2005.
Mrs. Gloria Mueller is a local community leader. She attended Indiana University East and is a member of the Richmond Noon Kiwanis. Mrs. Mueller believes that it is extremely important for children to have books at home and that parents should read to their young children everyday. She reads to children at a local elementary once a week and has served as a guardian ad litiem for Wayne County advocating for children’s welfare.
Mrs. Stidham has a degree in elementary education. She taught 5th grade for many years. She was an owner/teacher of a local preschool. She ran after-school programs in private school for many years. She has been a board member of the Boys and Girls Club for 19 years. She also started and ran the Christmas Shop for 16 years. Mrs. Stidham has also ran an etiquette program for 13 years to give children tools and confidence for success. She is a member of Central Methodist Church and has organized a group to perform and introduce dulcimer music to children.
Mrs. Spoonamore was an elementary public school teacher for many years mainly in 2nd and 4th grades. She was a private school kindergarten teacher at the Children’s school, which is now called Richmond Friends School. She was the Lead Teacher at Pauline Trueblood Preschool at Earlham College. She is trained in the Lindamood (LiPS) Reading Program, with focus on phonemic awareness. Mrs. Spoonamore also tutored children with reading challenges at the Whitney Center for ten years. Currently, she is privately tutoring children through the Community Christian School’s Learning Center in Richmond,IN.
Mrs. VanVleet has 5 years experience teaching in a traditional public elementary school and 20 plus years experience educating and mentoring disadvantaged at risk teenagers. She has also had 5 years as a private tutor for students of all ages. She has been married over 40 years to Eric VanVleet and has two adult children. She has been a daycare provider for 5 school age grandchildren. Mrs. VanVleet is an active member of the First English Lutheran Church and Petal & Stem Gardening Club.
Mr. Burton is a partner in the law firm of Burton & Simkin in Richmond, Indiana. He has been practicing law since 1992. He graduated Cum Laude from Indiana University in 1992 and received is undergrad from the University of Michigan in 1988. His areas of practice include personal injury, civil litigation, medical malpractice, business, real estate, wills, estate planning, estate and probate proceedings.