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123 South Webb Road
Grand Island, NE 68802
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GIPS announces new TeamMates Coordinator

Grand Island Public Schools has announced the hiring of Rod Felton as the new TeamMates Coordinator housed at Grand Island Senior High.

Felton will take over as coordinator for the TeamMates Mentoring Program of Grand Island, as longtime mentor and coordinator Nancy Jones retired this year. Jones was the first and only TeamMates coordinator at GIPS. She was actually with the program before it was under the GIPS umbrella.

“We thank Mrs. Jones for her incredible service to mentors and mentees throughout her 13 years at GIPS,” said Dr. Tawana Grover, GIPS superintendent. “Students benefit tremendously from strong mentors, and we know Mr. Felton will continue the strong leadership Mrs. Jones has paved the way for.”

Dr. Tom and Nancy Osborne started the TeamMates Mentoring Program in 1991. The program matches middle and high school students with adult mentors in the community. TeamMates now has chapters in five states in more than 170 school districts, according to the TeamMates website.

“The TeamMates program has helped to develop strong relationships for so many,” Dr. Grover said. “We have seen the positive impact mentoring has on our students. TeamMates directly supports our strategic plan initiative of connecting students to caring adults.”

Felton has seen the impact of mentoring in his own life, when a mentor, Buzz, took him under his wing when he was a middle schooler. Felton said their friendship still continues today, more than thirty years later.

“Buzz spent time with me, listened and offered wisdom. He took me on my college visit and has been the inspiration behind my involvement with students ever since,” Felton said. “Without him and his consistent involvement and example in my life, I wouldn't be where I am today.”

“I’m excited to work with TeamMates because of the commitment to mentorship,” Felton said. “I’m most excited to get to know our mentees and to start championing the benefits of mentoring for students, as well as the benefits for the mentor.”

Felton, a Nebraska-native, most recently served as the technology instructor and the marketing and fundraising director at Trinity Lutheran School. Before joining GIPS, Felton also served as a high school director at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, a student workshop pastor at New Life Community Church and a camp program director. He has spent more than 25 years as a mentor and leader of mentors at nonprofits in the midwest. Felton also served as the communications manager at Hastings College from 2017 to 2018.

Jennifer Worthington, Chief of Strategic Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement, said Felton’s experiences in communications, technology and music will help open doors with students.

Worthington, who supervises the TeamMates coordinator position, said it was important that the interview team included the TeamMates board president, as well as high school administration.

“Rod has direct experience as a mentor and a lifelong commitment to youth,” Worthington said. “His unique experiences, enthusiasm for TeamMates and for helping improve students’ lives will help him succeed in this role. We are happy to have him on the team.”

Media Inquiries
Joshua Planos, Marketing & Communications
308-385-5900 ex. 201127