Who We Are

Community Innovation Partners is a grassroots group of parents and community members who endeavor to nurture responsive, diverse learning environments through personalized learning and free-choice education. We formed in 2013 with the goal of developing a community charter school in Dallas, Oregon. Since then, we have submitted a charter school proposal and developed several additional initiatives.

Our board of directors includes:

Wendy Sparks, President, Founding Board Member (4/2014-4/2017)

Wendy moved with her family to Dallas after spending just ten minutes exploring the community. The park, the downtown, and the small-town feel all contributed to their decision to call Dallas home. Since moving to Dallas, Wendy has joined the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Board, volunteers for several community groups, and mobilized her community to launch Community Innovation Partners and Dallas Community School.

From museum management to nonprofit administration, Wendy’s professional background emphasizes connecting communities to shared resources and helping organizations realize their potential. As a nonprofit executive, Wendy currently works with an international patient advocacy organization that utilizes research and advocacy to improve quality of life for individuals with a rare genetic disorder. Her academic background includes a degree in environmental studies, graduate studies in environmental anthropology, and coursework in sustainability education. She also has certificates and advanced training in nonprofit management and cultural resource management.

When she’s not dreaming up new ideas to support our community, Wendy enjoys camping with her husband of 15 years and their 8 year old son, knitting, reading, and gardening with succulents. She also manages Dallas Young Makers, a youth group that engages kids in hands-on activities that emphasize art, science, technology, and skill development.

Shanna Ruyle, Vice President (2/2015-2/2017)

A native Oregonian, Shanna was raised in the hills outside of Amity. Shanna and her husband, Scott, grew up only miles apart, riding the bus and attending school together since fifth grade and will be celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary in April. They moved to Dallas last August to raise their daughter, Vanessa (5) as a “country kid,” too, up on Pioneer Road.

An artist and a designer, Shanna has always been passionate about education and her community. Shanna has served on the board of the Yamhill County Artist Alliance, taught art to youth, and is currently active with 4-H Youth Development, serving as a judge in various counties and volunteering with the State 4-H Expressive Arts Development Committee. An Honors College graduate from Oregon State University, Shanna is now working on her Masters in Sustainable Design and hopes to become a leader in collaborating with the community toward creating a better world for all. Shanna chose to volunteer with the Community Innovation Partners board because she believes in the power of education and wanted to contribute her passion, knowledge and skills to our community.

On weeknights and weekends, you’ll find Shanna and her family exploring parks, hiking, wildlife watching, or at one of Vanessa’s favorite spots, the library or the arboretum! When it’s time to stay inside, Shanna’s always got a stack of books, sewing projects and new recipes ready to try. And if you’re fast, you might even catch her—running around town—she’s training for the Hood to Coast relay in August.

Scott Burwash, Secretary, Founding Board Member (4/2014-4/2016)

Scott Burwash is a policy and operations analyst for the State of Oregon where he is currently assisting with a redesign and overhaul of a major software application used by the Department of Transportation. His previous work experience includes over 14 years in public safety where he developed his talents for training, policy oversight, peer support, and supervision. Scott holds degrees from Southern Oregon in both Communications: Photojournalism and Criminology. In 2015 he earned a graduate certificate in Public Administration from Indiana State University.

Scott lives in Dallas with his wife Erin Miller and their two children. He joined the board of Community Innovation Partners (CIP) because he feels that a child’s education has to be a cooperative venture that travels beyond classroom walls, incorporating both family and the community at-large to ensure success. CIP has the ability to accomplish that goal through the Dallas Community School.

Erin Miller, Treasurer, Founding Board Member (4/2014-4/2017)

Erin Miller was born and raised in the Willamette Valley. She received her BA in International Studies from Western Oregon University and went on to receive an MA in International Administration through the University of Denver: Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Her professional background includes managing study abroad programs and international and multicultural student services in a university setting. She currently manages a successful retail business in downtown Salem, where she utilizes her talents in fiscal oversight, management, corporate relations, and business development.

Erin lives in Dallas with her husband Scott Burwash and their two children. Erin feels strongly that the education system currently in place within our communities cannot meet the demands of individual learners and that a setting, like the Dallas Community School, can offer additional resources to families who are searching for the best possible opportunities for their children.

Amy Dent-Beebe, Board Member (12/2014-12/2016)

Amy is a true “valley girl”, having been born and raised in the Willamette Valley and currently living in West Salem. Amy had her own computer by the time she was five, and has been doing programming and design projects ever since. She’s earned a degree in Writing & Literature with a minor in Communications/Video Production from George Fox University.

Amy has worked for the Boys & Girls Club, Fluid Communications, West Salem Foursquare Church, In House Graphics and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in various design positions. In 2000, Amy began her own freelance web and graphic design business, Quixotic Productions and continues to work today doing web design for a variety of small businesses, ministries and start-ups. She also designs t-shirts at WhiteDogBlackDog.com.

Amy and her husband Sean were high school sweethearts and have been married for 17 years. They now have three girls, architect Anya (8), fashionista Willow (7) and sweet baby Éowyn (9 months). Amy is active in her church, Restoration Fellowship, and was part of the Hebrew Nation Morning Show on Hebrew Nation Radio before the birth of her last child. Her hobbies include photography, reading, writing, digital artwork, sci-fi & fantasy and CrossFit.

However, Amy’s most important job is homeschooling her daughters. She has tutored for four years with Salem Classical Conversations at both the Abecedarian and Journeyman levels. While the spine of their educational philosophy is the classical trivium, they also supplement with a variety of curriculum both secular and religious and provide a wide array of sports and activities for the girls.

Amy joined the board to be a part of a community that will provide support for further opportunities that are difficult to find or afford in the area (such as STEM classes) and for a partner in the education journey of her children. She is excited for Dallas Community School to become a rich part of the learning experience for participating homeschoolers.

Alison Johnson, Board Member (11/2014-11/2016)

Wife and mother to four, Alison Johnson is a Dallas native who grew up in Dallas schools. Alison’s family has been in Dallas for several generations and she can think of no better place to live and raise children. Being raised by a teacher instilled a strong desire and love of learning and Alison’s goal as a parent is to instill the same love in her own children.  Alison and her husband are currently the Awana Cubbies directors at EBC church and Alison is also a part of the MOPS program. She is actively involved with Dallas Kids Inc., where she has served as baseball Team Mom and coordinated team activities.

Alison has a degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in juvenile justice. She has extensive experience working with the Polk County Juvenile Department and the Polk County Youth Programs. She was part of the Sanction Court program, community service, and Independent Living Program with local youths.

Alison joined the Community Innovation Partners board of directors because she is passionate about developing opportunities for Dallas teens to gain job and life skills that can contribute to lifelong success.

Lori Hedlund, Board Member (5/2015-5/2017)

Lori has called Dallas her home for the past 10 years. She and her husband left the Seattle Metropolitan area after their first child was born, to pursue the quiet , country life in the beautiful Willamette Valley. It has been the perfect fit for home educating and raising their 8 children. There is always something exciting happening around their little homestead!

She is  presently the co-owner and operator of a thriving construction company. Lori is also the current leader of a long standing homeschool support group, where she enjoys encouraging other homeschooling mamas. One of her passions is connecting homeschooling families with one another and community resources. She has started several homeschool co-operatives over the years, utilizing the diverse talents of many, to offer unique opportunities to all.

Lori and her entire family have been blessed so many times by others, and they find great joy in giving back to their community. The family volunteers together in several capacities, including preparing and serving a weekly breakfast to the community at their church, serving as counselors at several 4-H camps, leading 5-day clubs, serving on the worship team and sharing their love of music at any opportunity!

Lori’s passion for individualized education lead her to volunteer on the board of Community Innovation Partners. As a home educator for the past 20 years, she seeks out any opportunity to provide other families with resources and support in the educational journey of their children.

In her free time you will find Lori with her family, including her lovely daughter in law. She enjoys spending time on the boat her husband and sons built, exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. When the rainy days hit, there are plenty of stories to be read together and games abound in the Hedlund home.


Past Board Members:

  • Casey Sparks, 2013-2015 (founding member)
  • Teresa Cruz, 2013-2014 (founding member)
  • Keli Bucklin-Larson (2014)

Community Innovation Partners is registered as a Oregon Domestic Nonprofit Corporation and we have applied for 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status.