Rena was raised in Iron Mountain. Family consists of two daughters, four grandsons and two great grandchildren. After her children were raised, Rena continued her higher education graduating with a Ph.D. in K-12 Education Administration from Michigan State University. Positions held during her career included nine years as elementary teacher, 14 years as elementary principal, and nine years as professor of education administration at Central Michigan University. Rena’s area of research expertise at the university was School Safety. Other involvements relating to education included board member of Michigan North Central Association (volunteer accrediting agency), and State of Michigan trainer and coach for MiBLSi (statewide reading and behavior program). Other consultantships included leadership programs and training schools in school safety procedures.
Since returning to the Upper Peninsula, Rena has become active in the Escanaba Rotary Club and is currently the president. Her membership includes 23 years as member, secretary and President in clubs downstate. Rena was appointed to a six-year term on the Michigan Humanities Council in April. This council generates donations and contributions from local and national groups to support significant grant approvals throughout the state. She is also on the Board of the Delta Schoolcraft ISD. As a member of St. Anne parish in Escanaba, she serves in the adult choir, co-chairs the annual Valentine choir breakfast and supports the decorating committee. She also serves as secretary of the newly established 501(c)3 Community Thanksgiving Dinner in the area.
As part of the Holy Name School community, she supports various activities when possible. As a certified Master Gardener, Rena has developed the “Garden Club”, which is a selected group of middle school students who meet weekly and learn about plants and their care. Their responsibility is to care for plants in the middle school wing, the conference room and the chapel area. She appreciates the positive atmosphere in this Catholic school, the well-mannered and responsible students, and the high involvement of teachers and parents in the education of their children.