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Financial Planning and Budget Services Staff

The Department of Financial Planning & Budget Services provides analytical support and recommendations for financial resources in the areas of budget, financial performance, and program policy; preserves and enhances financial resources through budget monitoring, operational planning and dissemination of information; coordinates Title I compliance and non‐public school services; processes Medicaid claims; and develops the proposed and final adopted budgets.


The Financial Planning and Budget Services team consists of 18 individuals with varying backgrounds in Education, Public Policy and Business.

FY18 Financial Planning & Budget Services Organizational Chart


Shannon Gordon • Senior Director of Financial Planning and Budget Services

Shannon Gordon is the Senior Director of Financial Planning and Budget Services for Milwaukee Public Schools. In this role, she plans, organizes and coordinates the development, preparation, presentation, implementation and evaluation of the District’s $1.2 billion annual budget and long-range operational and financial planning.  Prior to joining Milwaukee Public Schools, Shannon worked as Director of the Fritsche/Humboldt Park Community Learning Center, coordinating a wide range of youth and adult programs and services that promoted student achievement and community partnerships.  In addition to her local experience, Shannon has worked at the federal level for the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor and at the state level in the Ohio Lt. Governor’s Office.

Tom Back • Financial Planning and Budget Specialist

Tom Back is a Financial Planning and Budget Specialist for a large, urban school district. His work includes analyzing complex financial data to inform decision makers, assisting non-financial managers in their fiduciary responsibilities, and mentoring colleagues in their first years in the department.

Tom joined the Finance Department of Milwaukee Public Schools in 1999. He left for a time-limited, grant funded position (described below) from 2007 to 2009. While primarily focused on budget analysis and support, Tom has also had temporary or project leadership roles in managing the Finance Department, developing the software which supports the district budget, and working with external auditors.

Prior to joining MPS, Tom served as a financial and data manager for a national demonstration organization, The New Hope Project (NHP). He also served as the Program Director for NHP from 2007-2009, implementing a transitional jobs demonstration program to help former prisoners in finding employment and resettling in their community.

Tom has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and has attended numerous professional development seminars and conferences. These include conferences by the Government Finance Officer’s Association, Transitional Jobs Network (panelist), and the Bitech/Sunguard User’s group (presenter). Recent training includes Systems Thinking (sponsored by the Waters Foundation) and Six Sigma/LEAN.

Tom has also held leadership positions on a private school board, church council, and local non-profit organization.

Lynn Ruhl • Financial Planning and Budget Coordinator

Lynn C. Ruhl is a Financial Planning & Budget Coordinator III with expertise in budget preparation and monitoring department and school positions, Medicaid SBS (School Based Services) billing and compliance, Health Insurance and Portability & Privacy Act compliance and the general ledger system.  In the past 16 years she has worked with multiple departments, schools, and State agencies within the school financial services industry.  Some typical projects include providing fiscal, program and legislative analysis to department heads and the superintendent in support of annual budget recommendations, training all medical staff in the school district on Medicaid billing and compliance with privacy laws, creating efficiencies in collecting data and reporting to State agencies.

Lynn has a Business/Finance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has passed the CPA exam.  She is an active member of the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT), and the Wisconsin Association of Community Theatre (WACT).  She is currently the Vice-President of WACT and the state representative on the Regional Board.

Mary Blackburn • Financial Planning and Budget Coordinator

Mary Blackburn is a Financial Planning and Budget Coordinator, working for Milwaukee Public Schools in Milwaukee, WI.  In that role, she assists schools in planning and monitoring their budgets in order to ensure schools comply with all District and DPI requirements.  Mary has a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Human Resources from Marquette University. She previously worked in Trust Operations for Marshall & Ilsley Trust Company (now BMO Harris Bank). 

Brian Terrell - Budget Analyst East Region

I started working at MPS in September 2011. Prior to coming to MPS I worked as a staff auditor at Ernst & Young LLP. In my free time outside of work I coach youth basketball from Wisconsin Playground Elite Basketball Club and youth track & field for Wings of Glory Track Club. I also enjoy spending time with my wife and two sons.

Seemi Daniel • Budget Analyst Central Region

Seemi Daniel is a budget analyst with experience in both the public and private sectors.  She oversees the management of multi-million dollar budgets.  She works cross-functional throughout the organization to develop annual budgets.  She also monitors and adjusts expenditures, analyzes the financial implications of expenses and trains associates on systems and processes.

Seemi has 15 years of experience in budget management and financial analysis field.  She worked with pricing models to projected revenue and explained variances against targeted revenue.  She is committed to customer service and client relations.  She has trained customers and colleagues on pricing, financial reporting and HR systems.  She has also played critical roles in system conversions.  Her contributions include process improvements, testing systems and developing documentation.

Seemi has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

RoseMary Oliveira • Grant Compliance Specialist

RoseMary Oliveira is a budget analyst focusing on public schools and school administration.  Her varied career includes budget, program management, compliance and government policy.   Years of work in the public, private and non-profit sectors have prepared her well for her current role.  She has over 18 years of experience with performance based budgets including development, monitoring and analysis.  Ms. Oliveira is a graduate of Sonoma State University in fine arts and California Coast University in Business Management.

Lisa Medill • Accounting Assistant

Lisa L. Medill is an Accounting Assistant II for Budget/Specialized Services, performing all functions related to the operation and maintenance of Milwaukee Public School's Medicaidbilling and database system. This includes receipt, review, and recording of all documents associated with Medicaid billing, preparation and monitoring of claims billed to the State Medicaid Agency, and reconciliation of claims and receipts. Counsel professional staff and special education supervisors on Medicaid-related issues and concerns. Communicate with the State Medicaid Agency regarding Medicaid compliance issues.

Lisa is an active member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and is a volunteer co-coordinator for the southeastern Wisconsin NSAI Chapter. Her role includes acting as a liasion between local area songwriters and Nashville, TN, preparaing for and running monthly Chapter meetings, instructional guidance in the art and business of songwriting, as well as an offering positive support for all seeking to advance in their craft.

Ruza Drca • Budget Planning Assistant III

Ruza Drca is a Budget Planning Assistant III for Milwaukee Public Schools. She graduated from MPS, Hamilton High School in 2006 with a degree in Business. Ruza has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Philosophy from Alverno College. She obtained her MA from Alverno in Adult Education, Organizational Development and Instructional Design.

Molly Xiong • Management Intern

Molly graduated June 2017 from Ottawa University with her MBA, Strategic Innovation degree. Molly also received her Bachelors of Arts with a Concentration in Finance degree from Ottawa University November 2015. Molly plans to attend Cardinal Stritch University in June 2018 to pursue her Ed. D. in Leadership.

Prior to working for MPS, Molly worked as an Auditor for a Benefits Administration company analyzing posted payments for the Medical division of the organization. Molly has worked in various finance departments within different healthcare organizations and is looking forward to a change of environment

Martha Kreitzman • ESEA Coordination & Compliance Manager

After 15 years of teaching and progressive leadership roles at the school level, I began my administrative career.

Working in Grants Development for nine years I facilitated the work of many grant development teams, some that include cross departmental planning teams, parents, community and non-public school representatives. As an administrator at the district level I have work with teams to apply for grants at the foundation, state and federal level. Working as the specialist, in a team effort, more than 76 grant applications were successfully funded for Milwaukee Public Schools. From the year prior to working in grants development to the final couple years the percentage of grants funded per year for the district increased from 58% (23 awarded) FY03 (year prior) to 77.3% (58 awarded) FY10 and 78.6% (44 awarded) FY11.

I have Master’s Degrees in educational leadership and business management, years of experience in education and grant development, and certification and experience in online course facilitation and development. I developed the online graduate level course Basics of Grant Writing which is still facilitated for MPS staff. With this balance of knowledge and experience I can support the programmatic and financial aspects of Title I and create and facilitate interactive professional development that builds district capacity in designing and implementing strategic Title I school and district plans that adhere to the guidelines.

The past seven years I have been working closely with finance to develop the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) application for all Title programs, to monitor programmatic and fiscal implementation of programs under ESEA, to ensure private school consultation and participation in grants that require equitable participation, and to manage and participate in MPS ESEA monitoring audits conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the U.S. Department of Education.

Shelley Perkins - ESEA Non-Public Services

Shelley Perkins attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she received a BA in Elementary Education. She obtained her MA from National Louis University in Curriculum and Instruction as well as a MA in Educational Administration and Supervision. Shelley has worked in Milwaukee Public Schools for over seventeen years.  Prior to becoming the Nonpublic ESEA Supervisor, Shelley held various positions in MPS such as District Literacy Coach, Literacy Specialist, and Early Reading First Grant Specialist. Shelley has an extensive teaching background that includes teaching elementary grades 1-6, instructing in all subject areas. During her teaching tenure, she also served on the Learning Team, PBIS Committee and Governance Council.

Outside of education her interests include spending time with her husband of eleven years and her eight-year-old daughter.  She enjoys shopping and working in the yard.  She is also an active member of Bethesda Church of God in Christ.

Mark Lawrence • ESEA Title I Non-Public Coordinator

Mark Lawrence has been an educator with Milwaukee Public Schools since 1997. He has served the district as a Substitute Teacher, Classroom Teacher, Math Teacher Leader and as a School Administrator. Mark first earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Howard University before entering the field of education. He later went on to earn a degree in Elementary Education prior to obtaining a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. Mark is happily married and the father of three wonderful scholars.

Joseph Hill• ESEA Title I Non-Public Coordinator

I have been in education for 19 years, as a teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Directing Principal.  I have worked in three different districts.  I started in MPS as a student, worked as a teacher and Assistant Principal, then moved to West Allis to be a Principal.  I later became the Directing Principal in Racine and now ESEA Coordinator for MPS.  While being a principal and coordinator I am also teaching for EduCate and Grand Canyon University supervising potential future administrators. 

I have 5 kids, ranging from 5ht grade to Freshman in college.  We live in Glendale and have for the past 10 years.  My wife works in my kid’s school district as a para.  We have a dog name Cooper and our kids have smaller pets of their own.  

I am currently finishing my terminal degree and will earn a PhD once I defend the dissertation.  All course work are done.  I have a masters in Curriculum & Instruction and K-12 Administration.  I have a certification in NISL (National Institute of School Leaders). 

Michael Betts - ESEA  Assistant

I am a Bradley Tech High School graduate, class of 2011. After high school I worked at City Hall through the Earn&Learn Youth Internship Program. I then interned with Milwaukee Public Schools and was hired as a permanent employee in August of 2013.  As a Title I assistant, I provide website and office support for our department's work with non-public school providers.  In my free time I am continuing to pursue my college education.

Cynthia Mendoza - Administrative Assistant II

I have worked for Milwaukee Public Schools for 22 years. My job assignments throughout my career in Milwaukee Public Schools provide evidence of my emphasis on continual professional growth and my ability to adapt to changing circumstances. My career began as a bilingual school secretary 1 (10-month) from 1991-1994. I was then promoted to Elementary Head Secretary from until October 2005 when I was transferred to Milwaukee Education Center Middle School. At Milwaukee Education Center I served as a bilingual school secretary 1 (year round) and was assigned to assist the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bilingual parents/students with transportation, enrollment and was also assigned to overseeing schoolwide incoming/outgoing student records. After two days at MEC I under -filled in the data processing position from 11/1/2005-3/13/2006.In March 2006 I was promoted to data processing secretary 12 –month position and by April 2006 I took over responsibilities for the bookkeeper. At that point I passed the School Secretary II Exam and received a promotion to head secretary 6/12/2006.As head secretary I was the assistant to the Principal, managed six secretaries, and kept the responsibilities as the bookkeeper from 6/12/2006-7/1/2010.Due to closing of Vel Phillips (formerly MEC) I interviewed and accepted the head secretary position in the Title I Office.In August 2011, I passed the clerical skills assessment and was given the title change of Secretary II on 10/3/2011.

Currently I oversee projects for Title I including participation of Chapter 220 students, non-instrumentality Title I reimbursements and other projects as assigned. I am very organized and good at follow through to ensure that tasks are closed out in a proper manner. During the 2012-13 school year I assisted in the start-up of the District Parent Resource Centers and the implementation of 5 new District Parent Support Sessions.

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