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Financial Planning and Budget Services Staff

The Department of Financial Planning & Budget Services:

  • Provides analytical support and recommendations in the areas of budget, financial performance, operational planning and program policy
  • Preserves and enhances financial resources through budget monitoring
  • Coordinates ESEA compliance and non-public school services
  • Develops the proposed and final adopted budgets
  • Provides development support for federal, state, private and partnership grants


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

FY19 Financial Planning & Budget Services Organizational Chart


Lynn Ruhl • Financial Planning and Budget Services Director II

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 twenty-four 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 office chiefs in support of annual budget creation and recommendations, training central staff in the current general ledger and budget monitoring principles.    Continually strive to create efficiencies in collecting data and reporting to State and Federal 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 President of WACT and the Wisconsin state representative to the AACT Region III and to the AACT board

Mary Blackburn • Financial Planning and Budget Coordinator

Mary Blackburn is a Financial Planning and Budget Services Coordinator, working for Milwaukee Public Schools in Milwaukee, WI.  In that role, she assists schools and departments in planning and monitoring their budgets to ensure efficient use of resources in support of student achievement. 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 • Financial Planning and Budget Coordinator (underfill) / Budget Analyst East & Transformation 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 & High School Region

Seemi Daniel is a budget/financial 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 multiple 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.

Ruza Drca • Budget Analyst Northwest & High School (alternative & multilevel)  Region

Ruza Drca is a Financial Planning and Budget Analyst at Milwaukee Public Schools. In her role she supports principals in developing, monitoring and analyzing their budgets. She graduated from MPS, Hamilton High School. 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.

Sarah Lueth • Budget Analyst Southwest Region

My career with the Milwaukee Public Schools began in August of 1998 as a co-op student from Solomon Juneau Business High School, where I also graduated.  While the entire 20 years have been with the Office of Finance, I have had continued growth in my career and skill development throughout various areas in the department, including Payroll, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Grant Accounting.  I have earned an associate’s degree in Accounting from MATC and a bachelor’s degree in Business from Alverno College. The option to begin growth and envision development in my career began with the opportunity presented to me in high school within MPS.  I will be forever thankful for the support so many individuals in the district presented to me throughout my journey and look forward to providing the same level of support to all our district families.

Shelley Perkins • ESEA Coordination & Compliance Manager

I am an innovative, passionate, and accomplished leader with more than 20 years of successful educational experience of working in the largest school district in Wisconsin. I have a proven ability to foster relationships with all stakeholders and provide expert educational leadership and ESEA grant oversight.

I am most fulfilled when helping to ensure that all students have a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. I am knowledgeable about the requirements, accountability, guidelines and management of federal dollars received from the state under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

I began my career over 20 years ago as an elementary school teacher at Siefert Elementary School.  For the past six years I have been working in the ESEA Division helping to ensure private school consultation and participation in grants that require equitable participation.

My current position and teaching experience has helped to expand my knowledge and skills of monitoring, evaluating and analyzing district level supports and school level instructional techniques; professional development, classroom coaching, and data reports.

My experience is supported by a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National- Louis University.  Additionally, I have obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  I have taken numerous courses in the areas of education, reading, curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership.

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 6th grade to Sophomore in college.  We live in Glendale and have for the past 11 years.  My wife works in my kid’s school district as a paraprofessional.  We have a dog named 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) and love to read.  I am very excited to be back into MPS and look forward to helping this district and kids succeed.

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 • ESEA Administrative Assistant III

I have worked for Milwaukee Public Schools since 1/3/1991.  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 I (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 I (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.  As of July 2016 I was promoted to ESEA Administrative Assistant III.

Currently I oversee projects for Title I including participation of Chapter 220 students, partnership & 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.

Ashley Adsit• Grant Development Manager

Ashley Adsit currently oversees district discretionary grant development and application processes as the Grant Development Manager within the Department of Financial Planning & Budget Services. Adsit has been with Milwaukee Public Schools for over eight years and manages a two-person development team. Collectively, the team facilitates over $60 million in grant application requests annually, provides districtwide professional development, and supports partnership grant applications in which an external organization is the fiscal agent. Prior to joining the grant development team in 2015, Adsit was the lead administrator of over 50 grant-funded 21st Century Community Learning Center programs within the Department of Recreation & Community Services.

Adsit earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in Recreation Management and Business Administration, as well as a Master of Business Administration with a concentration on Public Administration from Concordia University – Wisconsin. Adsit also holds a Project Management Associate certificate from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional through the National Park and Recreation Association.

Carla Fries • Grant Specialist

Carla Fries is a Grant Specialist within the Department of Financial Planning and Budget Services. She provides leadership and guidance of major grant proposals for district-level projects, while ensuring the proposals are aligned with the district’s strategic plan and priorities.

A Chicago native, Carla served for over 14 years in the Cook County (IL) State’s Attorney’s Office, where, for eight of those years, she wrote and managed state and federal grants. She also served in the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office. Carla is a graduate of Western Illinois University, where she earned her B.A. in Sociology. She concluded her studies at DePaul University within their Master’s Program in Sociology.

Leah Alsteen • Grant Associate

Leah Alsteen is a grant associate with Milwaukee Public Schools, assisting with grant efforts for all district schools since 2016. She has been with the district for almost seven years. Most recently, she has been instrumental in assisting schools with receiving 70% more grant funding than the previous year for an award total of $668,550.

Leah has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is completing a master’s degree in organizational leadership and administration from Concordia University. In addition to grant development activities, she has obtained a project management associate certificate from Milwaukee School of Engineering and is also Smartsheet Center of Excellence certified.

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