Friends of University Academy Board Members

Friends of University Academy Board Members


Mary Bloch

Mrs. Bloch is a freelance food and travel writer and community leader.  Previously, she practiced law.  Mrs. Bloch’s educational background includes a B.A. from Colorado College and J.D. degree from St. Louis University.  Mrs. Bloch is a board member for the Oppenstein Brothers Foundation and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School Council of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  Additionally, Mrs. Bloch is a member of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Board of Advocates.  She previously served on the boards of a number of education focused institutions.

Bush Helzberg

Mr. Helzberg is Managing Partner of Expedition Capital, an investment firm. Prior to Expedition Capital and its predecessor, Mr. Helzberg was an investment banker in the Financial Sponsors Group (LBO firm coverage) at Lehman Brothers in New York City. In that capacity, Mr. Helzberg spent a majority of his time working closely with financial sponsor clients (LBO firms) on acquisition finance projects across a variety of industries.

Mr. Helzberg is the President of University Academy (a K-12 college preparatory charter public school) and Friends of University Academy (an organization that funds and manages special programs and opportunities for University Academy students and alumni).

Mr. Helzberg’s educational background includes a J.D. degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Columbia University (Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society). Prior to graduate school, Mr. Helzberg served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa. Mr. Helzberg also holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Mr. Helzberg has served as a board member for a number of organizations including World Learning, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. He has also served as a member of the Advisory Council of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the Committee on Collections for the Nelson-Atkins Museum, and the Board of Advisors of Stanford Law School.

Vicki Reisler

Mrs. Reisler is a freelance artist and surface designer. Previously, she owned a national marketing and promotions business based in Kansas City.

Mrs. Reisler studied art history and textile design at the University of Kansas. She also completed course work at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of California, Los Angeles.

A community volunteer, Mrs. Reisler served six years on the MOCSA (Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault) board of directors. She is currently Vice President of Development and a board member of the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City and a board member of the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.

Kit Smith

Kit Smith received her Bachelors in Human Development and Family Life from the University of Kansas in 1982 and has been an Early Childhood Educator in Kansas City for 34 years. She began her career at The University of Kansas Medical Center where she was Program Director for Jay Care, an Early Childhood Center serving the children of the Medical Center’s employees.

For the past 31 years, Kit has taught Preschool and Prekindergarten at The Pembroke Hill School. Her first three years at PHS, she also directed the Extended Day Program. Kit Smith has served on the Board of Directors for The New Reform Temple for six years. Kit also enjoyed teaching the Kindergarten and First Graders every Sunday for Twenty Years at The New Reform Temple.

Basically, Kit has devoted all of her adult life to nurturing young children and educating the community on the importance of early education!

Mindy Wilson

Mrs. Wilson is a freelance writer, editor, and grant writer. Additionally, she consults with educational institutions locally on resource development and other special projects. Mrs. Wilson’s educational background includes a B.A. from Tufts University and a Masters in Education from Boston College. Mrs. Wilson is a member of the Jewish Heritage Foundation Board and serves on Westwood View Elementary’s Educational Enhancement Fund.

Prior to college and graduate school, Mrs. Wilson attended both the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the Experiment in International Living, two organizations with which Friends of UA and the students of University Academy are actively associated.