April 7, 2023
The CIRI Foundation Announces President/CEO
Connie Wirz Steps Into TCF Leadership
(ANCHORAGE, AK) – The CIRI Foundation (TCF) is pleased to announce Connie Wirz as our next President/CEO. Ms. Wirz will begin her new position at TCF on Monday, April 10, 2023. She is a CIRI original enrollee and brings a wealth of experience to the Foundation with 40 years of successful work in education and tribal programs. Most recently, Ms. Wirz was a key leader in building the Clare Swan Early Learning Center (CSELC) into a prominent early head start organization supporting Alaska Native families and children.
“The CIRI Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to have Connie Wirz step into the role of President and CEO. Connie’s leadership and experience will continue to support opportunities for higher education and continue to elevate the quality of life of our people,” said TCF Board Chair Dr. Jeff Gonnason.
Ms. Wirz holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She comes to TCF with plenty of experience working within Cook Inlet Region, Inc.’s family of socially driven enterprises. First, she served on the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) Board of Directors as a tribal representative from 2004-2005 and 2014-2015.
Then, during her tenure as Southcentral Foundation (SCF) administrator, starting in 2007, Ms. Wirz provided leadership in pediatrics, radiology, audiology, Health Resources and Services Administration government services and village programs. In addition, she chaired SCF’s Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Nutaqsiivik Community Advisory Board.
In 2015, Ms. Wirz joined CITC full-time as senior director of the CSELC. Her leadership there included responsibility for nine programs, including administration for Native American grants, Alaska Native Education grants, and state, municipal and other early learning grants.
Ms. Wirz has also served as the executive director of Kenaitze Indian Tribe and Cook Inlet Native Head Start/Early Head Start. In addition, she is a Head Start Fellow working with students from birth through high school, a former TCF recipient and board member and serves on the board of the National Indian Head Start Director’s Association. Ms. Wirz strives to find ways to effectively share resources across the CIRI family. She is committed to utilizing a strength-based mindset.
“I truly appreciate the privilege of being chosen to serve our CIRI community in this role. The CIRI Foundation board is steadfast and diligent in their leadership, and I am truly inspired by how much passion the team displays each time I’ve had the opportunity to work with them,” Ms. Wirz said.
About The CIRI Foundation
The CIRI Foundation’s (TCF) primary goal during the past 40 years has been to encourage the education and career development of Alaska Native enrollees and their descendants of Cook Inlet Region. A second, and equally important goal, has been to perpetuate, promote and enhance the heritage of the Region’s indigenous people through programs that foster appreciation and understanding about the Region’s Native traditions. The Foundation and its programs are funded primarily by its 15 endowments and private donations. TCF was established in 1982 by Cook Inlet Region, Inc.