Our Staff

Amanda Michaelis
Executive Director


Amanda joined SAUW in the spring of 2013. For the previous 12 years Amanda has held several key positions at Propane Central, including Human Resources Manager, Director of Administration, and most recently, Regional Bookkeeper.

In January 2014, Amanda was selected as a member of the second cohort of United Way Worldwide's Executive Leadership Development Program. This 12-month development experience includes multi-disciplinary curriculum, in-depth assessments, executive coaching, peer-to-peer engagement, and in-person learning opportunities.  The program is designed for local United Way executives to home their skills needed to lead in this world of volatility, uncertainty, ambiguity and change.

Amanda received her BS in Business Administration from the University of Kansas, and her MS in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has continued her involvement in education by teaching business classes at Kansas Wesleyan University, K-State Salina and Brown Mackie College.

Much of Amanda’s free time has been spent participating as a board member with several local not-for-profit organizations. She has served the Salina community in many capacities, including President of the Board of Trustees of the Salina Education Foundation, Board President of the Salina Child Care Association, and treasurer of the Salina Country Club. Currently, Amanda serves on the USD 305 Consumer Services Advisory Council, Salina Adult Education Center Advisory Board, Saline County Community Corrections Advisory Board, KWU Career Services Advisory Board, LIFT Selection Committee for the Salina Education Foundation, is a member of Altrusa International, and is Chairman of Partners in Early Childhood Education (7/2014-Present).

When she isn’t giving her time to her community, Amanda can be found gardening, reading, running, and supporting her two children at their various activities with her husband Todd.


Brenda Gutierrez
Program Director


Brenda joined SAUW in the fall of 2009. As a community impact organization working in the areas of Education, Income and Health, Brenda leads in the areas of agency and community relations. Brenda received both her BS and BFA from K-State Manhattan, and she has plentiful experience in both the non-profit and for-profit settings. Brenda draws on a strong background of marketing and public relations as she works to improve communication while increasing interest and participation. Brenda leverages her skills, working with volunteers, organizations, donors, and leaders to further the value, mission, and vision of SAUW. A committed community advocate, one way she gives back is by serving on the steering committee of the Saline County Back to School Fair, now in its 12th year.

Brenda and her husband Michael have lived in Salina for over 20 years, and are active volunteers and board members for many community and service organizations.

Tanya Penn
Finance & Donor Services Specialist


Tanya joined SAUW in the spring of 2015. Hailing from White Cloud, she attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO. Previously a fundraiser for EmberHope, she was over 10 years of experience working with non-profits. Tanya is passionate about creating community awareness and providing education to the underserved. She works closely with businesses and individuals to cultivate relationships and encourage opportunities for collaboration, as well as managing finances in and out of SAUW. 

Tanya lives in Salina with her husband, Rodney, with whom she has four children. In her freetime she is active in her church and children's schools.


Ruth Vernon
Social Media Manager


Ruth joined SAUW in the winter of 2012. She brings experience in the areas of communications, social media, and editing. Ruth assists with public relations, administrative duties, web development and communications. She enjoys encouraging community involvement and working with local organizations. Ruth is currently a volunteer Ally for Circles of the Heartland, and actively involved with the Salina Community Theatre.



Contact us at

P.O. Box 355
Salina, KS

(785) 827-1312


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