Classroom Champions Welcomes Don Schaaf and Nancy Auslander as Newest Members of Champions Board

Classroom Champions Welcomes Don Schaaf and Nancy Auslander as Newest Members of Champions BoardClassroom Champions, the non-profit organization that connects Olympic and Paralympic athletes with K-8 students across North America to address social, emotional and academic wellbeing in kids, welcomes Don Schaaf and Nancy Auslander to the Champions Board. The newly formed Champions Board brings together philanthropists who align with the mission to fund ambitious, organization-changing initiatives to move the nonprofit forward. "Don Schaaf and Nancy Auslander are longtime believers of our mission. Don comes more from the sports world, while Nancy brings her background as an educator. And together, they understand the impact athlete role models can have on kids; and why it’s critically important to provide these resources to schools." said Steve Mesler, co-founder, President, and CEO of Classroom Champions.Don Schaaf spent his business career in branding and advertising, including more than three decades as the founder and CEO of ds+f, a firm on the coveted INC. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America. His clients ranged from industry leading associations to global manufacturers. He has served on the Board of Directors for both USA Surfing and USA Bobsled/Skeleton, providing invaluable insight on sports branding, career mentoring, sponsorship acquisition and fundraising at the Olympic level. Don also provided pro-bono branding and fundraising services to the Fisher House Foundation for more than a decade, helping the organization grow their homes for wounded warriors tenfold. He received his marketing degree from the University of Maryland and has taught marketing at George Washington University and Marymount University. He and Ms. Auslander reside in Annapolis, MD and Park City, UT.“I am indebted to Steve for introducing me to Classroom Champions. Their mission to visibly move the needle to improve education throughout North American communities is one that I’m thrilled to support,” said Schaaf. “Having spent a third of my career serving on boards dedicated to the success of Olympic teams and athletes, I feel empowered and energized to support these athletes in a new way: Making sure that their skills of perseverance, determination and leadership get passed on to the next generation.” Nancy Auslander taught in the Montgomery County, Maryland school system for nearly three decades, concentrating on special education. Her classrooms were a refuge for students with challenging backgrounds, and “Mrs. A.” focused her career on instilling the confidence needed for them to concur the rigors of life and advance through the educational system. Nancy is still involved in the lives of former students, cheering them on as they continue to reach life milestones. She attended Allegheny College and holds a Masters of Special Education from Towson University. Nancy is immensely proud of her two grown daughters and their spouses. “When I was first introduced to Classroom Champions, I immediately made the connection to Carol Dweck’s research on fixed and growth mindset, as well as Angela Duckworth’s research on grit,” said Auslander. “As an educator myself, I saw the importance of students learning to try, fail, persevere and finally succeed. Today’s students need specialized skills to survive in this world, and current school curriculums often don’t provide all the real-world skills needed. Classroom Champions is perfectly positioned to fill the gap.” The Champions Board creates the opportunity for philanthropists like Schaaf and Auslander to directly impact communities. Programming and resources can create change, and with this support, Classroom Champions is one step closer to being able to Mentor 1 Million Students by 2026, a 3-year organizational goal. Other Members of the Champions BoardDave Pottruck, Former CEO of Charles Schwab, Wharton School of Business ProfessorCraig Senyk, CFA, President and Vice Chair, Mawer Investment ManagementBrendan McCracken & Brigid Hogan, President and CEO, OvintivChris Swonger, CEO of DISCUS and Responsibility.orgAndrea Hopps and Micheal Mezei, Retired, former President Mawer Investment ManagementAndrea Proske, Olympic Gold Medalist, RowingChristian Taylor, 2x Olympic & 4x World Champion-Triple JumpElizabeth Hamilton-Keen, Investment Counsellor, Mawer Investment ManagementChristie & Ben Jacobs, Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer at Anomaly Capital ManagementAbout Classroom ChampionsClassroom Champions is a non-profit that has empowered over 5 million children to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically through the mentorship and mindsets of world-class athletes. Working with 250+ Olympic, Paralympic, NCAA student-athletes and professional athletes who volunteer as mentors, Classroom Champions has provided more than $10,000,000 in program and curriculum grants to underserved, rural, and Indigenous communities across the continent. Students participating in Classroom Champions see significant improvements in the classroom, teachers see improved engagement, and athlete mentors learn new skills to prepare for life after sport. Learn more at:  For more information on Classroom Champions, its programs, and its impact, please visit or email