The Test Kitchen Foundation will empower dedicated educators to serve area students in a safe, nurturing, environment while young people learn to appreciate healthy, delicious, food prepared by area chefs.
We see the Test Kitchen Foundation as a place where academic achievements and Culinary Creations are celebrated.
Founder: Kumar Wickramasingha
Implementing the Vision and Mission
Kumar is perhaps best known in Fort Madison and southeast Iowa for his culinary expertise. He is also a friend and business associate of James Elliott and shares his vision of serving our students in need of assistance with their school work by providing them with a safe learning environment. Kumar also believes in empowering educators who are passionate about teaching to go above and beyond in helping students prepare for the future.
Kumar first arrived in the United States in 1986 from his native country of Sri Lanka as a foreign exchange student. He was fortunate to meet George and Jean Alton, both teachers in the Fort Madison Community School District. The couple invited Kumar to share their home and gave him an opportunity to pursue higher education. With their love and passion for learning, he was able to get the education he needed which enabled Kumar to fulfill his American dream of becoming the owner of a well-known local restaurant and later to become a leader in a successful state-wide healthcare organization.
To show his gratitude for the opportunities provided to him in Fort Madison, he wants to “pay it forward” by giving back to this community which he loves and treasures. Making the vision a reality in rural Iowa towns begins with the opening of the very first Elliott Test Kitchen in Fort Madison, Iowa. An investment in our youth is the best investment for the future.
Board of Directors
Kevin Rink • Ken Marang • Jim Sholl • Donna Peterie • Paul Schulte • Mary Jo Scheetz • Mary Kurtz
Consultant: Brent Zirkel
Brent Zirkel has taught Spanish at Fort Madison High School for the past 12 years. He has a BA in Geography and Spanish Education, an MS in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Bilingual Education (ELL), and soon will be certified as a Pre-K-12 Administrator and Special Education Supervisor.
Brent is also a co-founder of Cadre Learning, LLP: an innovative partnership of educational specialist and consultants dedicated to bridging the technology gap in order to modernize teaching for the 21st Century. Brent has been honored with the Terry Branstad Inspiring Teacher Award for the past five consecutive years for serving as a motivational force to some of Iowa’s top performing high school students.
Brent enjoys spending time with his wife, Michelle, and two sons, Brevin and Bram. He is an avid fan of Survivor, the TV show, and is a true believer in progress through struggle. Brent sees education as the greatest opportunity to build a better tomorrow by positively impacting the lives of his students.
Consultant: Andrew Troxel
Andrew Troxel has taught Social Studies at Fort Madison High School for the past seven years. He has a BA in Secondary Education and Broadfield Social Studies from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, as well as an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instructional Technology from Iowa State University.
In addition to teaching various social studies courses at Fort Madison High School, he is also the curriculum specialist for the building. Andrew is also is one of the co-founders of Cadre Learning, LLP, a company that specializes in educational consulting and technology integration training. Andrew has received the Iowa Governor’s Scholar Influential Teacher award and the Western Illinois University Most Influential Teacher award.
Andrew has been married to his wife, Jillian, for eight years and has two children, Rosalyn (4) and Liam (1).