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Anna Krause

Literacy advocate Anna Krause has been hired as executive director of The Kids' Ranch in Rock Springs.

ROCK SPRINGS — Most people go looking for jobs. Anna Krause’s new job went looking for her.

The literacy advocate recently was named executive director of The Kids’ Ranch, a Rock Springs nonprofit that works with at-risk children. Krause had volunteered for the organization, and learned of Executive Director Sara Ketterer’s August departure during a chance meeting with board member Meg Allen. Krause asked some questions about the opening, and the next thing she knew, she’d been hired.

“I didn’t go looking for this job,” Krause said. “It found me.”

Krause was drawn to the organization by its strong financial standing and its mission to tutor kids struggling in school. She has served the Baraboo Area Literacy Council for 20 years, and has experience raising money for nonprofits.

“Anna has so many gifts to share,” said Mary Bowers, the organization’s education coordinator. “Anna’s creativity, social media and problem-solving skills will be a tremendous asset to our organization.”

The first step on Krause’s path to Kids’ Ranch involved Bowers, then a first-grade teacher at St. Joseph’s School in Baraboo. She told Krause that her son might suffer from dyslexia, a suspicion confirmed by tests.

“I said, ‘Now what?’” Krause recalled.

Seeking answers for her family and wanting to help others, Krause got involved with the Literacy Council. She went on to serve multiple terms as president.

Bowers knew about Krause’s fundraising background, and asked if she’d help Kids’ Ranch. Krause accepted, and quickly learned the organization provides life-changing support to children whose parents are incarcerated or struggling with addiction, as well as kids who live in hotels or with extended family members.

“These children come here and they’re wounded, so much it’s affecting their work in school,” Krause said. “They do good work here.”

During the school year, Kids’ Ranch dispatches tutors to help students in the Baraboo, Sauk Prairie, Reedsburg and Wisconsin Dells schools. Each summer it hosts two-week camps, including horse riding excursions, at its picturesque headquarters in Rock Springs. Besides honing literacy skills, participants learn manners, enjoy social interaction and overcome anxiety.

Next year, the organization hopes to hire a part-time social worker to help meet kids’ emotional needs. Kids’ Ranch also needs reading tutors, drivers and someone to operate the horse riding program.

“I love development work. It’s kind of like problem-solving,” said Krause, whose first day on the job was Nov. 8. “A need comes up and you try to fulfill the need.”

The North Freedom resident also works at Spa Serenity in Baraboo, a role she’ll try to juggle with her 30-hours-a-week job running Kids’ Ranch.

“It’s nice to be helping people in this kind of capacity, especially children,” Krause said.

Bowers called Krause a “go-getter” who will energize the organization. “She is a people person with a heart for children,” Bowers said. “I am excited to work with her building new partnerships so that Kids’ Ranch can help meet the needs of even more struggling children.”

Follow Ben Bromley on Twitter @ben_bromley