Joe Foss Institute Announces New CEO

Former U.S. Congressman to lead organization’s efforts to educate and inspire future leaders


SCOTTSDALE, AZ (January 6, 2015) – The Joe Foss Institute Board of Directors has named Frank Riggs the new President and CEO of the Joe Foss Institute (JFI). The mission of JFI is to restore civics education in K-12 schools and ensure that all high school graduates are ready for active, engaged citizenship.


Riggs will also head JFI’s affiliate, the Civics Proficiency Institute (CPI), which has launched a national campaign called the Civics Education Initiative to encourage all 50 states to adopt the United States Citizenship Civics Test, the test all new U.S. citizens must pass, as a condition of high school graduation.


Riggs succeeds Dr. Lucian Spataro, who has joined an on-line education technology company as its president and COO. Spataro will remain on the JFI and CPI boards, and serve as co-chair of JFI’s annual fundraiser, Stars in Service.


“I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to build on the solid foundation at JFI,” Riggs said. “As CEO, my priorities will be expanding and branding JFI as the national leader for civics education, advocacy and engagement, and inspiring future generations to public service.”


JFI Board Chairman Sandy Froman said, “While I am saddened that Lucian has chosen to depart, I am ecstatic that he is remaining on both boards and that we have someone of Frank’s caliber to fill his shoes. Frank brings years of  leadership experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors, and is ideally suited to take the Joe Foss Institute to the next level and move the Civics Education Initiative forward.”


Riggs, a 13-year resident of Scottsdale, is a former three-term U.S. Congressman from Northern California and a recent Arizona gubernatorial candidate. He is also an Army veteran and former police officer, and served as president and CEO of the national non-profit Charter Schools Development Corporation for eight years. 


JFI is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization focused on America’s unique freedoms, and the rights and obligations of her citizens, while championing patriotic ideals and the importance of public service as exemplified by our nation’s military veterans. It is the enduring vision and legacy of the late Joe Foss, WW II Marine Corps combat “Ace” and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, who founded JFI in 2001 with his wife, Didi Foss. Since then, JFI has served 1.5 million students nationally through its programs, including the Veterans Inspiring Patriotism (VIP) program that recruits and trains veterans to make classroom presentations in elementary and secondary schools and deliver educational materials including the U.S. flag and copies of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.


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