Grants Help Students Overcome Barriers to Academic Success – Often in Unexpected Ways…

Our Student Assistance Grants are designed to help students overcome obstacles that may prevent them from academic success. Barriers to academic achievement come in a variety of ways, and often start at home with personal or financial problems. We recently assisted a family in extreme financial need when we supplemented the cost of a head lice technician coming into their trailer to rid them of an ongoing infestation. They had tried other interventions and products and needed a permanent and professional solution.

In the past 29 years, the North Thurston Education Foundation has given more than $1,500,000 to students and schools in the North Thurston Public Schools to help young people overcome obstacles to their education. Each year hundreds of students are helped through the Foundation’s programs.

In 2017, the Foundation provided $247,189 in support to students in North Thurston Public schools through our major programs, a new high in Foundation history.

Board Member Spotlight: Dorene Berg, Marketing Consultant KXXO-Mixx 96.1


1.) How did you first get involved in NTEF?

The strong connection NTEF has with meeting the needs for teachers and students successfully meets my volunteer goals. Local need is so great, I found the perfect reasoning for personal investment, so I emailed the foundation and responded to meeting with the Foundation Director, just last January.
 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My husband and I have a real appreciation for music. We love supporting youth concerts, stage performances, and live band performances. We also travel to visit family and enjoy time camping. A lot of our free time is spent with our young grandchildren.
3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

Please donate! The need is so great. All students (K-12) benefit from the funding brought to our schools through the work of NTEF. This fills the gap of financial support necessary to maintain the well-rounded opportunities we want for all our youth and offers a true investment in the future of North Thurston students. 


Student Assistance Grants Help Families in Crisis

Recently, we received a call from a case manager at the Family Support Center (FSC). She was working with a family who had a student in our school district. The mother had received a “three-day pay or vacate notice” and was in need of immediate rental assistance to avoid eviction. The family had nowhere else to go if they lost housing. The Family Support Center was out of funding and reached out to us to ask if we were able to assist with the rent. We explained that we needed to be sure that the family had a plan for next month and the case manager assured us that she would be able to pay her rent from this point on.

One of our North Thurston Public Schools’ families lost their home recently due to some unfortunate circumstances. They were living in their car with their dad. He ended up, reluctantly, sending the children to stay with the grandparents in Oregon until he could find permanent housing. Recently, he found an apartment to rent in Lacey so his children could return home and live with him. He had saved enough for a deposit and last month’s rent, but was short $400 on the current month’s rent he needed in order to move in.

After receiving the request, NTEF granted the family $400 to get them into stable housing. When Brenda McAferty, North Thurston Public Schools McKinney Vento Homeless / Foster Care Liaison called the dad to let him know we could help him, he broke down and cried with sheer relief. That is the power of a community rallying around our vulnerable families.

Our Student Assistance Grant program is designed to help families and students overcome obstacles to their success in school. Homelessness is absolutely an obstacle to success in school, so in these cases we work to ensure the family keeps a home or can get into permanent housing. In addition to paying rent, we also were able to pay one water bill and two power bills.

Here’s how Student Assistance Grants work: Annual allocations are provided to every school in the district, and to a district-at-large fund, to be used for personal and school needs. We work with many local organizations to fulfill these grants.

Learn more about how you can help with future needs of families and students in the North Thurston community.

“It’s For the Kids” Annual Luncheon Set for October 12

Lacey, WA, September 17, 2018 – Please join the North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) for our annual luncheon, It’s For the Kids, on Friday, October 12 at 11:30 a.m. at the Lacey Community Center.

There is no charge to attend the luncheon, but a $100 donation is encouraged. All donations raised at the luncheon will go toward the Foundation’s scholarship program, Student Assistance Grants and Learning Improvement Grants. In 2017, NTEF distributed close to $250,000.

Our keynote speaker is Deanna East. Deanna is a McKinney Vento Student Navigator and she is part of the team that works with North Thurston Public Schools’ homeless students (nearly 1,000) and families and she will highlight the struggles our homeless and low-income students face every day.

When Deanna East began her career with North Thurston Public Schools 13 years ago, she was shocked to discover that there were homeless students who attended our schools. After working in a few different schools, she joined the McKinney Vento team that works one-on-one with our district’s homeless students and their families to educate, mentor, and navigate them through programs that can assist with their needs and help them succeed in school.

Through her work, Deanna began advocating for the homeless and started three new programs at Timberline to ensure that all students had access to food, personal hygiene products, and an onsite small clothing bank.

She is an executive board member of the BOOST Scholarships and an active volunteer for many nonprofits that serve our local homeless population. For the last 11 years, Deanna has been the keynote speaker for the nonprofit entity Homeless Backpack Inc., and also was their site coordinator at Timberline for ten years. She was inspired to return to school to complete her Bachelor’s degree at Evergreen State College, which would help her research best practices in supporting our homeless and low-income students to be more successful in school and beyond.

There are sponsorship and volunteer opportunities available. For more information, please contact Mike Jones at (360) 790-6548 or


Thank you, sponsors!


Board Member Spotlight: Erik Naslund, VP, Wealth Strategies Advisor Heritage Wealth Strategies

1. How did you first get involved in NTEF?

I was invited by a current Board Member to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting. After of hearing all the ways NTEF supports kids in our community I was immediately inspired to become involved.

2. How do you enjoy spending your free time?

We have a young family with boys ages 2 and 4; you will usually find us working in our yard, at a local park, community event or camping for a long weekend.

3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

Join Us! NTEF represents an opportunity for members of the community to improve the educational opportunities, quality of life and future for thousands of young people in our community. Whether you have time to volunteer, experience to share or financial contributions to make; the kids need you.

First Deadline for Learning Improvement Grants is September 15, 2018


Amber Hoenes received a Learning Improvement Grant from North Thurston Education Foundation.

Learning Improvement Grants, to educators for classroom use, have been given since 1996. Currently, several grants are selected through a competitive application process. Funds help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals.

You have 4 opportunities a year to apply for grants, September 15, November 1, February 1, and May 1.

Download the form here.

North Thurston Education Foundation Awards $120,000 in Scholarships to 36 Students

The North Thurston Education Foundation has awarded scholarships with a total value of $120,000 to 36 graduating seniors from North Thurston Public Schools.

Recipients of the scholarships — which range in value from $2,000 to $11,000 —were selected on the basis of factors that included financial need, academic performance, school and community activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.

“This year’s applicants were exceptionally gifted and deserving. The Foundation is pleased to be able to award scholarships to these outstanding students to assist them as they continue their educations,” said Cathy Callahan who chaired the committee that reviewed applications and selected the scholarship recipients.  She noted that recipients will be attending vocational-technical schools, community colleges, and colleges and universities across the country.

The following graduating seniors received this year’s awards:

North Thurston High School:
Addison Parker DeMeire
Annissa G. Deguzman
Bethany Samone Ball
Devan Marie Gunther
Eden Young Ahn
Emily Chaeyoung Kim
Hunter Steven Kosmider
Luis Esteban Rodriguez Socon
MacKenzie Marie Polly Kennedy
Madelyn R. Olson
Paige Bristol Sedgwick
Truc Ngoc Pham.

Timberline High School:
Chloe Kusterbeck Aseron
James Owen Beardslee
Jayden Hunter Collins
Joseph Paul Gardner
Hope Marie Hocutt
Joshua J. Lee
Kayla Neeley
Lesly Patricia Navarrete
Maya Jasmine Martinez
Sophie A. Hall
Taylor Carlson
Aditi Kumar

River Ridge High School:
Aramara E. Sanchez
Avonya Essence Divinity
Cato Delos Cannizzo
Felina Jo Guynn
Janeah C. Owens
Jarett Golden Stalcup
Jasmin Salcedo
Jiovani Gilberto Cervantes
Jordyne Denise Dorer
McKenzie M. Goff and Naomi Diesta Stanley.

South Sound High School:
Cole Parker Roderick.

Fifteen of the scholarships are named after individuals in the community and funded by bequests from or donations on behalf of the persons for whom they are named. The remaining twenty-one scholarships were funded solely by the Foundation’s annual fund-raising and by an unrestricted grant from the Dawkins Charitable Trust.

The scholarships recipients were celebrated at a June 12, 2018 reception honoring them and the Foundation’s donors. The reception provided an opportunity for students and donors to meet and visit.

For more information, contact Mike Jones, Executive Director, 360-790-6548 or Cathy Callahan, Scholarship Chair, 360-888-3175.

Helping with Soccer Fees –

Recently we were pleased to be able to help two students struggling with the recent deportation of their father. The family is struggling with both the loss of their father and loss of income for the family. The school counselor at a North Thurston public elementary school recommended the students get involved in an outside activity to stay engaged and help offset the trauma of the boys’ recent experience.

North Thurston Education Foundation was able to assist with fees for the boys to attend Kidz Love Soccer this spring, a program through Lacey Parks and Recreation. Kidz Love Soccer youth soccer classes are open to boys and girls of all abilities. Their field-tested, proprietary curriculum is fun and engaging and customized for kids of all ages. They offer high-energy classes specially designed to encourage a better SELF – Sportsmanship, Esteem, Learning and Fun.