Board Member Spotlight: Bill Williams Vice President, North Thurston Education Foundation Board of Trustees

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

I was on the North Thurston School Board when the Foundation was created and recognized that it could be a great potential benefit for our students, especially those from low-income families. As a school board member I monitored the Foundation’s growth, and when my last school board term ended I hoped that by serving on the Foundation’s board I could help it continue to grow and help more students.

While the growth has been impressive, as the district has grown in student population, the number of students the Foundation can benefit has also grown, and the Foundation still has great potential to meet that need.


 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy reading, going to movies and watching TV (mostly sports). We care for our daughter’s dog Hank and I also enjoy my daily walks with him. And of course spending time with my four grandchildren, two in San Francisco and two in Olympia. I also enjoy my other volunteer work, including service on the board of directors of the Capital Region Educational Service District 113 board and the board of the Association of Washington School Principals.  
3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

Of course, contributing regularly helps the Foundation continue to grow, and endowing a scholarship or other long term source creates a legacy that will benefit children well into the future.

More important, however, is for people to be aware of the need and to get involved, either by volunteering on a committee or the board and by spreading the word about the Foundation among their friends, neighbors, work colleagues and others. The North Thurston community is a supportive and caring community and I am confident that by working together we can continue to do great things for kids. 

Learning Improvement Grants Can Make a Real Difference in the Classroom!

Our Learning Improvement Grants help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals. Last year, Jeff Wilson of Meadows Elementary was awarded a $1,500 grant to use for “Innovative Teaching & Learning: Robotics/Coding” for his students! Way to go, Jeff!

Learn more about our LIG grants:

The next deadline for submitting a Learning Grant application has been extended to May 15, 2019!

Jeff Wilson of Meadows Elementary School 

Please join us for the Learning Improvement Grant Showcase

The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) has a robust Learning Improvement Grant (LIG) program that provides funds to teachers in North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) for classroom use. The LIG Committee selects recipients through a competitive application process. Funds help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals.

On April 30, 2019, teachers who have received Learning Improvement Grants are invited to showcase how they used the funds in their classroom and the community is invited to attend and learn more about innovation in the classroom.

“Through post-grant reports, we’ve read about how teachers have used the funds, but now we’ll get a more hands-on perspective of how teachers are using the funds to increase student learning. We believe a showcase approach will improve teacher collaboration and will inspire new ideas for classroom innovation,” said Mike Jones, NTEF Executive Director.

WHAT — North Thurston Education Foundation Learning Improvement Grant Showcase
WHEN — April 30, 2019 at, 5 p.m.
WHERE — Bower Learning Center, 4111 6th Ave NE, Lacey.
FOR MORE INFO — Contact Mike Jones, (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]

North Thurston Education Foundation Announces Scholarship Applications are now OPEN!

The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) has a robust scholarship program that provides funds for North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) graduates who will attend post-secondary schools, including vocational or trade schools, colleges or universities.

NTEF awarded 36 scholarships in 2018 valued at approximately $120,000. The scholarship program includes designated named endowed scholarships and Foundation funded scholarships. Each scholarship has a minimum value of $2,000 and each NTPS high school will receive at least one scholarship. Some scholarships are renewable from year to year. Completed applications must be submitted to the student’s school (NTPS only) counseling/career center or mailed to NTEF on or before the April 12 deadline.

WHAT — North Thurston Education Foundation Scholarships Now Open
WHEN — Opened January 1, 2019, and will close on April 12, 2019
WHERE Click here.
FOR MORE INFO — Contact Cathy Callahan, Chair of NTEF’s Scholarship Committee at 360-888-3175

Learning Improvement Grants Can Make a Real Difference in the Classroom!

Heather Claiborne of Nisqually Middle School with Mike Jones, Executive Director of NTEF 

Last year, with the help of a LIG, Nisqually Middle School was able to purchase 6 Nikon Coolpix cameras for the Sci-Art Club.

We have already completed our first project of taking pictures around the Nisqually Campus with the theme of “patterns in nature.” Students were able to download and edit and print their pictures (using my computer and printer). Their photos were on display in the hallway. I have also used the cameras for taking pictures on a science field trip to the LOTT Clean Water Alliance Wet Center and to take pictures of robots in my robotics class. I plan to use the cameras a lot next year in my Sci-Art club, science field trips and projects and in robotics,” said Heather Claiborne at Nisqually Middle School. You have four opportunities a year to apply for grants, September 15, November 1, February 1, and May 1.

The next deadline of February 1 is almost here!

Board Member Spotlight: Beth Utto-Galarneau Pastor, St. Mark Lutheran Church in Lacey


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

Six years ago, Mike Jones, who is now the Executive Director, was an NTEF Board Member and encouraged me to attend a meeting to find out more about the organization.  I was impressed with the amazing and important work being done by NTEF for our students, teachers, and schools.  This organization is truly about removing barriers to help students and teachers be successful.  I wanted to be involved not only by being a donor, but also in a hands on way.  The Board of Trustees is a “working board” so it was a perfect fit for my desire to improve and build our community in a meaningful way.  

2.) What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

I love being with my family.  Exploring our beautiful Pacific Northwest and traveling to new places makes me happy!  I enjoy being creative and dabble in a variety of art media.  One of my favorite artistic endeavors is creating pottery.  I also delight in encouraging the creativity of others.  

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

The first step of supporting the work of NTEF is to become aware of the many ways we assist our NTPS students, teachers, staff and schools. Attend a Board Meeting or please look at our website to see how you can join us in impacting the lives of our students in a profoundly good way! We welcome community involvement in our many projects and committees.  You do not have to be a Board Member to participate in any of our committees, including our committees that award Learning Improvement Grants to Teachers and Scholarships to Graduating Seniors and our committee that plans our Annual Fundraising Luncheon.  Obviously, financial donations are encouraged to support our important mission in removing barriers for our students to be successful.  Please thoughtfully consider how you might be involved–“It’s for the kids!” 

Did you Know?

NTEF is registered with the AmazonSmile organization to receive donations from customers who select the Foundation as their non profit of choice. Individuals making purchases through Amazon may go online under AmazonSmile and select the North Thurston Education Foundation to receive a percentage of the amount of the eligible purchase, at no cost to them. Every item available for purchase on is also available on AmazonSmile ( at the same price. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. For more information about the AmazonSmile program, go to

North Thurston Education Foundation Featured on KIRO Radio

From left to right, Damon Martin (Mathis Exterminating), Dori Monson (KIRO) and Blake Knoblauch (North Thurston Education Foundation Board President)

Thanks to our friend and donor, Damon Martin with Mathis Exterminating, North Thurston Education was featured on KIRO Radio. You can listen to the clip here:

North Thurston Education Foundation Announces its Annual Meeting and 30th Year

North Thurston Education Foundation Announces its Annual Meeting and 30th Year

Lacey, WA, January 9, 2019 – The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) is holding their Annual Meeting on Tuesday, January 29 at 5:00 p.m. at the Board Room of North Thurston Public Schools, Administrative Center, 305 College Street NE, Lacey, WA 98516. According to the organization’s bylaws, anyone who has donated $25 or more qualifies as a member and may attend.

There will be an opportunity to meet and greet other members and the Board of Directors and enjoy light refreshments prior to the meeting. The meeting will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. This year, NTEF is celebrating 30 years serving the students of North Thurston Public Schools.

What: North Thurston Education Foundation Annual Meeting, open to all *members

(*A member is anyone who has donated $25 or more.)

Where: Board Room of North Thurston Public Schools, Administrative Center, 305 College Street NE, Lacey, WA 98516

When: Tuesday, January 29 at 5:00 p.m.

 ABOUT NORTH THURSTON EDUCATION FOUNDATION: Incorporated in 1989, the North Thurston Education Foundation is an independent, tax-exempt non-profit volunteer organization that raises funds to eliminate financial barriers to student success among North Thurston students from low-income families.  In addition to the scholarship program, the Foundation provides staff at each district school with student assistance funds that can be used for student needs that cannot be met with public funds; provides financial help to the district’s more than one thousand homeless students; and makes grants to teachers for special classroom projects.  More information about the Foundation is available at