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 www.amazon.com is also available on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) 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 http://smile.amazon.com/about.

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 www.ntef.org.

Did you Know?


North Thurston Education Foundation is an approved non-profit in the Fred Meyer Community Rewards Program. Fred Meyer Interested donors may sign up for the program by linking their FM Rewards Card to North Thurston Education Foundation.

Donors can search by our name or our non-profit number 90809 at https://www.fredmeyer.com/topic/community-rewards-4. A percentage of eligible purchases will be donated to NTEF. Customers still earn the usual reward points and rebates.

Board Member Spotlight:


DeAndra Williams, CSP
Business Developer, American Workforce Group, Inc. 

1. How did you first get involved with North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF)?
 I had been talking to Blake [NTEF Board President] about ways that both my company and I could get more involved in the community and he told me about NTEF and that he thought I should meet with Michael to learn more. I met with Michael and was eager to become involved. American Workforce Group was able to be involved immediately and we held a shoe and sock drive for the month of September.
 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
 I enjoy spending time with family and friends, camping, reading, wine tasting and the Seahawks! 

3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?
Beyond getting involved, learning more about what the foundation does and the length it goes to for the kids. Education of the community will lead to more involvement. 



Thank you for your Generous Donation!


What is $150? To Ed Kunkel Jr., it was a compassionate, generous donation to the North Thurston Education Foundation. To a Mom who came up $150 short on her rent last month, it was the difference between overcoming a shortfall and being evicted. Ed will never meet this family, but they were so thankful that the Foundation–with Ed’s donation–completed their rent payment.

Donations often make significant differences in the lives of North Thurston Public Schools’ students and their families. Thank you, Ed, and our other generous donors. Because of You, another family was housed and saved from eviction.

Learn more about how you can help below:

Learn More


Lacey Firefighters Charity

Each year Lacey Firefighters Charity in partnership with North Thurston Public Schools, brings the magic of Christmas to 50 families who don’t have financial means to purchase holiday gifts.

Here are THREE ways to become an Elf to make Christmas count for these families:

1. Pick up a tag from the Giving Trees at any of our Lacey Fire Stations, with gift request for an adopted family: Each Tag has a generic description of an item to purchase for child or family. Please take what you can to help. (Gift value $35)

2. Make a cash donation at our Station Headquarters (M-F 8-5): Recommended donation of $35, but any amount is helpful.

3. Shop the gift registry at Target:

Please return the gifts UN-wrapped with tags attached and placed under the trees by Friday 12/14 5pm or deliver them to the ST-31 Tree: 1231 Franz St SE, Lacey, WA 98503
Phone: (360) 491-2410
THE EVENT ITSELF: On Sunday, Dec 16, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., the families will be welcomed by Lacey Fire Elves, have treats, make crafts, listen to music, and enjoy a photo and gifts from Santa.

Donate Wrapping paper or NEW with TAGS small/medium stuffed animals.