“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 [email protected]


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.

Helping Students Overcome Obstacles – One Family’s Story

In addition to Scholarships and Learning Improvement Grants, our Foundation also offers Student Assistance Grants to help students overcome obstacles to their success in school.  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. The Partnership seeks donations, bequests, or endowments to provide financial assistance to students and their families in North Thurston Public Schools.

Recently, we assisted a family who has three diabetic students. The family lives at the poverty level and have been dealing with the stress of an impending divorce. The North Thurston Education Foundation was able to help them with the registration fee ($50 for each child) to attend a weeklong diabetic camp.

“We were grateful to learn that the foundation would support us in sending these 3 students to camp if we were unable to secure scholarships.  It was a relief to not feel the pressure of telling the family ”no” if the scholarship fell through. As it turned out the scholarship came through and the foundation paid for the registration fees. A  win-win for all of us!” said Debbie LaFever, School Counselor at Lacey Elementary School.

Camp Leo holds summer sessions at Black Diamond Camp at Rainier to help kids and young adults overcome the challenges of living with diabetes.  Camp Leo offers:

  • A safe camp environment
  • Medically sound healthcare and diabetes management  techniques and practices to all individuals at camp
  • Skills necessary to achieve good diabetes management
  • An opportunity to people with diabetes to feel like the norm rather than the exception
  • A collaborative, positive and unique experience for all campers and staff
  • Opportunities to all participants to develop new skills, improve leadership, build self-esteem, and contribute in a meaningful way to serving their community
  • Access to Camp Leo programs to any family affected by diabetes, regardless of their financial situation

North Thurston Education Foundation Announces New Officers for the 2018 term

The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) is pleased to introduce the new officers of the 2018 Board of Trustees:

Blake Knoblauch, President

Cathy Callahan, Vice President for Disbursements and Awards

Dorn Barr, Vice President for Resource Development

Bill Williams, Vice President for Resource Management

Ron Sisson, Erik Naslund


Other board members include Dorene Berg, Beth Brown, Paula Coviello, Cameron Daniels, Maria Dunn, Carletta Garraway, Sarah Hendry, Janey Howell, Dr. Bruce Higdon, Tonni Johnston, Brenda McAferty, Erik Naslund, Beth Utto-Galarneau and Erica VanLierop.

Incoming NTEF Board President, Blake Knoblauch, works for The Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and brings strong leadership skills with an emphasis on continuity and community involvement. Prior to joining NTEF, Knoblauch served on the executive board of Olympia Master Builders, including time as Vice President and Treasurer. Additionally, he spent four years as a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington’s board, and has been an active member of The Hawks Prairie Rotary Club for over twelve years.

Knoblauch said, “North Thurston Education Foundation enriches and cultivates the youth of the community, creating long-term growth and success opportunities. I’m excited for this opportunity to serve and feel privileged to utilize my skills and experience to help the North Thurston Education Foundation achieve our goals.”

A special thanks to Carletta Garraway, NTEF’s outgoing board president, who served as president for 7 years.

WHAT — North Thurston Education Foundation New Board of Trustees installed
WHEN — 2018 – 2019
FOR MORE INFO — Contact Michael Jones at (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]
ABOUT: The North Thurston Education Foundation, Partners for Kids, is an independent, non-profit partnership of community members and North Thurston Public Schools (IRS EIN 91-1433235).  Our organization was incorporated in 1989. We are committed to enhancing educational opportunities for students and schools. We help students overcome obstacles to success in school.

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 29 scholarships in 2017 valued at approximately $104,000. 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 13 deadline.

WHAT — North Thurston Education Foundation Scholarships Now Open

WHEN — Opened January 1, 2018. Close on April 13, 2018

FOR MORE INFO — Contact Michael Jones at (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]

ABOUT: The North Thurston Education Foundation, Partners for Kids, is an independent, non-profit partnership of community members and North Thurston Public Schools (IRS EIN 91-1433235).  Our organization was incorporated in 1989. We are committed to enhancing educational opportunities for students and schools. We help students overcome obstacles to success in school.