Vision, Mission & Values


Scientifically literate citizens making balanced decisions for sustainable communities.


To advance science literacy and deepen student engagement by empowering educators to teach real-world science outdoors.


1. Equity Outdoor learning for all students
2. Integrity Balanced perspective on natural resources
3. Stewardship Sustaining our future
4. Authenticity Real world learning
5. Creativity Engagement, inspiration and contribution

History & Awards


The Pacific Education Institute (PEI) was founded in 2003 by a consortium of leaders from the Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), and the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA). Recognizing a lack of real-world, career-connected, locally relevant and outdoor-based education in the state, they established teaching frameworks to guide this kind of education grounded in Washington State’s educational goals, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

PEI has a commitment to advance science literacy and deepen student engagement by empowering educators to take student outdoors to learn integrated real-world science. Strong proponents of integrated instruction, PEI’s frameworks fuse STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education with language arts, social studies and art, and apply it in contexts that matter to students and their communities. We call this teaching and learning model FieldSTEM®. When taught with fidelity, FieldSTEM allows students to approach their learning from many entry points to weigh the complexity of social, ecological, and economic systems and the interplay between society and the natural world. Having students engaged in locally relevant, environmental challenges and stewardship activities as a cornerstone of their STEM education exposes them to the complex decision-making that is required of our democratic process. PEI operates on the deeply-felt principle that high quality K-12 education is a right for all students, not a privilege for a few.

During the first decade of the 21st Century, PEI conducted research to demonstrate increased student engagement and achievement as a result of integrated learning using the environment as context. PEI’s FieldSTEM Model is now used statewide to meet NGSS in K-12 science education.

Long-time environmental and natural resource educators, founding Executive Directors Lynne Ferguson (2003-2010) and Dr. Margaret Tudor, Ph.D. (2010-2017), laid the foundation for a system that would effectively infuse the study of environmental science, natural resources, and agriculture into civic and STEM education. Having served for years as leaders at the WFPA and WDFW, respectively, they also served as the statewide coordinators of K-12 environmental science programs Project Wild®, Project WET®, NatureMapping®, and Project Learning Tree®. In 2016, long-time educational leader, environmental educator and STEM curriculum and standards expert, Kathryn Kurtz, became the 3rd Executive Director of PEI and currently works with staff to deliver high-impact professional learning for Washington State teachers and administrators, and with policymakers to ensure environmentally based, locally relevant, career-connected STEM education is a priority.

Today, PEI is a member of the Washington STEM Education Innovation Alliance and sits on the LASER Advisory Council, the Washington STEM Network, E3, and the National Heritage Advisory Council. While a new logo in 2017 updated PEI’s look, our mission and dedication to high quality, field-based civic and STEM education remains the same. 


PEI continually strives for excellence in the environmental education and education fields. Our work has been acknowledged by varied and respected entities. We are proud to have received the following commendations:


Prior to PEI’s formal organization, the founding PEI partners were recognized by the American Forest Foundation’s National Project Learning Tree Program for leading an Outstanding Program and consistently providing Excellence in Environmental Education through Project Learning Tree.


Prior to PEI’s formal organization, the founding PEI partners received an award for Outstanding Performance Assessment Product from the Washington Education Research Association (WERA).


PEI received a Career and Technical Education Award: Promising Practices Partnerships, New Market Skills Center.


The Cle-Elum Roslyn School District awarded PEI with a Certificate of Program Recognition for excellent service to students and staff and for ongoing curriculum and instructional support.


Dr Margaret Tudor, PEI’s Co-Executive Director received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recognizing her invaluable contribution to the 2008 Science Standards Revision Team (SSRT).


Dr. Margaret Tudor, PEI’s Co-Executive Director in 2009, was honored through Senate Resolution 8637 recognizing her contributions to encourage schools to use the outdoors as laboratories to study science.


Co-Founder Lynne Ferguson honored with a Governors Accommodation Award from the State of Washington.


PEI received the 2011 E3 Washington Award for Excellence in the Nonprofit Organizational category form E3/ Environmental Education Association of Washington.


The Western Governors’ Association endorsed the PEI Guides as educational tools for conservation education to shape students’ environmental literacy, stewardship and outdoor skills in their “Get Out West” Report to the Governors.


The Puget Sound Partnership awarded PEI a Certificate of Recognition for leadership in advancing Puget Sound Curricula in school districts throughout Puget Sound.


The Secretary of Commerce of the United States Department of Commerce awarded Dr. Margaret Tudor, PEI’s Co-Executive Director with the Coastal America Partnership Award, recognizing PEI’s partnership to make a significant contribution toward the restoration and protection of the coastal environment.


PEI received an award from the Capitol Land Trust for leadership in providing K-12 students in Washington with meaningful learning opportunities with nature as the classroom, and developing the next generation of conservation leaders.


Dr. Margaret Tudor is honored with an award for her work with PEI and the Environmental Education Society in Pierce County.


The Audubon Society, Black Hills Chapter, honored Dr. Margaret Tudor with the Environmental Educator of the Year award for her years of dedication to environmental education and her work with the Pacific Education Institute.


The Puyallup Hatchery Program--PEI's partnership with Puyallup Historical Hatchery and the Puyallup School District--won the Pierce County Conservation District's Educator of the Year Award in 2017.

Our Staff

Kathryn Kurtz

Executive Director


[email protected]

Denise Buck

Program Director


[email protected]

Gail Kramer

Finance & HR Director


[email protected]

Lauren Rodriguez

Development Director


[email protected]

Eleanor Steinhagen

Communications Coordinator


[email protected]

Henry Smith

Development Coordinator


[email protected]

Nicole George

Program Coordinator


[email protected]

Julie Tennis

Coastal Region FieldSTEM Coordinator


[email protected]

Mike Nepean

Eastern WA FieldSTEM Coordinator


[email protected]

Jessica Lawrence

East Sound FieldSTEM Coordinator


[email protected]

Lori Reynolds

West & South Sound FieldSTEM Coordinator


[email protected]

Chad Mullen

Lower Columbia FieldSTEM Coordinator


[email protected]

Our Faculty

Our faculty consists of the finest, qualified professional development providers in Washington State. PEI utilizes their expertise to create relevant curriculum and resources and act as advisors for districts and educators that are implementing FieldSTEM®.

Kristin Edlund

B.A. Geography, University of Washington
Master’s in Teaching, Seattle University

Area of Expertise: K-12 Literacy, Curriculum Integration and Design, Environmental Sustainability Education systemic program and implementation planning

Laura Tucker

Education/Degree(s)B.S. Biology, University of California at Davis

Area of Expertise: Laura joined PEI’s faculty in July 2018 as an education and climate literacy lead on the project “Locally Relevant 3-D Climate Science for Drawdown.”

Karen Lippy

B.S. Biology, Washington State University
Master’s in Science Education, Western Washington University

Area of Expertise: Karen supports the PEI’s West Sound GreenSTEM Network, known for its annual GreenSTEM Summit, when students from around the West Sound gather to share their work on behalf of the environment.

Kirk Robbins

B.S. Biology, University of Washington
Master’s in Teaching, University of Washington

Area of Expertise: Designing and delivering K-12 science and engineering professional development that focuses on instruction and equitable practices.

Nancy Skerritt

B.A. English & American Studies, University of Rochester
Master’s in Teaching, John Hopkins University

Area of Expertise: Thinking Skills, Habits of Mind, Integrated Curriculum, Literacy, Common Core ELA.

Dr. Margaret Tudor


B.Sc. Geology and Zoology, Minor in Chemistry, University of Adelaide, South Australia

Masters in Public Health in Environmental Health & Community Health Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii 

Ph.D. in Urban Education: Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Science and Environmental Education, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Area of Expertise:  helping school districts integrate PEI’s “field investigation” models into their science inquiry programs, projects with a focus on wildlife issues, program evaluation and assessment of student learning in environmental education and education policy.

Our Board

Pacific Education Institute Board of Directors

Ron Shultz – President, Director of Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, WA State Conservation Commission

Tim Garchow – Vice President, Executive Director, Washington State School Directors Association

Gareth Waugh Treasurer, Director, Planning and Acquisitions, Port Blakely Tree Farms

Heather Druffel – Secretary, Outreach and Education Forester, Hancock Forest Management 

Lisa Perry – Past President, Washington Community Relations Manager, Sierra Pacific Industries


Bill Taylor – President, Taylor Shellfish Farms

Sally Brownfield – Education Specialist, Squaxin Island Tribe, NW Indian Fisheries Commission

Mark Doumit – Executive Director, Washington Forest Protection Association

Marty Fortin – Director, Outdoor Learning Center, Cispus and Chewelah Peak

John Ison – Logging Manager, Green Diamond Resource Company

Scott Seaman – Executive Director, The Association of Washington School Principals

Dr. Tamara Holmlund – Professor of Science Education, Washington State University

Tom Davis – Director of Government Relations, Washington Farm Bureau

Chris Voigt – Executive Director, Washington State Potato Commission

Rhonda Weaver – Senior Director, State Government Affairs, Comcast

Brian Hatfield – Forest Products & Rural Economic Development Sector Lead, Dept. of Commerce

Bill Monahan – Resource Unit Leader, Rayonier

Careers at PEI

When available, internships and/or full- and part-time positions will be listed below. As we expand throughout the state, we are always looking for bright and dedicated people with a passion for education. If you think you would be a great fit for our organization and would like us to keep your résumé on file, please email a cover letter and résumé to PEI’s Finance and HR Director at [email protected].


Contact Us