Vision, Mission & Values

Vision

Scientifically literate citizens making balanced decisions for sustainable communities.

Mission

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

Values

1. EquityOutdoor learning for all students
2. IntegrityBalanced perspective on natural resources
3. StewardshipSustaining our future
4. AuthenticityReal world learning
5. CreativityEngagement, inspiration and contribution

History & Awards

History

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, 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).

We have a commitment to advance science literacy and deepen student engagement by empowering educators to take students outdoors to learn integrated real-world science. Strong proponents of integrated instruction, our 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.

We have conducted research to demonstrate increased student engagement and achievement as a result of integrated learning using the environment as context. Our FieldSTEM Model is now used statewide to meet NGSS in K-12 science education standards. 

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 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 policy-makers to ensure environmentally based, locally relevant, career connected STEM education is a priority.

Kathryn 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.

Awards

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:

1996

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.

2000

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).

2006

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

2007

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.

2008

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).

2009

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.

2009

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

2011

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

2012

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.

2012

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

2012

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.

2016

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.

2017

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

2017

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.

2017

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

Kathryn Kurtz

Executive Director

360-705-9291
[email protected]

Bio

Denise Buck

Denise Buck

Program Director

360-705-9286
[email protected]

Bio

Gail Kramer

Gail Kramer

Finance & HR Director

360-705-9282
[email protected]

Bio

Lauren Rodriguez

Lauren Rodriguez

Development Director

360-705-9292
[email protected]

Bio

Nicole George

Nicole George

Program Coordinator

360-705-9289
[email protected]

Bio

Eleanor Steinhagen

Eleanor Steinhagen

Communications Coordinator

360-705-9288
[email protected]

Bio

Henry Smith

Henry Smith

Development Coordinator

360-705-9294
[email protected]

Bio

Julie Tennis

Julie Tennis

Coastal Region FieldSTEM Coordinator

360-214-1652
[email protected]

Bio

Mike Nepean

Mike Nepean

Eastern WA FieldSTEM Coordinator

509-720-1335
[email protected]

Bio

Jessica Lawrence

Jessica Lawrence

East Sound FieldSTEM Coordinator

360-790-8786
[email protected]

Bio

Chad Mullen

Chad Mullen

Lower Columbia FieldSTEM Coordinator

206.595.0602
[email protected]

Bio

Our Faculty

Pat Otto

Pat Otto

Bio

Kristin Edlund

Kristin Edlund

Bio

Laura Tucker

Laura Tucker

Bio

Karen Lippy

Karen Lippy

Bio

Kirk Robbins

Kirk Robbins

Bio

Nancy Skerritt

Nancy Skerritt

Bio

Dr. Margaret Tudor

Dr. Margaret Tudor

Bio

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

 

Joel Aune – Executive Director, Washington Association of School Administrators

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

Tom Davis – Director of Government Relations, Washington Farm Bureau

Mark Doumit – Executive Director, Washington Forest Protection Association

Marty Fortin – Director, Outdoor Learning CenterCispus and Chewelah Peak

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

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

John Ison – Logging Manager, Green Diamond Resource Company

Bill Monahan – Resource Unit Leader, Rayonier

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

Bill Taylor – President, Taylor Shellfish Farms

Chris Voigt – Executive Director, Washington State Potato Commission

Rhonda Weaver – Senior Director, State Government Affairs, Comcast

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 individuals with a passion for science and 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 [email protected].

 

Contact

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