PEI is a leader in promoting civic and scientific literacy by empowering people to make balanced, well-informed decisions for just and sustainable communities.
Vision, Mission & Values
PEI empowers educators to advance equitable civic and scientific literacy by promoting outdoor, integrated, career connected, locally relevant, real-world science.
Equitable FieldSTEM learning that is culturally relevant for each student.
2. Collaboration, Diversity and Inclusion
Inclusive and collaborative education that considers all voices, including historically underrepresented populations, when making decisions and designing solutions to strengthen community.
A cohesive education system that utilizes reliable and trusted scientific resources to build relationships that inspire trust.
Education that engages students in locally relevant, economic, social, and environmental questions, problems, issues, and opportunities. To ensure authenticity, this work is conducted in partnership with agencies, organizations and businesses in the community and brings student voice and civic participation into age-appropriate community decision making.
Education that encourages students to actively take responsibility for the vitality and sustainability of the environmental, economic, and social systems of their communities.
|6. Creativity||Inspiring innovative, socially just, science-based thinking|
PEI’s Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI)
PEI has been and continues to be dedicated to ensuring equitable access to locally relevant, meaningful education for all students. To achieve this mission, we must actively work to dismantle the barriers that have created inequities in the education and environmental sectors. This means striving to be an anti-racist organization, which includes, but is not limited to, ensuring our organization, resources and professional learning experiences represent and reflect the diversity of the communities in which we live and work.
To that end, PEI established a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee in July 2020 which consists of PEI leadership, staff, and a Board liaison. The committee meets regularly to stay accountable to embedding JEDI principles throughout PEI’s policies and practices, and to synthesize, operationalize, and facilitate the work among staff, board, partners, and participants.
As of May 2021, the JEDI committee has supported the following actions:
- Updated our organization’s language (mission, vision, values) to reflect our renewed commitment to JEDI work.
- Updated our hiring process to reflect a more equitable recruiting and interview process.
- Established discussion norms for meetings.
- Defined key terms related to JEDI work.
- Drafted initial goals and corresponding action items.
- Engaged staff and Board members in JEDI conversations and actions.
- Created a land acknowledgment guide for PEI staff and faculty to use as a resource.
- Created an annual demographic survey for PEI staff and Board members and updated our demographic information with GuideStar.
- Completed preliminary research and outreach to potential JEDI Consultants to provide training to staff and direction to the JEDI committee and PEI leadership.
We are in the early stages of engaging in JEDI and anti-racism work, and we recognize this work is ongoing; the more we learn, the more work there will be to do. We are committed to continuous learning, as individuals and as an organization, to make meaningful change in our communities.
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, 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.
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, developed in partnership with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 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.
Pacific Education Institute Board of Directors
Ron Shultz – President, Director of Policy and Intergovernmental Relations, Washington 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
Doug Kennedy – Secretary, State Uplands, Department of Natural Resources
Cinnamon Bear – Education Forester, Hancock Forest Management
Leslie Druffel – Outreach Coordinator, The McGregor Company
Erin Ewald– Director of Regulatory Affairs, Taylor Shellfish
Brian Hatfield – Legislative Director, Office of the Secretary of State
Dr. Tamara Holmlund – Professor of Science Education, Washington State University
Ignacio Marquez – Regional Assistant to the Director, Washington Department of Agriculture
Hanford McCloud – Council Member, Nisqually Indian Tribe
Bill Monahan – Resource Unit Leader, Rayonier
Mike Nelson – Assistant Executive Director for Professional Learning, Washington Association of School Administrators
Justin Parker – Executive Director, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Lisa Perry – Washington Community Relations Manager, Sierra Pacific Industries
Scott Seaman – Executive Director, The Association of Washington School Principals
Bill Taylor – President, Taylor Shellfish Farms
Rhonda Weaver – Senior Director, State Government Affairs, Comcast
Careers at PEI
Join Our Team
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].