Scientifically literate citizens making balanced decisions for sustainable communities.
Vision, Mission & Values
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 public and private natural resource, agriculture and education sectors including 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 Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA). Together we established teaching frameworks to guide project-based learning in the outdoors 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. PEI is grounding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education by integrating it with language arts, social studies and art and applying it in contexts that matter to communities. We call this FieldSTEM®. FieldSTEM, when taught with fidelity, allows students to approach their learning from many entry points to weigh the complexity of social, ecological, and economic tradeoffs involved in addressing environmental problems and issues. Having students engaged in locally relevant environmental problems or issues as a cornerstone of their STEM education, exposes them to the complex decision-making that is required of our democratic process.
During the first decade of the 21st Century, PEI conducted research to demonstrate increased student achievement increases as a result of integrated learning using the environment as context. PEI’s FieldSTEM® Model is now used nationwide to meet NGSS in K-12 science education.
Executive Directors Lynne Ferguson (2003-2010) and Dr. Margaret Tudor, Ph.D. (2010-2017) led the organization into the second decade, combining forces to develop a system that would effectively infuse the study of environmental science, natural resources and agriculture into civic and STEM education. Both directors have been environmental educators, serving as leaders for years at the WFPA and WDFW, respectively. They also served as the statewide coordinators of Project Wild®, Project WET®, NatureMapping® and Project Learning Tree®. PEI is a member of the Washington STEM Education Innovation Alliance and sits on the LASER Advisory Council and the Washington STEM Network.
In 2016, long-time educational leader and STEM 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. 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.
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 Center, Cispus 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].