Musical staff

SEF and partner give Sequim students and staff a boost

When the Sequim School District was in financial trouble after a double levy failure in 2001, community members Jeanne Martin, Lee Lawrence, Alan Millet, Walt Schubert, and Jim Pickett stepped up and founded the Sequim Education Foundation (SEF) to ensuring students still had access to ‘beyond the basics’ learning.

Since then, SEF has been dedicated to its mission of being a catalyst for the dynamic growth of every student. This means giving students the opportunity to engage their creative side and win scholarships with the SEF Film Festival, funding grants for teachers wishing to provide innovative programs and practical experiences for students, scholarships for students wishing to pursue their education beyond high school, funding students who qualify for state and national academic competitions, and giving the community the opportunity to interact and learn from professionals with Science Cafe.

Each year, teaching grants are available for educators to engage in projects that will result in expanded and well-coordinated learning opportunities for Sequim students. Applications are reviewed by a committee made up of members of the SEF Board of Directors, members of partner community organizations, parents and community members.

All nominations are evaluated in conjunction with district administrators to ensure they are consistent with district goals, objectives and capabilities.

STEM support

A private community donor, the HVK Fund, became involved because “we learned how supporting programs and teacher grants would leverage our contribution and benefit a large number of students, instead of one or only two people,” so they made a donation to fund programs that matched their needs. interest in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Science), such as new microscopes, elementary school tours by Science on Wheels from the Pacific Science Center, and iPads for students to create and broadcast their newsletters. Their decision to fund a tuition application for a new music production class was a game-changer.

In this class, students create, collaborate with classmates to add instruments, edit, and give feedback from their own stations.

Professor Joe Sullivan remarked: “There is a great diversity of students in the class, ranging from many of the most skilled and capable musicians in SHS to students who have never been involved in music outside of listening. It has been very gratifying to see growth at both ends of the spectrum.

Knowing that students might be intimidated learning to record vocals with a microphone, he created a project where students met with second graders at Helen Haller Elementary to record a narration from their favorite book as a gift.

“It turned out to be a great assignment as it took the bully factor out, gave freedom for different skill levels, taught new technical skills, and made some second graders very happy,” a- he declared.


Although SEF has provided over $200,000 in teaching grants, it has not done it alone. The Sequim Education Foundation has partnered with community organizations, churches, and individual Sequim donors to facilitate the lift and provide those experiences and opportunities that help students connect, discover and explore their interests, and find their way.

SEF can fund many teaching grant applications – including throughout the COVID pandemic – due to its collaboration with Soroptimists International of Sequim, Sequim Sunrise Rotary, Sequim Noon Rotary, Sequim Valley Lions Club, Kings Way Church , Trinity United Methodist and many others as they all joined SEF to use its process to identify and support specific needs that align with their organization’s mission.

District Family Literacy Night, clubs such as Knowledge Bowl and HOSA, robotics programs for K-12, fine arts education for elementary students, musical instruments for high school music programs, a “The Boys in the Boat” author conference and a student book study and countless others since 2001 have all been made possible through generous community support. Thanks!

SEF was also the grateful recipient of grants from the Haller Foundation and the First Federal Foundation that enabled SEF to help the district pivot on the fly and provide individual computing for its students during the pandemic.

SEF is proud to say that many of its board members are also represented in our community organizations. It deepened the understanding of how we can work together “smarter not harder” to achieve our organization’s missions.

Every donation is important and appreciated as we leverage our resources to ensure students have access to opportunities and are ready to pursue their dreams.

SEF has been accepting tuition scholarship applications through June 1.

For individuals and groups interested in funding a grant application, or for those wishing to learn more about SEF, its programs, and how to get involved, contact SEF Executive Director Jessica Elliott at 360-680-3061 or by email at [email protected], or see