Pacific Education Institute



Olympia, WA

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $1,368,358
Expenses: $1,169,281
Assets: $770,673


Educational Organization



Executive Director:

Kathryn Kurtz

Budget (2021):

Revenue: $ 1,409,702
Expenses: $ 1,209,067
Assets: $ 856,984 1


  1. Pacific Education Institute. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990), 2021.

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The Pacific Education Institute is a Washington State-based left-of-center environmental education advocacy organization notable for developing a critical race theory and Common Core-aligned educational framework for use in K-12 schooling known as FieldSTEM.


The Pacific Education Institute was founded as a charitable organization in May 2003 in Olympia, Washington. The institute’s founders were a group of individuals who had been respectively employed at educational or environmental organizations and agencies such as the Washington Forest Protection Association, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Association of Washington School Principals, Washington Association of School Administrators, and the Washington State School Directors Association, as well as the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 1 2


The aim of the Pacific Education Institute’s founders was to develop an outdoor-based teaching framework aligned with the official educational goals of the State of Washington, the Common Core State Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). As of 2023, according to the organization’s website, the framework that the institute has since developed, the FieldSTEM model, is used statewide to meet NGSS requirements in K-12 science education. 3

Regarding its vision of environmental science education, particularly the FieldSTEM model, the organization notes that it values critical race theory-aligned equitable learning, which it claims to be culturally relevant. In addition, the group not only believes that such education should consider “historically underrepresented populations,” but that the latter ought to inspire “innovative, socially just” thinking. 4


The Pacific Education Institute engages in advocacy campaigns in support of aligned Washington State policies and projects. For instance, in 2017, the institute advocated for a bill calling for a workforce study on why natural resource, environmental and outdoor recreation sectors were not well represented in Washington State’s employment data. 5

Later that year, in collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Association of Educational Service Districts, E3 Washington, IslandWood and Washington Green Schools, the institute also advocated for the Climate Science Proviso, which passed in 2018 and allocated $4 million of funding to support the implementation of the state’s educational science standards, particularly those concerned with climate science. 6

Politicians who have received the institute’s Legislator of the Year award include Washington State Representatives Alicia Rule (D-42), Alex Ybarra (R-13), Jessie Johnson (D-30), and Mike Steel (R-12). 7


Organizations and government offices that have provided funding to the Pacific Education Institute include the Washington Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction, the Employment Security Department of Washington State, the Dawkins Charitable Trust, Hancock Natural Resource Group, the Gray Harbor Community Foundation, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Washington Forest Protection Association, the Sierra Pacific Foundation, and the Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation. 8


Kathryn Kurtz

Kathryn Kurtz is the executive director of the Pacific Education Institute as well as a member of the Washington STEM Education Innovation Alliance, LASER Advisory Council, Washington STEM Network, E3, and the National Heritage Advisory Council. Previously, Kurtz was the STEM curriculum coordinator for the Anchorage School District, a classroom teacher, and research biologist. 9 10

Ron Shultz

Ron Shultz is the president of the Pacific Education Institute’s board of directors as well as the president and director of policy and intergovernmental relations at the Washington State Conservation Commission. 11


  1. “Our Story.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  2. “Pacific Education Institute.” ProPublica. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  3. “Our Story.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  4. “Our Story.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  5. “Policy.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  6. “Policy.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  7. “FieldSTEM Celebration.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  8. “Our Funding.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  9. “Our Staff.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  10. “Our Story.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
  11. [1] “Our Staff.” PEI. Accessed June 12, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2003

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Jun Form 990 $1,368,358 $1,169,281 $770,673 $191,125 N $1,321,389 $40,108 $2,993 $0 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $1,129,497 $1,152,031 $478,844 $98,373 N $1,024,493 $104,559 $2,871 $94,436 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $804,917 $1,031,163 $483,142 $80,137 N $732,996 $66,471 $5,450 $111,007 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $1,017,979 $1,012,557 $720,214 $90,963 N $971,051 $43,641 $3,287 $138,527 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $573,854 $507,637 $687,727 $63,898 N $569,749 $13,410 $601 $6,353 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $648,631 $532,604 $624,903 $67,291 Y $606,811 $48,227 $1,160 $245 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $515,429 $394,060 $509,172 $67,587 N $478,360 $44,636 $453 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $457,667 $311,082 $353,804 $33,588 N $440,196 $21,577 $217 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $247,679 $274,892 $202,015 $28,384 N $231,367 $16,034 $278 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $325,383 $288,238 $258,135 $57,291 N $292,938 $32,148 $297 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Pacific Education Institute

    Olympia, WA