Jun 27

How our new, easy fundraising program works

Several people have asked how the South Whidbey Schools Foundation’s new fundraising program works, and we think that this video does a great job in explaining it.

Take a couple minutes and learn how you can contribute up to $500 or more each year without actually spending any more money than you do today, simply by using pre-purchased gift cards through our program.

The rebates that the Schools Foundation receives from retailers can range from 1% to 11% of the face value of their card to the non-profit.

If we had 30 or 40 families use this program for much of their monthly purchases, we could double the number of classroom projects we are able to fund each year in our local schools.


Here’s our easy PDF order form if you prefer to order by mailing in the form with a check.





Jun 17

Louise Fiori receives Extra Mile Award; Callahans receive Mentorship Award

The Extra-Mile Award, which acknowledges and honors a current South Whidbey School District teacher for having gone the farthest in the service of the South Whidbey education community, went this year to  Louise Fiori, retiring math teacher at South Whidbey Academy.
IMG_0712Fiori was nominated by the entire staff at the Academy. Their reasons for nominating Fiori include:
  • “never fails to meet students where they are academically. I have personally witnessed her teach” multiple students math skills, even when they have mathphobia.”
  • “A passionate advocate for students. She pulls no punches, believes that students are capable of success, and works hard helping the students also believe in themselves.”
  • ..impressed with her ability to switch back and forth, helping children within one classroom with ranging abilities from 5th grade math to a 10th grade level.”
  • “She is always excited to see the students experiencing math in other ways than just paper and pencil work and rejoices with the students over their hard work.”
  • “…a wealth of worldly experience beyond the education industry…to give deep context to her classroom presence …has also been an incredibly patient peer advisor, particularly in negotiating the Labyrinth of Apex.”
After receiving the award, Fiori commented: “It is humbling to be recognized for the performance of one’s duties and have them referred to as an “extra mile.” Working for the South Whidbey School district was an exceptional end to my twenty-year career in education. It gave me an opportunity to bring the best parts of my career together and explore new and innovative pedagogy with high schol and middle school students. The success of students is paramount and creating life-long learners is deeply satisfying. Thank you.”
DSCN4142The Mentorship Award, which acknowledges and honors current members of the South Whidbey School District Faculty who have had a lasting positive impact on members of this year’s graduating seniors, was awarded for the very first time to a pair of teachers who have taught for decades at  the South Whidbey Elementary School,  Bruce and Kathy Callahan.
In nominating the Callahans for this year’s award,
  • graduating senior Chantel Brown wrote: I had Mr. and Mrs. Callahan my fourth and fifth grade years. They taught me so many things that I had not learned before ..my love for math…love for helping others…If you need to start at a lower grade level they start you there and work with you to progress where you need to be …such an inspiration for me ….make me want to excel in every way possible…push you to be the best student you can be.”
  • Similarly, graduating senior Maia Sparkman added: “The Callahans were my teachers for third, fourth and fifth grades…we have managed to stay in touch ..I want them to be recognized because they taught me a lot of life lessons that I use to this day.”
Because of their varying schedules, Bruce was acknowledged at the South Whidbey High School Farewell Assembly, and Kathy was given a surprise party on the next to last day of school in the old elementary library that included the seven current students from the high school who had been with the Callahans in their classes. Kathy, completely overwhelmed, said tearfully, “this is the finest moment I have ever had in all my years of teaching.”


Jun 10

Introducing “F3″ –a simple and effective way to support the Foundation

Shop With ScripWe’re pleased to share some exciting news about a new fundraising program for the South Whidbey Schools Foundation.  It’s called “scrip”, and it’s the fundraising program that works while you shop.

We call it F3(Foundation Family Funds). Scrip in this case means “substitute money” – in other words, gift certificates from national and local retailers.  They’re the same gift certificates that you buy at the store.  Many popular retailers participate in our scrip program including ACE, Sears, Home Depot, Safeway, Albertsons, Walmart, Amazon, gas stations, restaurants, clothing stores and many, many others.  Gift cards are available for over 300 of the country’s biggest brands.

How does this help us raise money?  You purchase gift cards from the South Whidbey Schools Foundation at face value, and we purchase the cards at a reduced price from Great Lakes Scrip Center (GLSC). The difference provides instant fundraising for the South Whidbey Schools Foundation.  It’s really that simple! When you buy cards from the South Whidbey Schools Foundation and use them to pay for your normal weekly purchases, you can easily raise $500 or more per year without increasing your budget. GettingStarted-FormThe beauty of Fis that you put your regular household shopping dollars to work and everybody wins:

  • The retailer gets cash up front and repeat business…
  • You get a powerful fundraising alternative that involves no selling
  • The South Whidbey Schools Foundation gets a regular source of revenue.  For a printable guide to getting started, click on this PDF form: GettingStarted_Form

You can donate money to our school without spending a single additional penny.  Just spend your regular shopping dollars with gift cards at the stores that participate in our Fprogram!  And gift cards can be used for just about any household purchase including food, clothing, entertainment, gasoline and even dining out. We offer two great ways to place your order:

Mail order

Complete this downloadable order sheet, SWSF+SCRIP+Family+Order+Form+6-11-2014, then print and mail the order with your check made out the South Whidbey Schools Foundation to PO Box 24, Freeland, WA  98249. Orders received prior to the 2nd and 4th Sunday by 3 pm will be placed on that Monday.  Your gift cards will be mailed to your address by Friday.

Orders need to be received every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month by 3 PM in order to get in that week’s order.

Online ordering

You’ll need to set up an account on www.shopwithscrip.com  and link it to the foundation through our Enrollment code (South Whidbey Schools Foundation Enrollment Code:  31E3DLFC39657). Place your order through an electronic order form offered through www.shopwithscrip.com.   Once you set up an account you can:

  • Order online at any time, from any computer with internet access
  • Access detailed information about all of Great Lakes Scrip Center’s products
  •  Pay online using PrestoPay.  This is a convenient way for you to pay online at the time you place your order. Simply link your bank account information to your ShopWithScrip account on our secure server, and GLSC will be able to electronically accept your payment on behalf of your organization. No need to bother with cash or checks.  This option does cost 15 cents per order no matter how many gift cards you purchase in the order.
  • Reload gift cards that were purchased earlier from Great Lakes Scrip Center
  • Order ScripNow! eCards and print them directly from your ShopWithscrip account; certificates will be available within minutes when you pay online with PrestoPay*

How do I pay?

There are two ways to pay when ordering online:

  1. Mail the “order form” provided at the end of your online ordering and your check to the South Whidbey Schools Foundation, PO Box 24, Freeland, WA  98249.
  2. PrestoPay

Orders received prior to the second and fourth Sunday of the month will be placed on Monday.  Your gift cards will be mailed to your address by that Friday. Note:  Gift cards will be ordered once funds are received.  Please be sure to pay by Sunday 3 pm. The South Whidbey Schools Foundation scrip program promises to be a simple and effective fundraising program.  If you have questions, please contact Gwen Clemens at gwen.clemens@gmail.com or 253-350-5736.

Thanks for your support


John Riley

Apr 29

Recap of 2014 SWSF Gala Dinner

Thank you to everyone who made our 2014 Gala Dinner a success with more than $18,000 raised for classroom grants.


Have trouble viewing this?  Try this link: (Click Here)



Apr 23

Here’s the list of Live and Silent Auction Items

Wow!  This is our best year yet of auction item donations!  And it all goes to a good cause. Be sure and come early for the silent auction, and be ready to raise your bid cards high for the fabulous live auction items. DSCN0411Thank you to all the businesses and individuals who so generously donated items, services and experiences. LIVE AUCTION LIST

  • Capt. Whidbey Inn: 1 night, Cabin plus a /$50 meal
  • City of Langley: Ride on the Wild Side  with the Chief of Police
  • The Wileys:  Crab Feast for Eight Delivered to Your Home
  • Fairmont Hotel or Resort: 4 nights in Jr. suite $2000 (minimum bid)
  • Michael Gibson: Wine Tasting for 8 of  5 Spanish wines
  • Georgia Gerber: Playful Otter Sculpture
  • Jim & Paula Pugh: a Puget Sound day cruise for 4 on a 45′ Bayliner
  • Belltown Condo, 2 br,water view, 2 nights
  • Kathy Fox: Pine Cottage B&B, 1 weekend night or 2 wk. day nights
  • Comfort Wines:  wine tasting, 4 couples & 1 bottle each take home
  • The Boatyard Inn: 2 one-night stays Sun-Th
  • Becky Foote: Two-night stay at 1-bedroom condo on Hiram Chittendon Locks and cafe gift certificate


  • Shirlee Read’s award-winning pie (several choices) with a Sharon Warwick, master potter, pie plate
  • Alexandria Boyer: 4 hours of house cleaning
  • Moonraker Books: $30 gift certificate
  • Boomerang: printing of 100 postcards
  • Linds: Brighton-Beverly Glam  Yelllow Tone Bracelet, Brighton-Onyx ribbon bead, black enamel, yellow Swarovski crystals, silver plated
  • Donna Taylor:  Handmade quilt
  • Payless Foods: gift certificate
  • Bayview Farm & Garden: Gift certificate basket
  • A Clean Carpet Co.: up to 450 sq.ft of carpet cleaning
  • Pickles Deli: $50 gift certificate
  • Sarah Moulton: 4 riding lessons
  • Anza Muenchow: Microsoft Suite (Mac or PC)
  • Sweet Mona’s: $25 gift certificate
  • Music for the Eyes: Turkish Nidya Jilim rug
  • Soleil: $25 gift certificate
  • Big Sister: jewelry
  • Brackenwood: Porcelain necklace &   Earrings, silver & pewter
  • Deborah Eimes:  Set of 6 cat tarot mxed media cards w/ env & keyrings
  • Casey’s Crafts: Rustic garden sphere art and $25 gift certificate
  • Joe’s Wood-fired Pizza: Gift Cert. for 2 Lg Pizzas
  • Neil’s Clover Patch Cafe:  $20 Gift. Cert
  • Jim’s Hardware:  $25 gift certificate
  • Critters & Co. Pet Center: 44 lbs Canidae or Precise  Dog Food
  • Les Schwab:   $120 gift certificate
  • Family Care Fitness Center: 6 month membership certificate
  • Deception Pass Jet Boat Tour: 4 tickets
  • David Nelson: Gift Certificate for Beef
  • Quail Farm products
  • Webb’s Department  Store: Assorted clothing items & $25 gift Cert.
  • Catherine DeWitt Framing: (2 auction items) one small and one large K. Smith Collages with  special cleaner boxes
  • Rocco & Kathy Gianni: an Italian Dinner
  • Old Beach Rd. Farm : $50 Gift Cert for Summer Vegetables
  • Hein Marine:  trailer jack and LED trailer light kit
  • Island Athletic Clu:b   One-month adult pass to Revolution Cycling Studio

Apr 19


LAST CALL for tickets to this year’s South Whidbey Schools Foundation’s Gala Dinner on Saturday, April 26 at 5 p.m. at the Useless Bay Golf & Country Club. Don’t miss what will be one of the best evenings on South Whidbey… and it goes to support classroom grants in our schools!
Judi Fenton is the featured speaker… Jim Freeman is emcee and auctioneer… live underwater robotics demonstration… 30+ fabulous items and experiences to bid on… music by members of the High School Jazz Band… and loads of fun and laughter!

Buy your tickets online athttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/587187

Questions? Call dinner docents Jean Shaw (360-221-5159) or Susie Richards at (360-929-2606).



Jim Freeman SWSF2

Apr 14

Putting the FUN in Fundraiser… Buy your tickets NOW

We’re putting the FUN back into fundraiser! South Whidbey’s Conductor of Fun, Jim Freeman will emcee and serve as after-dinner auctioneer at this year’s South Whidbey Schools Foundation’s gala dinner on Saturday, April 26 beginning at 5 p.m.

You can either purchase your tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/587187 or, you can write a check to SWSF, mark “Gala” in the memo area and mail it to:

SWSF / PO Box 24 / Freeland, WA 98249. 

Tickets are $75 per person and include a choice of three entrees.

If mailing in a check, please download and print this Gala Ticket PDF form and indicate your choice of either roast prime rib with au jus and horseradish sauce, grilled salmon with beurre rouge, or Portobello Wellington (a vegetarian entree). Each dinner includes a green salad with tomato, asiago cheese and balsamic vinaigrette or a Caesar salad, chef’s selection potato or rice pilaf, fresh seasonal vegetable, and a fabulous chocolate dessert with after dinner coffee. Wine will also be served with dinner.

There are more than 30 fabulous items for our silent and live auctions, with more coming in each day. Visit www.SWSFoundation.org for a listing.

This is going to be the best event we’ve ever put on, so don’t miss out.

Questions? Call dinner docents Jean Shaw (360-221-5159) or Susie Richards at (360-929-2606).

Remember, all the net proceeds are used for teacher-requested innovative classroom grants.

Gala Mail-in Signup


Mar 26

About Judi Fenton, This Year’s Keynote Speaker at the April 26 Dinner

In a recent phone conversation before she headed off to Panama for an educational consulting assignment, Judi Fenton stressed again and again how much she loves South Whidbey.

“Of all the places I’ve lived and worked on four continents, I’ve always considered South Whidbey to be home and the place of some of the happiest times of my life,” she said. “I’m so happy to be invited back to speak at the Foundation’s gala dinner.”

Fenton served as Principal for the South Whidbey Primary School from 1991 to 1996, then went on to pursue teaching and administrative assignments in several countries at international schools, many sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Her talk at the April 26 fundraising dinner will look at the future of education as it involves the increasing incorporation of technology in the classroom while still being grounded in what Fenton calls ‘ the Four C’s’ of Education: collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.

“I think we need to add a fifth C for compassion,” she added. “Working with students in third-world countries, I am increasingly interested in finding a way for students in developed countries to share their 21st century knowledge and skills with students in the developing world,” she said.

Now 70, Fenton tried retirement for a few years, but found it was not to her liking. “I just love education too much,” she said. “It’s my passion and my calling’ she added.

She was the subject of a feature story in the Daily Inter Lake Newspaper last June. (She lives in Kalispell, Montana.) The following article is used by permission.  (Photo of Judi at home was taken by Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake).

Consultant on global quest to help international students

By LYNNETTE HINTZE/ Features Editor / The Daily Inter Lake


There’s a hint of nonchalance as Judi Fenton talks about the time she was nearly attacked by a deadly cobra on a playground in Senegal, or tells about the time she almost died of dengue fever contracted during a trip to Costa Rica.

But to know Fenton is to know she is fearless and that her job as a consultant for international schools around the world trumps the risks associated with living and working in developing countries.

“To me it’s all about making a difference,” said Fenton, who lives in Kalispell when she’s not traveling to set up curriculum programs or train teachers in far-off lands. “I don’t want to compromise my experiences and life by being afraid.

“I know in my heart of hearts these kids are going to change the world. We have to give them the skills. I do it for that reason.”

Judi-Fenton at home-croppedIt may have been Fenton’s upbringing on the plains of Eastern Montana that best prepared her for a career in education that ultimately prompted her globe-hopping pursuit of helping international students and teachers.

“We were raised to be rough and resilient,” she said about growing up in Scobey.

Her family moved during her junior year to the Hi-Line community of Glasgow, where she graduated from high school. She sang in the chorus, twirled batons and was a cheerleader.

“I’m a noisy type,” she said with a laugh.

The pivotal moment that turned her onto the path of becoming a teacher came in the seventh grade when she got the opportunity to teach Sunday school at the small Episcopal church in Scobey. The following year she taught fellow students how to twirl a baton.

Fenton earned a degree in elementary education and master’s in education administration from the University of Montana, with an endorsement in curriculum development.

“When I graduated in the ’60s, you could be one of three things: a teacher, nurse or secretary,” she said. But even if other career paths had been common for women at that time, Fenton said she still would have chosen education.

“I think my strength doesn’t lie as much with academics as it does in visualizing things,” she said, likening the challenges in her career to a tapestry.

“I have a God-given ability to know where to put those threads,” she said. “It’s intuition, a gut feeling I’ve learned to trust over time.”

Fenton spent 13 years as an elementary and middle-school teacher in Montana, including a stint teaching a pilot program for gifted students in Missoula. She spent several years as a school principal, too, in Missoula and Havre.

While she was working for the Montana Office of Public Instruction she took her first big risk by challenging her boss, the incumbent for the job of superintendent of public instruction.

A divorced mother of two young children at the time, Fenton drained $18,000 out of her savings to get through the campaign.

She lost in the primary — and lost her job.

“I’m not a political animal, but I learned so much about how connected people can be,” she reflected.

About a decade later, while she was a principal in Missoula, Fenton was accepted for a principal exchange program with Victoria, Australia.

“It was a magical year, life-changing,” she recalled.

When Fenton returned home to find the same teachers, sitting in the same chairs in the teachers’ lounge, voicing the same complaints, she knew it was time to move on, so she took a principal job on South Whidbey Island for the next six years.

As the call to return to her roots — teaching — became louder, Fenton responded in a big way. She accepted a teaching job at a large international school in Shanghai, China, where the diverse student population included children of diplomats, missionaries and overseas business executives, among others.

Shanghai was the springboard for what would become a global hop-scotch of international jobs. Next she was off to be an assistant principal at an international school in the Dominican Republic. From there Fenton went to Senegal, West Africa, for four years.

“My heart is still there,” she said. “In each of these countries I visit (she’s been in 47 countries) it’s the people and the culture. These kids are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. They’re so resilient and politically astute.”

But war, poverty and disease often are close at hand in developing countries.

“When we walked out of school [in Senegal] it was poverty; dirt roads, squatters’ villages, tin shacks,” she said.

Dakar Senegal in a village to attend a christeningJPG

When Fenton returned to the United States from Senegal about five years ago, she was struck by the anti-Muslim sentiment she saw in America, a contrast to her harmonious life alongside Muslims in West Africa.

“It made me beyond sad,” she said. “Those people treated me so well.”

Fenton then went back to Shanghai for a couple of years as a program director at the same school in which she’d launched her international career. It wasn’t long after that she found herself in demand as an international school consultant.

A lifetime in education had prepared Fenton well for her consultant role.

“I’ve taught at every grade level. I’ve been a teacher, principal, superintendent, worked at the Office of Public Instruction,” she said. “And I have a lot of knowledge and information about setting up programs.”

Fenton typically spends three weeks at an international school, then is on to the next assignment. This week she’s headed back to Guyana, on the northern coast of South America. Then it’s on to Brazil, Honduras, Ghana and back to Senegal. Many of her contracts come through the U.S. State Department.

When she’s not on the road she’s in Kalispell, spending time with John Hendricks, her “significant other” for the past four years. She tried retirement, but it didn’t take.

Fenton doesn’t travel from school to school because it’s easy money. She often does pro bono consulting, and offers a discounted price to almost every international school she works with.

“These teachers and kids and those who run the schools need the support,” she said. “Now my work is to contribute.”

Feb 17

Early Bird Registration for April 26 SWSF Gala Dinner

JudiFentonLast year’s event was so much fun that we wanted to get the word out early this year!

Internationally known educator Judi Fenton will be the keynote speaker at the South Whidbey Schools Foundation’s annual gala event, April 26.

On Whidbey she is known as a past principal of the South Whidbey Primary School. Ms. Fenton was a principal for 16 years at various schools in the U.S. and Australia before becoming a consultant specializing in international schools. She has conducted workshops in every corner of the globe, has taught at all grade levels, and has worked extensively with curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

The dinner gala is the primary fundraiser for the Foundation which funds innovative classroom projects in the South Whidbey School District. This past year the Foundation distributed grants totaling more than $20,000 and has awarded than $150,000 since it was founded in 1994.

All are welcome to attend the April 26 gala to be held at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club with social hour beginning at 5 p.m. Enjoy live music, choice of three superb dinner entrees, silent and live auctions (the latter emceed by Jim Freeman), and see the results of some of the grants that were awarded this year.

There will be live music, a no-host bar, a before-dinner silent auction, brief reports from students and teachers who received classroom grants this past year, and an after-dinner live auction hosted by popular local host Jim Freeman.

This event is for everyone who supports our local schools and wishes to help support the Foundation in its mission to provide innovative, teacher-funded classroom grants that promote educational excellence.

Dinner tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased online at

The dinner entree choices will include roast prime rib with au jus and horseradish sauce, grilled salmon with beurre rouge, and Portobello Wellington (a vegetarian entree).  Each dinner includes a green salad with tomato, asiago cheese and balsamic vinaigrette or Caesar salad, chef’s selection potato or rice pilaf, fresh seasonal vegetable, and a fabulous chocolate dessert with after dinner coffee.

Social hour, live music and silent auction begin at 5:00 PM followed by dinner at 6 p.m.



Jan 29

New ‘Dine Out Wednesdays for SW Schools’ Effort Launches February 5

Window Sticker Wed RGB for SignSeven restaurants have teamed up with the South Whidbey Schools Foundation to raise funds for classroom grants by encouraging residents to “Dine Out Wednesdays for SW Schools” during February and March.

“The program encourages people to support South Whidbey Schools by eating at specific participating restaurants on Wednesdays – a traditionally slow day during the slow winter months of February and March. We see it as a win-win effort for students and local businesses,” said South Whidbey Foundation President Chris Gibson.

A portion of each restaurant’s net profits from that day will be donated to the Foundation to fund innovative, teacher and staff-requested classroom projects. The Foundation has given out more than $150,000 in classroom grants since it began in 1994.

“We have a good cross section of restaurants that have agreed to participate in the program, so there are lots of choices for diners. People can dine in or order take-out food during each restaurant’s hours of operation,” said Susie Richards, co-chair of the Dine Out Program along with retired educator Jean Shaw. (Shaw is appearing in a short online video to promote the program.)

Participating restaurants include Gordon’s On Blueberry Hill, Cafe Langley, Mukilteo Coffee Roasters Café in the Woods, Freeland Café, Mo’s Pub and Eatery, Hong Kong Gardens, and Patron Mexican Restaurant.

“Our hope is that South Whidbey residents will visit a different participating restaurant each Wednesday during the months of February and March,” said Richards.  “We encourage participants to be sure to mention to their servers that they came to support the Dine Out Wednesdays for Schools program, as it will help both the restaurants and Foundation gauge the effectiveness of the program.

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