Susan Stoltz, Trustee
Orcas Island Education Foundation
Can you share a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Seattle and was lucky enough to have friends with homes on the islands. Some favorite childhood memories are of exploring West Sound and Davis Head on Lopez. Always looking for ways to spend time here, I did a stint working at Camp Nor’Wester back when it was on Lopez.
I met my husband, David, when we were in Architecture School at UC Berkeley. I was not having much success convincing him to relocate back to the PNW until the opportunity arose to open our own architecture office on Orcas. That only took about five minutes to convince him. We moved here with our three kids 21 years ago and have been grateful ever since!
Can you tell us about the organization you volunteer at?
The Orcas Island Education Foundation has been around for over 30 years, and its mission is to support and benefit students in the public schools. We are an all-volunteer group, and we all share a dedication to both the ideals and the practicality of high-quality public education.
We work closely with the school administration and teachers to identify and support projects, programs, or needs that require financial help. We support a wide range of programs including a High School/Middle School “Future’s Lounge,” a guitar building class, Elementary Outdoor education, support for Covid remote learning, art education (A*OK), field trips, scholarships and so much more. We also host some pretty fun events.
What does volunteering do for you?
The Orcas community really taught me about the importance and benefits of volunteering and community service. If there is something really great that you like about this community, it likely exists because somebody is volunteering to make it happen.
For me, I’m passionate about high quality public education and how it benefits every single person in the community. It’s one of the best returns on investments you can make, and if our public education system suffers, it hurts all of us. We have an excellent public school. It feels great to help them achieve their goals and make a positive impact.
It’s also a great way to get to know others in the community, some of us on the current board have been doing this for well over 10 years. I’ve made some good friends by working alongside them, and once a year (Covid willing), we get to play dodgeball.
If you would like to learn about other volunteer opportunities on Orcas, please email Ed here. He would love to get together for tea/coffee to chat about your interests.