Meet Our School Board
District 1 - Gretchen Maliska - President
Read the Q&A with Gretchen
Gretchen Maliska has been a strong community leader in education, and an active parent in North Thurston Public Schools since 2006. She is the current School Board president.
As a mother of five boys, including two graduates of North Thurston Public Schools, Gretchen has always been a strong advocate for K-12 education and inclusion.
Growing up in Washington state, Gretchen learned the value of public education through participation in the performing arts, leadership, and much more.
In turn, she has devoted herself to giving back to students as an active community volunteer for more than 25 years, serving leadership roles in youth sports, multicultural and equity groups, career and technical clubs, North Thurston Citizens for Schools, and our Board of Directors.
Gretchen’s life experience with a blended family has helped her lead through multiple lenses including Special Education and College in the High School programs, athletics, arts and activities, and mental health. Gretchen believes in celebrating and honoring differences and addressing the individual needs of every child to help them achieve success.
She is currently Director of Career Connected Learning in a neighboring school district, where she provides opportunities for students to discover their career passion and enter industry with recognized credentials in vocational disciplines (such as Natural Resources, Health Sciences, Mechatronics, and Business & Marketing). Gretchen believes there is a graduation pathway for everyone and is proud to support a K-12 system where students can discover passions and talents they can later use in the workforce.
Gretchen is dedicated to the success of all students in our district and understands that partnerships with families, staff and leadership are crucial in making this happen.
“Our community is very diverse in opinions, ethnicities and experiences. My hope is that we can seek to understand each other respectfully and work together, so our students are the top priority,” said Maliska, who is grateful for the excellent education three of her sons have received from this district. “It is a privilege to work with district leaders and staff who are committed to our community. Every child deserves to feel included and welcome in North Thurston Public Schools.”Board term expires November 2023.
District 2 - Chuck Namit
Read the Q&A with Chuck
Chuck Namit was the Assistant Executive Director for the Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA) until his retirement in 2007. He was trained by John Carver at the Advanced Policy Governance Institute. Chuck is the recipient of NSBA's 2006 Shannon Award for staff member excellence in board training. He is a member of the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Thurston Regional Planning Council.
Chuck is currently the President of Strategem, LLC, a governance and management consulting firm. He presents regularly at the National School Board Association (NSBA) annual conferences, and has trained board members and administrators for more than 30 years. He has worked with Boeing executives to develop a model for implementing continuous improvement in schools. He has been involved in the exploration of change in education reform, and has developed community-wide change program. He also served as a member of the National School Board Foundation task force on Data-driven Decision Making. He has served as an adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University, and has developed online training for school board members.
Chuck attended Portland Public Schools, and graduated from Central Catholic High School. He went on to earn a B.S. degree in History, with a minor in Political Science, from Portland State University. He also earned an M.Ed. degree from Oregon State University, a Master's degree in Communication (Journalism) from Michigan State University, and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Puget Sound.
He has lived in Lacey since 1981, and his daughter graduated from NTPS. Chuck is in his sixth four-year term on the North Thurston School Board.
Board term expires November 2021.
District 3 - Dr. Jennifer S. Thomas
District 3 Map (PDF)Jennifer Thomas is proud to represent all students and families in North Thurston Public Schools! Jennifer is a passionate advocate for children from all backgrounds.
As a mother of five children, a nurse and educator, an Asian-American woman, and a military spouse, Jennifer’s diverse life experiences have allowed her to recognize the power of inclusivity through advocacy and modeled behavior. She also understands the importance of inclusion and removing barriers to learning.
Compassion and care are also a big part of Jennifer’s leadership. “As a nurse, I come with a unique perspective of care that encompasses a holistic view. I find great value in seeing things from a socio-ecological lens, beginning with the individual, then moving to interpersonal relations, organizational impact, community support, and public policy.” Her vision for the future is to listen, learn and help our community heal.
Jennifer has served on the School Board since March 2021 and still has work to do! Her vision is to continue guiding decisions and policies that will have the greatest positive impact on our younger generations. She is committed to high quality teaching and mentorship, investing in our staff, and a compassionate school system based on accountability, diversity, and trust.
The Board of Directors chose Thomas in accordance with District policy 1114. She will serve until the November 2021 regular election.
District 4 - Graeme Sackrison - Vice President
Read the Q&A with Graeme
Graeme has a long history in our community as a graduate, parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent in North Thurston Public Schools, and as a past mayor of Lacey! He has served on the School Board since 2015 and currently represents NTPS as the Legislative representative.
Graeme understands the importance to provide a public education system that allows all students to succeed. “Equity is crucial,” he said. “We are continuously working to eliminate barriers to learning. This is an evolving process, but we must keep moving forward.”
Graeme moved to the area with his family in 1956 and first attended Lacey Grade School, formerly on the site of the Safeway on Carpenter Road. He then attended North Thurston High School, where he was a member of the track and swimming teams. Following graduation in 1962, he attended Centralia Community College for two years before transferring to Western Washington State College, graduating with a degree in economics and business in 1966.
After college graduation, he spent four years in the United States Air Force. Upon discharge, he worked for the Employment Security Department, spending most of his career as the legislative liaison for the department before retiring in 1998.
In the community, Graeme spent 13 years on the Lacey City Council, including three two-year terms as Mayor. During that time, he worked collaboratively with North Thurston Public Schools on a variety of projects, including the Lacey Electrathon race at Huntamer Park and as an advisor to the North Thurston High School auto shop.
“A strong Career Tech Education program helps those students who want to follow a different path than a 4-year university,” said Graeme. “It also helps our community because there is demand for those with CTE skills. I’ve spent time doing construction work, auto repair/modification, and more. The work is there, and the pay is good!”
Graeme and his wife Cinda Sackrison have been married for over 30 years. As a retiree, Graeme enjoys serving his community. He is an active member of Lacey MakerSpace; a member of the Thurston Co. Transportation Policy Board, Gateway Rotary, and Generations Credit Union.
Board term expires November 2023.
District 5 - Dave Newkirk
Read the Q&A with Dave
Dave Newkirk is an active community leader, involved parent, and a proud product of North Thurston Public Schools! He attended Olympic View Elementary, Nisqually Middle School and graduated from Timberline High School. The son of a U.S. Army father, Dave grew up both in the United States and abroad. Living overseas in a military family has enriched his understanding and appreciation of people from all walks of life and cultures. After graduation, Dave joined the United States Marine Corps where he served six honorable years before returning to Lacey and setting his roots. He currently works at a regional engineering firm.
Dave ran for a Board position to give a common voice to all members of society. He treats all people with great respect and values everything that is brought to his attention. He firmly believes that the greatest leaders listen to all sides and weigh all outcomes before making any decisions. Respect and kindness run deep within Dave’s values, and he strives every day to demonstrate both to everyone he meets.
Volunteering is a huge part of Dave’s life. He firmly believes in the phrase "Service Above Self" and is a current member and past President of the Hawks Prairie Rotary. He has volunteered for many other great local organizations, including coaching youth football, basketball, baseball, and soccer, and volunteering for schools and the local levy and bond campaigns. Throughout his childhood and while serving his country, Dave has never lost sight of finding a greater purpose and lending a helping hand.
“There is no greater purpose than helping our children succeed. All children deserve a great public education. We must meet our children where they are and work tirelessly to build them up,” Newkirk said. “Not all children learn the same way; it is the job of an educator to find ways to teach all children no matter what their hurdles may be. Our children are our future, and I am honored to be able to work alongside the many great people of our community to ensure that our District will always be able to provide a great learning environment for our children.”
Dave and his wife have two sons and two daughters, all of whom have attended or will be attending various NTPS schools. He is vested in this community and is very proud to serve fellow citizens and represent local taxpayers and families of North Thurston Public Schools.
Board term expires November 2023.
Montana Kioshi (North Thurston HS)
Montana attended South Bay Elementary, Chinook Middle School and is now a senior at North Thurston High School. Montana’s favorite subject is English. Montana is a member of the school softball team, ASB and Multicultural Club at North Thurston. Outside of school, Montana in interested in volleyball, painting and fast pitch. Following graduation, Montana plans to go to a four-year college and major in Kinesiology and minor in Psychology to become an Athletic Trainer, Psychiatrist or Physical Therapist.
Richard Thomas (River Ridge HS)
Richard attended Salish Middle School before moving on to River Ridge. His school experience prior to Salish was all out of state. His favorite subject is math, and he currently participates on the school basketball team and a club team. Outside of school, his interests include trading stocks and collecting shoes. After high school, Richard plans to attend a four-year college and pursue a degree in business finance. Ultimately, Richard would like to work at an investment firm on Wall Street or in the Silicon Valley.