Awards & Scholarships

The Alliance for Education administers several awards and scholarships to acknowledge excellence among educators and students.

To learn more about these awards, please contact Sara Circelli.

The Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence

The Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence was established by the Alliance for Education in honor of the late Thomas B. Foster, a prominent Seattle attorney and senior partner of the firm now known as Foster Pepper. Mr. Foster exemplified excellence in his profession during a career which spanned the last half of the 20th century. Mr. Foster also enthusiastically supported the vision of excellence for the Seattle Public Schools championed by the late Superintendent John Stanford.

The purpose of the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence is to recognize and honor an outstanding Seattle middle, K-8, or high school principal exemplifying excellence. The selection process considers principals’ commitment and effectiveness in the following areas:

  • Improvement in student achievement;
  • Leadership and team building;
  • Innovation in educational and administrative techniques;
  • Leadership participation in school-wide and district-wide initiatives;
  • Prudent and creative use of resources.

The recipient of the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence is surprised at his or her school by a “prize patrol” with a check of $50,000 for his or her school.

List of Thomas B. Foster Award winners

The Margaret Covey Award

The Margaret Covey Award, funded by family members through an endowment, has been established to honor Mrs. Covey, who was an outstanding teacher in the Seattle Public Schools for over 30 years. She spent her years as an educator at Gatzert, Gatewood and Brighton elementary schools and particularly enjoyed teaching reading and math. Margaret Covey had a passion for learning and a commitment to children that she maintained throughout her life.

The Margaret Covey Excellence in Teaching Award is given on an annual basis to a Seattle Public Schools library that exemplifies the qualities and values that distinguished Margaret Covey’s teaching career. A stipend of $1,000 accompanies each award, and it can be used at the librarian’s discretion.This award is issued at the Covey family’s discretion.

List of Margaret Covey Excellence in Teaching Award winners

The Philip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award

The Philip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award, funded by family and friends through an endowment, has been established to honor Mr. Swain, who was a passionate advocate for public education throughout his life. He devoted 20 years of public service to these efforts, including 14 years as a member of the Seattle School Board (1961-1975), helping to steer the Seattle School District through challenging times.

The yearly award is historically given to up to six educators in Seattle Public Schools who exemplify the qualities and values that distinguished Mr. Philip B. Swain’s years of community stewardship. Nominations are open to teachers and counselors who:

  • Have taught grades 6-12 for at least three years;
  • Have worked in schools where, for at least two of the past three years, the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-lunch is 40% or higher;
  • Have inspired a love of learning in students while helping them reach their highest academic potential;
  • Have played a leadership role with their peers in fostering a professional learning community, in which teachers are encouraged to learn from one another through coaching, study groups, peer critique and collaborative problem-solving;
  • Have been nominated by colleagues, principals or other Seattle Public Schools administrators, with strong encouragement of collaboratively developed nominations.

A stipend of $1,000 accompanies each award, and may be used for continuing professional development, for travel associated with such development, for classroom projects or for personal purposes.

List of Phillip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award Winners

The Nicholas Sherburne Scholarship

The Nicholas Sherburne Scholarship Fund was established in the memory of Nicholas Sherburne, whose life was cut short in 1995. Nicholas showed great promise at Franklin High School and was very involved with the Academy of Finance. It is the wish of his family and friends that an award be made each year in the amount of $1,000 to a graduate of Franklin High School who has been an active participant in the Academy of Finance program and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

List of Nicholas Sherburne Scholarship Award Winners

The Philip B. Swain Student Scholarship

The Philip B. Swain Student Scholarship, funded by family and friends through an endowment, honors Philip Swain, a passionate and lifelong advocate for public education. He devoted 20 years of public service to these efforts, including 14 years as a member of the Seattle School Board (1961-1975). On the School Board, he provided valuable leadership and guidance to the district. It is the wish of his family and friends that an award be made each year, subject to availability of endowment earnings, in the amount of $1,000 to a graduating senior in Seattle Public Schools.

One $1,000 scholarship is awarded per year and is renewable for three additional years upon maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and a one-half time class load. Qualified applicants can apply for the Swain Student Scholarship online by establishing an account at theWashboard.org. Or, download this form (PDF) and mail to the Alliance’s offices, or email to Sara Circelli.