Principal Debbie Nelsen of Hazel Wolf K-8 receives Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence

SEATTLE … The Alliance for Education and Seattle Public Schools announced today that Debbie Nelsen of Hazel Wolf K-8 has received the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence, a prestigious annual award for particularly distinguished Seattle principals.

Nelsen’s students, colleagues, friends, and family joined representatives from the Alliance and SPS to surprise her with the award at a school assembly Friday. As the winner of the Foster Award, Principal Nelsen and Hazel Wolf K-8 will receive a $50,000 cash grant.

Hazel Wolf K-8 (formerly Jane Addams K-8) is an elementary and middle school with a focus on environmental science. Following more than 15 years with Seattle Public Schools, Nelsen was appointed principal of the school in 2009 and was charged with leading the planning and implementation of the environmental science program.

In her years with SPS, Nelsen has been described as a collaborative, consistent leader dedicated to student success. She has built a culture of teamwork and continuous learning at Hazel Wolf.

“This is a wonderful choice by the Foster Endowment Trustees,” said Sara Morris, President and CEO of the Alliance for Education. “Debbie Nelsen has proven to be a highly capable leader during a long period of transition at Hazel Wolf K-8. Through a building move, a school name change, and the implementation of a schoolwide curriculum focus, Principal Nelsen has consistently sought a variety of voices to the table, leading to a unique and effective school experience.”

Thomas B. Foster was a prominent Seattle attorney who exemplified excellence in both his professional life and his role as civic leader. To honor his legacy, his family and friends established this annual award in 2000 to recognize outstanding secondary school principals in Seattle. Winners are selected by the Foster Endowment Trustees and the award is administered by the Alliance for Education.

To learn more about the Thomas B. Foster Award, please visit

To view photos of the Foster Award Prize Patrol, click here.

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