RELEASE: Principal Chris Carter and Mercer Middle receive third Thomas B. Foster Award of 2018!

The Alliance for Education and Seattle Public Schools announced yesterday that Principal Chris Carter of Asa Mercer International Middle School has received the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence, a prestigious annual award for Seattle Public Schools principals who have demonstrated significant achievements in closing opportunity gaps in their schools. The award was presented at Mercer Middle’s Wednesday afternoon staff meeting.

Lisa Chick, President & CEO of the Alliance for Education; Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau; SPS Executive Directors Sarah Pritchett and Mike Starosky;  Principal Mia Williams of Aki Kurose Middle School; Mercer staff; and dozens of friends and family joined the staff meeting at Mercer Middle to surprise Principal Carter with the Foster Award. Mercer Middle will receive a $25,000 cash grant in recognition of Carter’s achievement.

Mercer Middle, a six-time “School of Distinction” winner, has overcome declining enrollment and low test results under the leadership of Principal Carter since 2014. Mercer Middle’s school population is diverse and many students have been impacted by poverty. Last year, Mercer students passed state tests at a higher rate than the district average, and have had impressive year over year growth rates in student achievement over the last three years.

 “Principal Carter brings extremely effective, gap-eliminating leadership to Mercer and all of Seattle Public Schools.  His scholars—in all racial groups—achieve outstanding growth year after year! As his colleagues, we benefit immensely from his innovative ideas as we partner together to achieve our shared goals. He whole-heartedly deserves this recognition and we congratulate him and all of Mustang Nation on this honor!”– Jeff Clark, Principal, Denny International Middle School; Mia Williams, Principal, Aki Kurose Middle School; Chanda E. Oatis, Principal, Meany Middle School.

Thomas B. Foster was a prominent Seattle attorney who exemplified excellence in both his professional life and his role as a civic leader. To honor his legacy, his family and friends established this annual award in 2000 to recognize outstanding school principals in Seattle. The Foster Endowment Committee and Seattle Public Schools’ staff work together to select winners based on community nominations and school-related data. The award is administered by the Alliance for Education.

Historically, the Foster Award was offered only once a year to secondary-level principals in Seattle Public Schools. Beginning this year, the Award’s focus is on principals closing opportunity gaps in their school communities, and has expanded to be available to all principals K-12. Four Foster Awards will be presented this year; Principal Chris Carter’s was the third, following an award last week to Principal Anitra Pinchback-Jones at Rainier View Elementary, and another to Principal Rena Deese at Alki Elementary. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, two Foster Awards will be presented annually.

To learn more about the Thomas B. Foster Award, please visit For more information, including details on how to cover our future events, please contact Zeynab Abdulqadir, (206) 205-0324.