About us

Executive Director Jim Ross accepting a contribution from the Class of '58 donors


Executive Director Jim Ross accepting a contribution from the Class of ’58 donors

Franklin Pierce Schools

The mission of the Franklin Pierce Foundation is to assist motivated and deserving students of the Franklin Pierce School District in their transition to post-high school education by providing scholarships. Through these scholarships the Foundation helps to provide the means for these students to continue their education and the opportunity to realize their dreams.

The Franklin Pierce Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

In 2018, the Franklin Pierce Foundation awarded 51 scholarships worth a total of $47,100 to graduating seniors of Franklin Pierce, GATES, and Washington high schools. That’s quite a change from the one $200 scholarship in 1973, the first year of the Foundation! And much of it is made possible through generous donations from community members, local business owners, and alumni like you!

FP Schools district history

View the album highlighting 50 years of Franklin Pierce Schools (1949-1999) on Flickr.

The Franklin Pierce School District #402 was founded in 1949 by combining four rural districts:

  • Midland (founded in 1880)
  • Parkland (founded in 1888)
  • Collins (founded in 1907)
  • Central Avenue (founded in 1908)

From those humble origins, the district grew to include the three high schools we know today:

  • Franklin Pierce High School opened to students in 1952.
  • Washington High School opened to students in 1969.
  • GATES High School opened to students in 1978.

Miranda Beiermann, Executive Director

MirandaMiranda joined the Franklin Pierce Foundation as Executive Director in 2022. She is also the Director of Annual Giving at Pacific Lutheran University. Miranda grew up in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys spending time outside, connecting with friends and family, and playing new board games. Her professional background is focused on fundraising at community-based organizations and contributing toward education access opportunities. Miranda has a passion for powerful storytelling, effective nonprofit fund development, and successful project management that empowers community-focused collective impact. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from PLU and an M.A. in Public Administration from the Evergreen State College.


Jim Ross, Past Executive Director (2010-2022)

Jim Ross

Jim Ross began serving as the Executive Director of the Franklin Pierce Foundation in 2010. With his retirement from teaching in that year, 54 years of the Ross family teaching in the Franklin Pierce School District ended. Brother Bob was a teacher and coach at Franklin Pierce High School from 1956 until the opening of Washington High School in 1968. Bob moved to the new school as head basketball coach, teacher, and eventually vocational guidance counselor.

Jim Ross was hired as a geology teacher, assistant librarian, and audio-visual coordinator at Franklin Pierce High School in 1968. Over his 42 years at FPHS he taught geology, biology, environmental science, algebra, chemistry, physics and numerous specialized courses during the days of interim at FPHS.  During that first year he also became the clock operator and announcer for basketball at FPHS and WHS.  He eventually became known as “The Voice of the Cardinals” announcing boys and girls basketball, wrestling, football, and track.  He continued to announce the sporting events for the Cardinals until 2014.

During his teaching career he served on many committees but the most rewarding, and often the most frustrating, committee was the Franklin Pierce Scholarship Committee.  As a member and chairmen of thiscommittee he helped select a handful of scholarship recipients each year.  There were always too few scholarships and too many deserving students.  Therefore, when Jim was asked to become the Executive Director of the Franklin Pierce Foundation it was an easy decision.  He saw this as an opportunity to reduce the frustration by increasing the number of scholarships available to graduating seniors in the Franklin Pierce Schools.

Upon Jim’s retirement from the Foundation executive director role in 2022, the Board established the Jim Ross Aspiring Educator Scholarship to honor his exemplary service with Franklin Pierce Schools and the Foundation.

Officers and board members

Dr. Frank Hewins, President

Dr. Frank Hewins

Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Hewins received his bachelors of science degree at Frostburg State University in Maryland, his master of arts degree at Pacific Lutheran University, and his doctorate at Washington State University. After being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1972 and serving as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, Dr. Hewins began his education career as a teacher in Maryland in 1977. He later went on to teach in districts within the states of Alaska and Washington.

He began his administrative career in 1988 with Franklin Pierce SD as an assistant high school principal and over the last 30 years has served as a high school principal, executive director of K-12 education, and assistant superintendent. He was appointed as Superintendent of the Franklin Pierce School District in 2007, serving until his retirement in 2018. His wife, Cathy, and he have two grown daughters, Megan and Lisa, sons-in-law Ken and David, and granddaughters, Emi, Presley, Kaya, and Dylan.

Dr. Hewins has been a member of the FP Foundation Board of Directors since 1997 and currently serves as President.

Lance Goodpaster, Vice-President

Lance Goodpaster

Mr. Goodpaster’s first teaching position was at Christensen Elementary in Franklin Pierce Schools, In 2002 he became Principal of Evergreen Primary School in the University Place School District. Mr. Goodpaster re-joined the Franklin Pierce Schools’ team in 2013 when he was selected to be Assistant Superintendent of PK-12, a role he has held since. As Assistant Superintendent he has actively supported the Franklin Pierce Foundation. With his selection as the next Superintendent of the Franklin Pierce Schools Mr. Goodpaster agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Foundation. This will help to continue the great cooperation and support between the District and the Foundation. Additionally, Mr. Goodpaster is a member of the Parkland-Spanaway Rotary, has participated in and received awards from PTA groups over the course of his career, and has been involved in several other community service activities.

Nancy Smith, Treasurer

Nancy Smith

Nancy was raised in Michigan and moved to Washington State after graduating with a BS in Science Education from the University of Michigan. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Science Education from the University of Washington. She taught high school science and vocational agriculture for 30 years in the Mukilteo, Bethel and Franklin Pierce School Districts, retiring in 2010.

The range of classes she taught included: Biology, Anatomy, Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Horticulture, Horse Science and Veterinary Science. She was an FFA and Key Club advisor for many years. For five years, she was also the Franklin Pierce District elementary science kit coordinator.

Her two children attended Collins Elementary, Ford Middle School and graduated from Franklin Pierce High School. She was very involved in PTA at Collins, organizing science fairs, fund raising, serving as an officer and developing the Collin’s Nature Area through grants. She continued her focus on Environmental Education at the District Farm where her students did water quality monitoring, and led tours of the Collins Nature Area for elementary students in the district.

Both of her children benefitted from scholarships managed by the Franklin Pierce Foundation, so in 2017 she was happy to have the opportunity to give back to the Foundation by serving as their Treasurer.

Lindsey Smith, Secretary

Lindsey Smith

Lindsey Smith joined the Foundation in 2014 and was elected as the Foundation Board of Directors Secretary. She has a long history with the school district having attending Collins Elementary, Ford Middle School and then Franklin Pierce High School, graduating in 2000.

After graduation she attended Washington State University where she received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Hospitality Business Management. She spent some time in the hospitality industry and then eight years as a marketing manager for the YMCA. In September of 2013 she returned to the Franklin Pierce Schools as the Information Technology department’s Office Manager. Working in education is in her blood, both her parents taught in the Franklin Pierce School district.

Lindsey knows firsthand the importance of the work the foundation performs. A scholarship from the Franklin Pierce Foundation assisted her in attending WSU.

Elizabeth Rivers, Board Member

Elizabeth Rivers

Born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania near Philadelphia, Elizabeth moved to Washington State in 1972. A graduate of Central Washington University, she worked as a K-12 counselor in the Kittitas School District before joining the guidance staff at Franklin Pierce High School in 1984. She retired in 2010.

While at Franklin Pierce High School she was an active participant on the staff scholarship committee. She believes all students should pursue some type of post-secondary schooling. Scholarships make the dream a possibility for many of those students. In 2015 Elizabeth was elected to the Board of Directors of the Franklin Pierce Foundation. Elizabeth lives in Rochester with her husband, Gene, and an assortment of dogs, cats and chickens.

Mary Louise Carpio, Board Member

Mary Louise Carpio

Mary was born and raised in Southern Colorado. Personal and professional opportunities led her to the Great Northwest which is now home.

While working in the software and banking business, a desire to become an educator remained at the pulse of her heart. When her family was raised Mary went to college and earned a Sociology degree from the University of Washington. Area of study was race, poverty and youth. She worked in the U-District with homeless youth and then went back to school to earn a teaching certificate with endorsements in Middle Level Humanities and English Language Learner (ELL).

Mary has been with Franklin Pierce Schools for thirteen years. She has taught English as Second Language at elementary, middle and high school levels and is currently the ELL specialist at Learning Support Services. She views the field of education as a service to others and finds the work more than rewarding.

As a scholarship recipient, she is grateful to have had the chance to finish school and in turn is desirous of seeing others fulfill their ambitions.

Mary resides in Tacoma and enjoys the art and nature the city has to offer. Her daughter, Hannah and family, lives in Pittsburgh and Thomas, her son and wife, live in Kirkland.

Kris Symer, Board Member

Kris Symer

Kris Symer attended Parkland, Midland, Ford before graduating from Franklin Pierce High School in 1983. She earned diplomas from Clover Park Technical College and Pierce College followed by a B.A. in Business Administration and an M.S. in Geospatial Technologies from the University of Washington Tacoma.

Kris served in IT roles at UW Tacoma for 18 years and now works as a designer for an early-stage tech startup. She also provides freelance creative and technical consulting through SymerSpace.

Kris and her family founded the FPHS Class of ’83 Scholarship in 2015 to assist students who seek to continue their education despite financial and personal challenges. She further supports the Foundation with pro-bono branding, graphic design, and web development services.