About us

Former Executive Director Jim Ross and Executive Director Miranda Beiermann pose with two 2022 Washington High School scholarship recipients.

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 2021, the Franklin Pierce Foundation awarded 63 scholarships worth a total of $59,950 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

Miranda Beiermann (previously Martens) grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has lived in Parkland, WA for 10 years. Her professional background is focused on fundraising at community-based organizations and contributing toward education access opportunities. She has held a variety of roles working with students within the Franklin Pierce School District. She currently works full time as the Director of Annual Giving at Pacific Lutheran University and part time as the Executive Director of the Franklin Pierce Foundation. 

Miranda has a passion for powerful storytelling, effective nonprofit fund development, and successful project management that empowers community-focused collective impact. In her free time, Miranda enjoys spending time outside, connecting with friends and family, and playing new board games.

Jim Ross, Former Executive Director

Jim Ross

Jim Ross became 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 this committee 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.

Officers and board members

Dr. Frank Hewins, President

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

Dr. Goodpaster is the current superintendent of the Franklin Pierce School District. Dr. Goodpaster began his career in public education in 1993 as a teacher at one of FPSD’s eight elementary schools, Christensen Elementary. In 2002 he became principal of Evergreen Primary School in the University Place School District. Dr. Goodpaster re-joined the Franklin Pierce Schools’ team in 2013 when he was selected to be Assistant Superintendent of PK-12, a role he held until his appointment as superintendent in 2018. He has actively supported the Franklin Pierce Foundation since his return to the district and agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Foundation when he became superintendent. This has helped to continue the great cooperation and support between the District and the Foundation. Additionally, Dr. 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 benefited 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.

Bill Rasplica, Secretary

Bill retired in 2018 after working for 42 years in public education. He has been a special
education teacher, consultant, principal of a day treatment school, and school district
administrator working in Illinois, Iowa, and Washington State. The last 18 years were spent in
service to the staff and families of the Franklin Pierce Schools as the Executive Director of
Learning Support Services. Currently, Bill is an advisor to the National Center for Intensive
Intervention (NCII), the Program Coordinator for the Enhancing Capacity for Special Education
Leadership (ECSEL) Program and the Project Coordinator for the Washington Administrators
Improving Multi-Tiered Systems (AIMS) Project at the University of Washington Bothell Goodlad
Institute. Both ECSEL and AIMS are partnerships with OSPI. Bill enjoys time with family,
traveling and reading.

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.

Julie Collison, Board Member

Julie, who attended Midland Elementary School, is the owner and designated managing broker of Collison Realty LLC. Her company was started back in 1965 by her in-laws Dayle and Grace Collison. She met their son Pat, a Parkland local and graduate of FP Schools and WSU, fell in love and married. The then purchased Collison Realty in 1989 from his parents and began a family. Julie raised their 4 children, Cassandra, Alexandria, Michelle and William, all of whom attended FP schools. Pat passed away in 2005 and Julie continues to run Collison Realty as a woman-owned business. Julie was very active and involved in her children’s education, often attending their classes and helping out with various class projects, as well as joining the PTA and attending ball games put on by SPYA.

In her role as the Designated Managing Broker of Collison Realty LLC, Julie assisted the FPSD in acquiring 9 real estate properties, all adjacent to Harvard and James Sales Elementary Schools. The purpose was to facilitate the expansion of the FPSD footprint and the new building of the two elementary schools. Julie is active in the Parkland community, being on the board of the Parkland Spanaway Rotary Club and the Garfield Street Business Association and attends many other local community meetings and events as well.

Julie believes that continuing education is extremely important and strives to keep abreast of the current housing market so that she may better serve her clients, many of whom are already friends.

Kris Symer, Board Member

Kris Symer

Kris Symer attended Parkland, Midland, and 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 worked 18 years in IT and communications roles at UW Tacoma before starting a marketing and communications consultancy.

Kris and her family founded the Carol Fox Empowerment Scholarship (formerly 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.

Ray McCaskie, Board Member

Ray McCaskie is the legacy of a Franklin Pierce teaching family. His mother Gerry taught in the FP school district for just a couple of years in the early 60’s while his father, Don, taught for almost 40 years. Because of this, Franklin Pierce School District has been a very important part of his life.  

He graduated from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy in 1986. Was a Pharmacy Manager for over 20 years. Ran a Scuba shop and commercial Scuba fishing business in 1989 to 1993. Was a Vice President of an early pharmacy discount adjudication company. Started a successful Locum  Tenens pharmacy agency and ran that for over 25 years. Retired as a pharmacist from Costco Wholesale in 2020 just to find out that I really loved helping people. Ray is currently working as a pharmacist in an underserved community of Eastern Lewis County. 

Ray has many hobbies. He loves to travel and has traveled to every continent except Antarctica. Distance bicycling is a huge passion of his. Hiking, he just cannot get enough of the Cascades and the Southwestern US. Restoring antique cars and road tripping in them. Underwater photography and restoring antique Scuba gear. Hobby gardening for food. Helping friends with carpentry, plumbing, electrical and roofing. And too many more hobbies to mention.  

His life and professional experiences bring a unique perspective to the Foundation. Ray’s goal is to give others similar opportunities like the ones that were given to him. He wants this to be his legacy.

Mike Marsh

[Bio coming soon]