Events, News

Lace up your sneakers and join NEF for this fun family event! 

All Natick elementary school students (K -4) are invited to participate in races, field day events, and other fun activities.The event will take place on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at the Natick HS Track from 11 am – 2 pm with separate running events for children in each grade. Between races there will be games and activities for children and siblings. Money raised will go back to the schools through Natick Ed Foundation grants and program funding.

This event was inspired by an NEF grant written by Lilja’s Gary Demayo and will be run by volunteers with support from all the elementary school gym teachers. If you would like to help, please contact event coordinator Maria Tumang at

Registration is required. Sign up now!

Grants in Action, News

In Spring 2017, Natick Education Foundation voted to approve a one-time, special compensation grant to help support a one-year “Teacher on Special Assignment” [TOSA] role within the Natick elementary schools. A TOSA is a teacher leader hired from within a school system, whose task it is to offer instructional coaching to their district. NEF is thrilled that Brown Elementary third grade teacher, Jed Stefanowicz, was appointed to the position of TOSA, acting as a “Technology Integration Coach” for his peers across all five schools. NEF had the chance to catch up with Jed at the all-staff, fall kick-off meeting on August 28 to snap a quick pic and ask him a few questions about the new hat he’s donning for the 2017/18 school year:

NEF: What are you looking forward to most this year in your role as TOSA?

JED: I’m really looking forward to collaborating with staff across the district in a new way. As a coach, I hope to provide leadership, staff development, and job-embedded instructional support to all elementary staff in integrating technology to support school improvement efforts. Through this role, I am launching an initiative called STATION (Students and Teachers Accessing Technology, Innovation, and Opportunity in Natick), part of which includes library lending shelves with STEM kits at every building. This project also provides training to teachers, access to materials for every student in the district. We piloted a smaller version of this project at Brown last year, and it was exciting to see teachers dive into explore new materials with their students.

NEF: What is your favorite educational app?

JED: For teachers, I’ve found Twitter to be a game-changer in terms of connecting with other educators and finding inspiration. It’s amazing to see and share the innovative ideas and teaching happening around the world or even right down the hall. For parents, it can be a powerful glimpse into the classroom to see authentic learning and activity occuring.

For students, I think Seesaw is an incredibly powerful tool to allow students to show what they know and create digital portfolios. Students can share thinking, writing, videos and more. Just like Twitter can be a glimpse into a child’s classroom, Seesaw can be a peek into their desk!

NEF: What do you think will be the biggest challenge in this new role?

JED: I suspect time will always be an issue. I truly want my role to be rooted in instructional support, and helping teachers progress from their point A to their point B. Just like every student is unique, so is every teacher, and whether someone’s tech skill or comfort level is emerging and developing, there is room to transform teaching and learning in any learning space, but I also know that the process takes time to happen best.

NEF: How did you become tech savvy? or What got you into using social media and technology as a classroom aid?

JED: I’ve always been interested in integrating technology to enhance instruction, but I’m particularly interested helping shift students from consumers of content to creators. Rather than using devices to simply access information or collect knowledge, today’s technology and resources allow student to curate and share their own thinking in dynamic ways. Social media provides an opporrunity to share that thinking and learning beyond the walls of the classroom.

NEF: What’s your favorite local ice cream shop?

JED: Without a doubt, Tangerini’s Spring St. Farm (Millis) is my favorite spot. There’s no better place to have a cone, listen to goats and catch a sunset!


As the summer wraps up, the Natick Education Foundation is looking forward to the 2017-2018 school year!

This year, NEF is honored to support the NPS Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), who will lead STEM professional development in all five elementary schools. As this is such a large initiative, NEF is unable to offer its traditional grant cycles. Instead, we have committed to funding up to $10,000 in mini-grants (less than $500 each) at the middle and high school levels.

We have streamlined the application and evaluation process for the mini-grant proposals. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be evaluated on the 1st of each month. For example, if a proposal is submitted on Sept. 15th, the application will be reviewed starting October 1st. Awardees will be notified by the end of the month, at the latest.

Once the $10,000 limit is reached, additional proposals will not be accepted.

Submit a mini-grant proposal today!


At the core of our mission, NEF supports and honors Natick educators at all stages of their careers.

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12) by honoring your child’s teachers is through an NEF Teacher Tribute. Honored teachers receive recognition from the principal, a permanent letter for his/her file, and an award pin. This week, coming home in your child’s backpack, please look for information from NEF about additional ways to recognize the valuable role of Natick Public Schools and to honor exceptional educators.


In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12, 2017), NEF is thrilled to uplift and congratulate the 9 Natick educators who have been selected as the 2017 NEF Master Teacher Fellows.

These NEF Teachers Fellows will serve 1-year fellowships modeling exemplary teaching practice in the Natick Schools. They have chosen an instructional area around which to focus their instructional modeling and coaching in the district. They will each a design modeling and coaching experience with a minimum of either 8 coaching hours or 4 professional development presentations and 4 coaching hours. NEF Fellows will also participate in one professional development experience related to their focus area and disseminate their learning to other NPS staff.

How does the NEF Master Teacher Fellow program work?

Potential NEF Fellows are required to complete an application outlining their plan. These applications are reviewed by both the central office and building administrators. Priority is given to staff whose prior teaching evaluations indicate exemplary practice that could serve as a model for others in the system. Fellows receive a stipend from NEF for personal compensation as well as reimbursement for one professional development experience.

Jan Phlegar

Nellie Mae Education Foundation Announces Chair and Vice Chair of Board of Directors

QUINCY, Mass. – January 30, 2017 – The Nellie Mae Education Foundation (Nellie Mae), the largest philanthropic organization in New England focused exclusively on education, is pleased to announce the appointments of Janet Phlegar and Karen Hammond as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Phlegar will assume leadership following David Wolk, who stepped down at the end of his term limit and will remain on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.


Janet Phlegar previously served on the Nellie Mae Board as Chair of the Board’s Organizational Measurement Committee and as a member of the Executive Finance and Grants Policy & Program committees. Her experience as a former middle and high school teacher inspired her to work toward advancing school-based action research and the multiple roles of teachers. She also worked as the Executive Director of WestEd’s Learning Innovations Program, which specializes in customized technical assistance, training, and research and evaluation services for schools, districts, state agencies, communities and higher education institutions.


Additionally, Phlegar was Deputy Director of the Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of the Northeast and Islands, and a Program Director for a national experiential citizenship education program in Washington, D.C. She is a co-author of Dynamic Teachers: Leaders of Change and Planning into Practice and serves on the national Board of Directors of Engaging Schools. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Margarita Muñiz Academy, a dual language high school in Boston, and on the Leadership Board for TEDxNatick. Phlegar was a co-founder and longtime Board member of the Natick Education Foundation, and each year NEF recognizes an outstanding teacher in the Natick Public Schools with the “Jan Phlegar Inspiration in Education Award.”


“Jan’s experience both in the classroom and as a leader advancing school-based action research and Karen’s extensive financial knowledge bring unique perspectives as they guide our team to engage educators and communities with student-centered approaches to bring education into the 21st century,” said Nick Donohue, President and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. “We are privileged to have them serving in these new roles, and I look forward to working with them in support of our goal to prepare students across New England to graduate high school fully prepared to take on the challenges of a college education and career. We also are incredibly grateful for David’s leadership and thank him for his dedicated service over the past 11 years, along with his continued commitment to the Board.”


Karen Hammond serves as Chair of the Board’s Investment Committee and the Executive Finance and Grants Policy & Program committees. She has also served in a variety of leadership roles for the financial services industry. In 2013, Hammond retired from her position as Managing Director at Devonshire Investors, the private equity group affiliated with Fidelity Investments. Previously, she held several roles at Fidelity, including Senior Vice President of Fidelity Management & Research Company, Corporate Treasurer of FMR Corporation and Chief Operating Officer of Fidelity Investments Japan in Tokyo. Prior to joining Fidelity, Hammond worked at Boston Five Cents Savings Bank as Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, and was Trust Officer at Bank of New England.


Hammond is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She is a member of the Board of Directors of CYS Investments (NYSE:CYS). Her community affiliations include the Boards of Simmons College, The Rhode Island School of Design, RISD Museum and Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island.



About the Nellie Mae Education Foundation:

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization in New England that focuses exclusively on education. The Foundation supports the promotion and integration of student-centered approaches to learning at the high school level across New England—where learning is personalized; learning is competency-based; learning takes place anytime, anywhere; and students exert ownership over their own learning. To elevate student-centered approaches, the Foundation utilizes a four-part strategy that focuses on: building educator ownership, understanding and capacity; advancing quality and rigor of SCL practices; developing effective systems designs; and building public understanding and demand. Since 1998, the Foundation has distributed over $210 million in grants. For more information about the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, visit

2016 Grant Winner Boot Camp

Natick Education Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the Fall 2016 Grant Cycle. Applications were due on October 15th and proposals were reviewed by the 12-person Grant Committee, which welcomed several new community members this year. NEF is funding total of $33,926.75 to support Natick Public School projects including a special $10,000 Cognex Corporation STEM grant that will go toward the development of an aquaponics lab at the Natick High School.

This year’s projects include:

  • STEM in the Preschool Block Corner: Using Blocks to Develop 21st Century Skills at the Natick Preschool/Brown Elementary submitted by Maureen Morrissey
  • Movement in a 1:1 World at Kennedy Middle School submitted by Danielle Martinkus
  • BreakoutEDU: Escape Room Style Learning at Kennedy Middle School submitted by Christine Dion
  • Prioritize, Organize, and Digitize: Building a Literacy Collection for Our 21st Century Readers at Memorial Elementary School submitted by Elizabeth Brothers
  • Imagination Playground at Johnson Elementary submitted by Amanda Hsiao
  • Improving fitness and wellness through visual displays at Lilja Elementary submitted by Gary DeMayo
  • Digging to Deeper Learning – Memorial Garden Classroom at Memorial Elementary School submitted by Elizabeth Kenney
  • Third Grade Maker Space at Ben-Hem Elementary School submitted by Sarah Dahlheimer

Congratulations to the teachers, administrators, staff and parents who proposed these projects! We look forward to sharing more information as projects are implemented.

Each year, Natick Education Foundation recognizes the enormous value of community service by awarding three major honors: the Harriet F. Siegel Shining Light Award, the Educator Shining Light Award and the Community Business Shining Light Award.

Read More


Has anyone ever mentioned a “great TED talk” they just heard? Have you ever wanted to know more about TED and its “inspiring ideas”? Have you ever wondered what it might be like to listen to inspiring speakers like this right in our own community? Or maybe you’re not even familiar with TED talks, or TEDx events. Well, I have exciting news!


Natick is hosting the first ever TEDxNatick event on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at Natick High School! (


Read More

Each year, Natick Education Foundation recognizes the enormous value of community service by awarding three major honors: the Harriet F. Siegel Shining Light Award, the Educator Shining Light Award and the Community Business Shining Light Award.

Read More

Natick Education Foundation

Natick Education Foundation