There is an award-winning school district and several first class higher education institutions in Lacey and surrounding areas.
North Thurston Public Schools
North Thurston Public Schools has had a continued “commitment to excellence” for more than 50 years. NTPS is the largest school district in Thurston County and a huge local employer with more than 1,700 full and a part-time staff committed to supporting student success. Like the Lacey community overall, NTPS expects continued growth over the next two decades. By 2025, the student population is expected to reach 20,000.
The Lacey Chamber is proud to partner with NTPS on a number of programs: Lacey Loves to Read brings an award-winning author to Lacey each February to promote community literacy and students get to Read Around Lacey at area Chamber businesses; Kidwiler Scholarships; and Work-Based Learning partnerships help better prepare older students for employment.
Centrally located between Tacoma and the State Capital of Olympia, Brandman’s Lacey campus offers South Sound students a variety of undergraduate and graduate program.
Located in Olympia, the Evergreen State College is ranked as one of the best colleges in the west by the Princeton Review (2008), and U.S. News & World Report’s 2008 college guide also recognizes Evergreen’s innovative interdisciplinary learning communities, outstanding first-year experience, and undergraduate research opportunities. Evergreen enrolls more than 4,300 undergraduates in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, and 300 graduate students earning master’s degrees in education, environmental studies, public administration and teaching. More than a third of Evergreen students are adults (25 years of age or older) and come from every walk of life.
Saint Martin’s University, in Lacey, is an independent co-educational master’s degree granting university. SMU offers 22 undergraduate programs, 6 graduate programs and numerous pre-professional, certificate and international programs. Established in 1895 by the Roman Catholic Benedictine Order, Saint Martin’s is located on a beautiful 280-acre campus in Lacey. More than 1,250 students attend Saint Martin’s main campus and approximately 1,000 more are enrolled in courses at extension campuses at nearby McChord Air Force base, Fort Lewis Army Post Olympic College, and Centralia College. The university employs approximately 400 people.
Located in Olympia, South Puget Sound welcomes students from the Thurston County area and from around the world. South Puget Sound Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education. It has a corporate learning center and community education branch at Hawk’s Prairie.