Parent Education Program at NSC

Val Donato with one of ‘her kids’

The mission of the Parent Education Program is to promote the development of knowledge and skills for strong and healthy families.

Parent education programs help students become more effective and satisfied in their role by helping them understand their child’s behavior, by encouraging them to recognize developmentally appropriate activities, by assisting them in acquiring valuable information in areas which affect the welfare of the “whole child,” and by teaching them methods to help their children develop responsible behavior.

Students’ comments on NSC Parent Education Program and Val Donato

  • “It is a great program! [Parent Education classes] should be required of all new parents it provides a great opportunity to understand your child’s development and be involved in your child’s school life in a way that is not as possible once they enter the regular school system. The program helps build confidence as a parent and provides a support network for when you are less than confident. I have enjoyed participating.”
  • “I don’t think I could have quit my career and stayed sane without [Parent Education].”
  • “I know I am a better mom because of what I’ve learned through [Parent Education]!”
  • “Val is an exceptional teacher and a proven leader. She has been a tremendous asset. She always knows the right questions to ask and has helped [us] deal with conflict in a very supportive, yet unassuming way. She has an incredible fund of knowledge, and [is] available for anyone.”

The Val Donato Award

Val Donato, who died on April 21, 2013, was a tireless early childhood educator, remembered with praise and appreciation by colleagues, parents, and teachers all over the state. Val was the Parent Education program coordinator for many years and a full-time instructor. She served countless families and teachers, over many years, with her wisdom, energy, and dedication to the field.

Val graduated from Queens College in New York City with a BA in education. Arriving in Seattle in 1970, she enrolled in Parent Education/Child Study classes at North Seattle College and became active in the leadership of the classes, as a parent coordinator, treasurer, and Advisory Council representative. She began teaching classes part-time in 1974. In 1997 she earned a master’s in human development with an emphasis on leadership in education. Val served on the board of the Organization of Parent Education Programs, the statewide group of Community College Parent Education Program Coordinators, for many years.

Since the award was initiated in 2007, many of the Parent Education Instructors have been recognized for their excellence in teaching and building community for children, families, and teachers through our various classes. These instructors have received the award:

  • 2019 – Melanie Salonen
  • 2018 – Glen Osborn and Rebecca Hoyt
  • 2017 – Tania Hino and Betty Williams
  • 2016 – Katie Becker and Mika McAfee
  • 2015 – Emily Bradley and Elaine Webster
  • 2014 – Cesily Crowser and Beth Goss
  • 2013 – Dawn Carlsen
  • 2012 – Sandra Looper
  • 2011 – Jean Ward
  • 2010 – Elizabeth Crary
  • 2009 – Andrea Baumgarten
  • 2008 – Becky Callahan


Donors are able to designate the donation category ‘Val Donato Award.’ All gifts will be processed by the Seattle Colleges Foundation (SCF), a 501c3 non-profit. A gift management fee is levied on all gifts to ensure that operational support continues to inspire, steward, and inform donors who invest in student success, teaching and learning, and program excellence. SCF does not sell, trade, or share donor information with any other organization. For further details or to make a donation, contact:


North Seattle College Education Fund
phone: 206.934.5491