On February 28, the Ferndale School Board swore in its newest member: Toni Jefferson. She is an accomplished business leader, an enrolled member of the Lummi Nation, and an advocate for local children.
“I’ve always been passionate about education,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said she became interested in the open District 3 school board seat after former member Jessie Deardorff resigned late in 2022.
“I know she put in a lot of good work at the Board, so I wanted to step in and see if I could continue to carry her work forward,” she said.
Jefferson is the Director of Human Resources for the Silver Reef Casino Resort in Lummi, overseeing more than 500 local employees. Before this, she spent over a decade in administrative roles at the Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC), including about three and a half years as the council’s General Manger. During that time, she supervised 18 different tribal government departments, including the Lummi Nation’s education departments.
Jefferson also has previous school board experience, having also served on the Lummi Nation School Education Board. There, she implemented and created policies for the school’s numerous educational programs.
As a new Ferndale School Board member, Jefferson plans to keep Ferndale schools moving along its current path. For example, she said she was impressed with the new Ferndale High School campus, as well as the district’s recent efforts to create a more inclusive environment with the “You Belong” campaign.
“At this point, I’m trying to help move forward the good work that’s been established,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson also said she hopes to support all Ferndale students, with a particular focus on Tribal engagement in the education system.
Jefferson and her husband have a son attending Horizon Middle School and are also the legal guardians of her grandnephew. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, photography, and spending time with her six dogs: Boston Terrier-Pug mixes Kokoh, Charlie, and Chester; and Australian Shepherds Fendi, Maximus and Gucci.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to Board discussion and help with any strategic development they might have,” Jefferson said.