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Staff / Board of Directors

John McLain

Board Member

John McLain has a 40-year career in higher education. He currently serves as Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Grants, and Foundation Relations at The Evergreen State College. In this role, John leads the college’s efforts to raise external financial support for scholarships; Native arts, cultures, and education; prison education; faculty and student research; student support programs such as TRIO Student Services; faculty and staff development; community-based learning; high school outreach and college readiness programs; capital projects; and technology.

John’s connection to rural learning environments originated in 1994 when he oversaw urban and rural programs for college outreach at the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. At the HECB, he wrote the grant and led implementation of the state’s first federal GEAR UP program. In this role, his advocacy for involving sometimes hard-to-serve rural districts has substantially expanded programming to Washington State’s rural students.

John has also been foundational to Evergreen’s deep engagement with programming that serves Washington State Indian tribes. He is a PhD candidate in leadership and organizational studies at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington, engaged with all aspects of leadership; the religious pilgrimage to subvert the ego; complexity theory; de-settling the settler colonial mind; leadership in the face of cultural devastation; and relationship-rich student success. He earned a Master of Arts in early Christian literature at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in English at Saint Martin’s College.

John has been on the Board for Altera for 11 years, and has collaborated with Dr. Peterson, Executive Director, Altera, since 1994 in various activities grounded in serving especially students in Washington’s rural agricultural valleys. He lives in Olympia, Washington, has three grown children and enjoys cooking, reading, writing, visual arts, and gardening.