Be the One is a community engagement strategy of Partners for Schools, a 501c3 non-profit organization. 

In alliance with schools, local businesses, individuals, civic groups and communities of faith - 

We cultivate community engagement, to raise hope and inspire student success.


Our Board Members

Dennis McHarness

Denny and his wife Nancy founded the Partners for Schools 501c3 organization in 2010 for the sole purpose of finding the need, then meeting the need.  Denny loves Lynden and believes that strong, healthy schools should reflect thriving, successful kids, families and communities. “We need to support the next generation in ways that build vibrant, thriving people.  My faith in a loving God inspires me to be an instrument of hope and transformation. I travel the world in my professional life and I see people, communities and economies that are unhealthy, struggling and suffering. Our kids must be the change leaders of the future.”

Nancy McHarness

Nancy provides the critical backbone of labor, coordination and communication for Partners for Schools. She understands the heart beat and passion of our school leaders and teachers. “After raising our 4 kids, I know it just does not stop there.  It really takes many individuals and a community to support kids, families and schools, and I love connecting the critical dots.  Our kids and schools should not just survive – they should thrive! Every child can benefit from a caring adult mentor”



Steve Dahl

As a professional working in a variety of educational roles (Special Education Teacher, Administrator, Coach, Para-Educator) over the past 2 decades, Steve has always looked for ways to make a positive difference in the lives of kids. He is thankful to live in a community such as Lynden that continually tries to "get it right" for students. Being a Board Member for Partners for Schools has allowed him a way to do this. He loves that he gets to work to support partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders which includes business, school, families, and faith communities—together meeting the needs we find.


Ramona Garcia Slagle

Ramona brings a rich range of educational and community enrichment experiences to her role on the board. Across two decades in the educational and social services arena, she has served as a bilingual mentor teacher, professional learning consultant, publishing executive, and family advocate. She is a mission-driven and passionate connector of people to resource and opportunity. 


Jason Matthews

Jason has worked with students professionally in Whatcom County for over 20 years.  Over that time, he has networked with pastors and church leaders from all over the county to bring hope to students and their families.  As a Be the One mentor, mentor-coach, and PFS board member, Jason is excited to give back to the community through Partners for Schools.