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As President of the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation, Nicole Meador Mace has big responsibilities with an organization that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to all four schools in the Scotts Valley School District. But Nicole’s efforts and desire to give back to others goes back to when she was a child who would give her lunch to the homeless over the fence of her school. A true giver, influencer and a true mover and shaker, Nicole continues to set the bar.

Before coming to Scotts Valley, where did you live?

I was born and raised in the South Bay.  I graduated from St. Francis High School, Mountain View, and earned a teaching certificate and Masters from Santa Clara University. I also lived in Arizona -once in Tempe, to attend Arizona State University where I earned degrees in political science and business, and then again, in Tucson to attend the University of Arizona to earn a Ph.D. in educational psychology.

What brought you to Scotts Valley and how long have you lived here? 

I moved here in the Spring of 2016 to be with my husband, Craig, and my step-daughter, Avery. I remember the first time Craig brought me here to see SV. We sat at Sky Park and I looked around and knew in that moment I was somewhere I could call home.

What do you love most about living here?

I love the small community feel and my amazing neighbors. I love that the community all works together to raise our children.

I’m incredibly grateful for this community. Less than two years after moving here, I found out that I could not get pregnant without medical intervention because of endometriosis. I went through 2.5 grueling years of IVF and this community lifted me up and helped us get through all the many appointments and hard days. They celebrated with me when I finally got pregnant and then once again, came out in droves to support us when I broke my ankle just a few days before giving birth. People I had never even met brought us dinners and sent well wishes. It was truly amazing and inspiring. I’m also especially grateful for all the teachers and administrators I’ve been lucky enough to get to know and collaborate with to help the students in our schools. I’ve worked alongside so many of them while volunteering with the school parent clubs and with the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation and also through my own educational therapy practice.

In terms of the location, I really love being in the mountains and also so very close to the ocean.

Please describe what drives and motivates you to do more for others and for the people of Scotts Valley. 

I was taught from a very young age to give back.  I can remember handing my lunches over the fence at my elementary school (St. Joseph’s in Downtown San Jose) to the homeless people and wishing I could also give them somewhere to live. As far back as third grade, I can remember spending my recesses and lunches helping fellow classmates who were struggling with course material because I didn’t want them to be sad or stressed. I don’t remember a time in my life that I haven’t been committed to helping others.

I think what we put out into the world is what makes the world what it is. I want this community (and our world) to thrive, so I try to help any way I can, but especially in areas where I have knowledge and experience.