Veltri ready for new journey and challenges in Mead
Superintendent to leave Medical Lake
The Medical Lake School District will be saying goodbye to one of their longtime leaders.
In an email to school staff back in March, Superintendent Dr. Pam Veltri announced her resignation and explained that she will be taking a position as an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction with the Mead School District starting in July.
Veltri said Mead Superintendent Tom Rockefeller recruited her for the job. Although she will be going from a district with 1,800 students to one with 10,000, Veltri is excited about this new opportunity.
While this position presents a new road in her career, the decision for Veltri to leave the district was not an easy one.
“Medical Lake is a wonderful place,” Veltri said. “I have such wonderful colleagues to work with. My administration team, my office staff, the school board and the teachers. You couldn’t ask for more professional people to work with who care about kids.”
Veltri graduated summa cum laude from Gonzaga University in 1982 with a degree in education. She later earned master’s degrees from the University of Idaho and Gonzaga, and received her doctorate from the U of I. She has taught in Wallace, Idaho and Newport, Wash.
Veltri arrived in Medical Lake in 1996 as an assistant superintendent focused on curriculum, and instruction programs.
Four years later, she took over the role of superintendent. With the aid of her colleagues, Veltri helped develop several programs for the district.
One of the challenges Veltri faced during her time was the reconstruction of the former elementary school building at Fairchild Air Force Base. She and the school board worked with U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt and State Sen. Larry Sheehan to get funds for a new building. Nethercutt put through appropriations in the Department of Defense Bill to pay for part of the construction and Shehan was also able to give the school district matching state funds to help pay for the building.
After 9-11 happened, Veltri went to Washington D.C. to request the relocation of the building — which would later become Michael Anderson Elementary — for safety reasons.
Veltri was was also intrumental in the passing of a bond that helped fund the rebuilding and expansion of both Medical Lake Middle School and Hallett Elementary.
But for Veltri, her biggest challenge was going through the recession in 2008 and making cuts to staff. She said she would personally tell teachers that they “did not have a job anymore.”
“I had a lot of sleepless nights,” Veltri said. “It was gut wrenching to walk up to someone and tell them ‘you’re a wonderful teacher, but we don’t have a job for you because we don’t have the funding.’ We made it through (the recession) and stayed in stable financial condition, but it was not easy.”
Veltri said Mead would be a new challenge for her, though her experience at Medical Lake will help her prepare for her new role. She said being a part of a smaller school district has allowed her to gain knowledge in several areas and wear “many different hats.”
“My goal is to take what I have learned and implement it on a grander scale for the benefit of the kids,” Veltri said.
Veltri said she is not only thankful for the support of her colleagues, but also for the various businesses, organizations and community members that have supported the school.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.