New ML superintendent ready to step into role
Ames hopes to connect with community and Fairchild in his first year
Tim Ames was sitting at dinner when he learned he would be the new superintendent of Medical Lake School District. He celebrated with a fist pump to while his wife cried tears of joy.
“I was so thrilled,” Ames said. “I wanted to start the day after they made the announcement.”
Ames will be taking over the role of superintendent from the departing Dr. Pam Veltri, starting July 1. Veltri will be taking a position as an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction with the Mead School District.
Although he will be a new face in Medical Lake, Ames has lived in Eastern Washington for most of his life. After spending part of his youth at Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana, his family moved to Fairchild Air Force Base.
When his father retired, Ames’ family relocated to Spokane where he attended and graduated from Ferris High School.
Ames said he originally intended to major in business , but was inspired to go into education after working for Parks and Recreation for both the city of Spokane and Spokane County.
Ames graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He earned his master’s in curriculum and instruction and principal credentials from Eastern Washington University before he returned to WSU for his superintendent certification.
After college, Ames taught in the Mead School District for 14 years and was an elementary and middle school principal for West Valley for seven years. He has spent the last nine years as he the superintendent for Wellpinit School District, which is on the Spokane Indian Reservation.
During his time at Wellpinit, Ames helped raise the graduation rate to 80-90 percent and worked to bring culture back to the school. For his work, tribal elders gave him a tribal name.
“I can’t spell it for you, but means ‘Salmon Chief,’” Ames said. “It was a great honor.”
For Ames, working at Wellpinit was a great experience. He said he learned how to resolve conflicts and inspire people during difficult times.
“The families and communities up there have great resilience and great senses of humor,” Ames said. “They were some of the best kids I worked with in my career.”
During the interview process, Ames met with the school board, faculty and members of the community.
“I like the sense of closeness within the town and I look forward to learning a lot more about it,” Ames said.
Ames has also been getting help from Veltri into transitioning into his new role.
“I’ve known Pam for nine years, from when we went on Impact Aid trips,” Ames said. We both collaborate really well. “I really appreciate the help she’s giving me.”
Ames said he knows he is stepping into the big shoes left behind by Veltri, however, he is excited about the challenge. One of his long-term goals is to help address the needs of the middle school and help it get out of being a “focus school” in the next three years.
In his first year at Medical lake, Ames is going to try to get to know the community and staff, as well as connect with Fairchild. He also plans to attend the events happening throughout the school year.
“I’m looking forward to watching Friday night football, with the band, cheerleaders and a packed house,” Ames said.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.