Ty Elmendorf has a passion to stay connected to his community. He's proven it with his volunteer service at Nooksack Valley Schools and now can continue that service as the newest member of the NV Schools Board of Directors.
Elmendorf, appointed to the vacancy created when Jason Heutink resigned his board position to take over as head boys basketball coach at the high school, says this is exactly where he wants to be. "I have time to give," the husband and father says, "and a passion to serve."
A 27-year veteran of the Bellingham Police Department, he notes that school safety is an area where he has input to give. In fact, along with working with students within the Bellingham School District as part of his police work, he served in the past on NV's school safety committee and more recently as part of the facilities committee that looked at the needs of Sumas Elementary.
Having lived in the district for the past 14 years, he's seen every stage of the district. His oldest son, now a senior at NVHS, went through Everson Elementary, NVMS and now NVHS, allowing Elmendorf the opportunity to volunteer as a Watch Dog at Everson and chaperone plenty of field trips. He's also volunteered his time in the community coaching youth soccer and basketball.
His step to the school board may be a genetic calling, he jokes. His mom was a principal at Squalicum High School, and he had multiple family members serve in school administration. "I was raised in public schools, surrounded by loved ones who served public schools and I believe in the public school system," he says. "Specifically, I believe in the Nooksack Valley School District. When my family moved to the valley 14 years ago it was a shock to my Bellingham friends and family. On behalf of my entire family, I must say this was one of the greatest decisions we have made. The entire experience has been amazing and is one that I'm proud to talk about around our friends in and out of Nooksack Valley."
What the former football player at the Naval Academy and the University of Washington has been most impressed by in the last 14 years, though, has been the response from district employees after the flooding emergency.
"I continue to be touched by the best of people that came out during the worst of times," he says. "The district response, in my opinion, exemplifies community and I will never forget being witness to the countless hours of service employees of this district gave during such an incredibly difficult time."
While he's well-versed in school safety—"unfortunately, school safety is not going away, and I have a lot to give in that arena"—he's also looking forward to learning from the experience already on the board. "I will lean heavily on their expertise when it comes to budgets and the ins and outs of the district," he says. "I am initially in full learning and listening mode."
Elmendorf's appointment to the board is for an at-large position and lasts until the next board election. Elmendorf says he's already filed to run for election, hoping to extend his passion to serve the students at NV Schools.