The five board members of Nooksack Valley Schools all serve the needs of the students as volunteers. As School Board Appreciation Month, January offers a dedicated time of celebration of their work. Take a moment to get to know the members who serve students in NV Schools students.
Steve Jones, Director District 2
I was appointed to an open position on the board in July 1989 and was elected to that position that November. I have run, and been elected, in eight subsequent elections, the last being November 2021, for a current total of 34.5 years of services. My plan is to finish this term in December 2025 for a total of 36.5 year of service. I have notified the board and administration that I am not running again in 2025.
I was born in Ottawa, Kansas, and our family moved back to the Nooksack Valley before I was 2 years old. My mother graduated from Nooksack Sumas High School in 1940 and I graduated from NVHS in 1970, as did my eight brothers and sisters. We bought our first house in Nooksack in 1976. My wife of 51 years, Debra Larson Jones, is also a 1970 Nooksack graduate. I have served on several Nooksack Valley School committees and coached several little league sports. Our three kids graduated from NVHS, and six of our nine grandkids are current Nooksack students. We have had the advantage of excellent board members, administrators, teachers and support staff for many years.
We currently have two brand-new board members and two other relatively new board members. For the next two years I hope to mentor and help transition this group of talented people to positive and productive board engagement. I do have a little institutional knowledge to share. As a system, we have been very intentional about the outcomes of our educational programs and how they must serve all kids. That remains our focus.
Halli Kimball, Director District 1
I just completed my second year on the board.
I was born and raised in the Valley. I graduated from NVHS in 1996. I went away to Eastern Washington University for four years, then came back and started my family here.
It’s a crazy world we live in right now. My hope is to be a positive voice and a listening ear for the people of our community. School safety is very much at the forefront of my efforts. I believe we need a dedicated school safety officer. I’m praying we can pass this levy in February so we can see that happen, as well as other needed security upgrades.
Ty Elmendorf, At-Large No. 1
I’ve been serving on the board since my appointment in May 2023 due to the vacancy created when Jason Heutink became the boys basketball coach. After a short term of the appointed position, I was honored to be elected to this current four-year term.
My family moved to the Valley in 2009, just prior to our son starting kindergarten at Everson Elementary School. Our son graduated last year from the high school and our daughter is currently a freshman. Throughout our kids’ time in the schools, I’ve been fortunate to volunteer time in numerous roles throughout the district, including being on a school safety committee, school facilities committee, serving as an elementary school Watch Dog and having coached our Nooksack Valley youth both on the basketball court and football pitch (yes, you read that correctly, football which for some reason we call soccer). Being part of this Nooksack Valley community has been a blessing four our entire family. I enthusiastically share our experience being part of this community with anybody within earshot and look forward to doing everything I can as a board member to support our staff, encourage our students and cheer on our athletes on quests to win more state championships.
My goals while on the board are kind of stated in the line above, but I think it’s important to note that I am committed to school safety. My role as a current 28-year law enforcement officer in Whatcom County positions me nicely to make sure that our district is on top of the best current practices with regard to school safety. My goal is to make sure that our district employees and students feel safe every day in school and, while safe, are properly trained to be ‘prepared but not paranoid’ for any safety challenges that may present themselves. I want parents in this district to know that the Nooksack Valley School District prioritizes our students’ safety. Other goals include continuing with the tremendous work that current and former board members have made to be fiscally responsible stewards of monies afford to NV Schools. In addition, I will continue to look for creative financing opportunities to bring all-weather turf fields to our school district to provide year-round recreational opportunities to this community regardless of sometimes difficult weather conditions. I look forward to continuing my work as a board member and am humbled by the trust this community has placed in me to serve in this capacity. Go Pioneers!
Shelley Harder, Director District 3
I have officially been a school board member for approximately one month. I am very new to the board and am excited to learn more with time.
I was born and raised within the Nooksack/Everson area. I am an alumnus of Nooksack and currently have four children attending Nooksack Valley Schools. Next year I will have kids spanning the high school, middle school and Nooksack Elementary. I am looking forward to potential involvement among all the schools. I currently really enjoy meeting new kids from coaching at the middle school and youth sports.
I’d like to bring a more collaborative nature among the schools and the parents. I’d love to see more parents, grandparents and guardians involved in the everyday workings of our schools. I would like to see more student involvement within and among our community.
Tanya Silves, At-Large No. 2
I took my oath of office on Dec. 21, 2023. I have served and continue to serve on other boards in our community, including the Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group, Nooksack Youth Basketball and the Pioneer Football Booster Club.
I attended Nooksack and graduated in 1999. We’ve lived in the Everson-Nooksack area my whole life. My mom attended Nooksack as well.
As a school board member, my goal for serving is to contribute to the effective governance of Nooksack Valley by making informed decisions, collaborating with fellow board members and prioritizing the well-being and education of our students.