Yelm schools teach more than town youngsters
The Olympian March 7, 1983
By Mike Wales
Glen Nutter, superintendent of the Yelm School District, said he believe his system is not only teaching children reading, writing and arithmetic, but is also responsive to the needs of the community at large.
Despite cutbacks forced on the district by a recession-ridden economy Nutter has managed to provide trained people to teach 2,600 students drawn from a district 190 square miles in size, and provide community service programs for another 400 adults.
“We’ve been able to acquire some of the best teachers in the state,” he said, noting that even though the classes are bigger than they were a few years ago, and some services have fallen by the wayside because of cutbacks, the district is still providing the best in educational benefits.
Maybe it’s the man. Nutter has been in the teaching profession since 1958 and superintendent at Yelm for 10 years. He is well liked in the community and has the trust and respect of the five member school board.
There are four schools in the district: Yelm High School, Yelm Middle School, McKenna Elementary School, and Southworth Elementary School.
A total of 110 teachers are employed by the district, but what is more interesting is the fact Nutter is able to administer the system with just 8.5 staff positions.
Salaries average around $24,000 a year or teachers. Nutter is paid $50,000 a year, about average for the head of a school district that’s Yelm’s size.
Nutter is proud of the new high school just west of town, but the district isn’t stopping there. About $10 million is earmarked for a school construction program which will include a new elementary school a half-mile south of Yelm which will handle 500 students.
The superintendent said these children will be fifth and sixth graders who are being programmed back into the elementary system.
The middle school is also in for considerable renovation, with some buildings slated to be replaced and others being brought up to today’s standards.
Nutter also is proud of two programs in which the school is involved. The school board decided some time ago the district needed a drug information program, resulting 17 teachers being put through a special training course. Fourteen more currently are undergoing training.
Thurston County commissioners can claim credit for providing a grant for the district in which the training materials and teaching personnel are provided. Nutter provides the districts teachers, which involves paying substitutes to fill in for them while they are being trained.
Once the teachers become proficient they give drug enlightenment classes to students and the students are later tested on what they learn.
The other program Nutter said he is proud of is the systems adult education program, which at present has 400 regular attendees.
“The people of this community have given us overwhelming support,” Nutter said, adding that hundreds of hours of volunteer help are provided by people who have come in to teach such courses as welding and computer programming.
Other volunteers assist the teaching staff, Nutter said. “We have 120 of these people who come in every week.”
They tutor students, correct papers, supervise in the lunch room and help out in the library, he said.
“I think the public feels this facility belongs to them because we have a board that is responsive to the citizens,” Nutter said.
They also seem to have a superintendent that is responsive to the citizens.
Yelm School District
190 sq. miles
Number of Schools: 4
Number of Students: 2,600
Number of Teacher: 110
Number of Administrators: 8
The pictures below were given to me by a Yelm employee. I believe it might have been Betty Kinnaman. Lesson: Always keep track of your sources.