Message from Superintendent Brian Wharton

  • Welcome to the 2018-19 school year!

    We are so excited to serve our 5,800 district students and their families.  Last year brought so many positives to our district, and I am confident we will build toward even higher levels of success.  Here is what we are building on for this year:

    • Our Graduate Yelm! initiative has been widely embraced by our city and surrounding community.  To start the year we have 33 confirmed partners who have committed to spreading the word with customers, faith-based patrons and service group members that 100% of our students are on their path to graduation, continuing education and work.  
    • Student achievement increased in 2017-18.  Our students outperformed the rest of the stated in 3rd grade math, 7th grade math, 8th grade math, 8th grade English Language Arts, 10th grade English Language Arts and 11th grade math.  Additionally, the students of 43 district teachers scored more than 10% above state average.
    • Three of our schools, Lackamas, McKenna and Yelm Middle School received national recognition as No Excuses University Network Schools.  This honor is given to schools who have demonstrated systems for excellence in school culture, collaboration, standards alignment, assessment, data management and interventions.  
    • The Yelm School Board was recognized by our regional educational service district for its exemplary leadership in aligning the district strategic plan to actions designed to improve equity and student achievement.  

    As the 2018-19 year unfolds we have identified many priority work areas.  All of the areas align tightly with the strategic plan goals our board adopted in 2017.  

    • We will continue to expand our Graduate Yelm! partnerships across our community.  We know that we can create a city-wide conversation and system of supports for all students as they progress toward graduation.
    • We will implement curriculum and training for elementary math, K-8 science and computer science at all levels.
    • We will engage our community in open and honest discussions about the nature of our school facilities.  Growth, class size regulations and aging schools have put significant pressure on our ability to house students, improve facilities safety, upgrade technology and increase community access to our athletic fields.  
    • We will continue to provide world-class professional development for our teachers and principals to support increased student achievement.  Our students deserve our best efforts and best practices every day.
    • We will focus on improving safety.  This emphasis will initiate work in safety preparedness, facilities upgrades, supports for families, and increased collaboration with our local police department.  

    Our district seeks to be the service hub of our community.  We want to support students in their growth through public schooling.  We want to support the needs of families and remove barriers to student achievement including poverty, access to social and health supports and extended day programs.  Our name says Yelm Community Schools for a reason. We are here to make Yelm a better place for our students and families.

    Brian Wharton became Superintendent of Yelm Community Schools in July of 2016. His education career started a high school English teacher and coach in Spokane. He moved to Western Washington in 1988 and worked with the North Thurston Public Schools until 2010. His administrative roles included Nisqually Middle School Principal, River Ridge High School Principal, and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. 

    Brian began working in Yelm Community Schools in 2010 as principal of Yelm High School before being appointed Superintendent. His education background includes his bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University, master’s degree from Western Washington University, his Principal Credential from Central Washington University, and his Superintendent’s Credential from Washington State University. In the past two years, Brian led the board in re-designing the Strategic Plan guiding the district's work around four core beliefs:  Student Centered, Learning Focused, Results Oriented and Community Connected.  Through that work, the district has developed numerous partnerships with the City of Yelm, South Puget Sound Community College, Together! of Thurston County, JBLM, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Behavioral Health Resources (BHR), and Yelm and Thurston County Chambers to support the board goals.  In 2017 the District launched Graduate Yelm!, a community impact initiative designed to support graduation for all district students.  

  • Superintendent Brian Wharton
    Brian Wharton

    Executive Assistant:
    Staci Kelcher