Bellingham Public Schools volunteers Ray Dellecker and Tim Farris were honored April 25 with the Community Leadership Award at a regional gathering of the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA). The award is designed to honor community members for their outstanding contributions toward education through collaboration with their school district.
Dellecker and Farris are active volunteer leaders at Alderwood Elementary School and have recruited dozens of volunteers to help support students through building relationships, tutoring and mentoring. They provide a consistent, supportive and positive presence at Alderwood. They take great care of the students and are respectful of teacher time, always wanting to enrich and support at a deep level. They are also learners, meeting regularly with Alderwood’s principal so they can better understand staff learning, and they’re always asking for feedback on their work and impact.
In addition to their mentoring, these two also love to bike and have found creative, fun and meaningful ways to bring biking to Alderwood and across the district. They founded a bike club for students, which helps kids access bikes, helmets and bike education during P.E classes and after school. Together, they helped raise funds for a set of traveling balance bikes for the youngest students, ensuring that students from kindergarten through second grade get access to these beginner bikes to help build confidence, fine motor skills and a number of other abilities. They also lead experienced teen bike riders on trails around town.
One staff member said, “Ray and Tim’s willingness to share their interests, time and care with our students inspires me every day.”
Farris, in an email responding to this WASA award, wanted to note that he and Ray recruited a lot of good friends and said they wanted to attend and receive this honor on behalf of all the members of their team of volunteers.
“It is the team deserving credit,” he said. “We have an immensely qualified team that would make a university proud – not to mention an elementary school.”
Farris and Dellecker wanted to share the honor with the following individuals and they apologize in advance in case anyone has been inadvertently left off this list: David Blair, former CEO of Trillum Company and current CEO of Dunham Cellars; Dr. Monte McAllister, family practice doctor; Del Vandekerk, former CEO of local business and symphony trumpet player; Dr. Peter Telfer, anesthesiologist; Dr. Steve Ban, pediatrician; Dr. Sally Baird, psychologist; Chief Andy Day, battalion chief, City of Bellingham; Dr. Ken Gass, pediatrician and former school board member (current volunteer at Roosevelt Elementary School); Dr. Dale Kinsley, former superintendent of Bellingham Public School; Dr. George “Pinky” Nelson, physicist and former astronaut (current tutor at Sehome High School); Dr. Bill Baird, anesthesiologist; and Carol Dellecker, former manager for AT&T.
Farris is a retired attorney at law who litigated numerous cases on behalf of families. Dellecker retired several years ago after a successful career spanning digital electronics design, technical marketing, and business development with positions at Bell Laboratories, Siemens Electronics, and JTAG Technologies.
“All of us leave school each week struck by the hard work and talent of our teachers and the complexity of their jobs,” Farris remarked in the aforementioned email communication.
He also mentioned the list above includes a former district superintendent and a former school board director. “It is another example of why our community believes in our schools,” he said, “because our leadership does, too.”