Meet Dr. Debra Clemens

  • Dr. Debra ClemensMore than 25 years ago, Debra (Deb) J. Clemens started her career as an educator. While some careers are planned, Deb’s happened by following her passion for service to others. She was intending to become a business major, but after spending a few summers working with high school students as a youth counselor in Wisconsin, Deb realized she wanted to become a teacher.

    Deb’s first teaching position was teaching middle and high school students computer applications and other business courses. She developed an expertise in instructional technology and quickly became a “go-to” tech person for her colleagues. Several learning opportunities later led her to become an instructional technology specialist for a school district in Minnesota. She enjoyed devoting her time and energy to training teachers and support staff on the latest technologies.

    Since joining NTPS, Deb has made Student Voice a focus of her work. She created a Superintendent's Student Advisory Council with students from elementary to high school level, and meets with them quarterly for education and feedback on district issues. Annually, all students in grades 4-12 are surveyed to assess NTPS's organizational effectiveness. The Board of Directors also invites two high school student representatives per semester (one from each high school) to serve on the Board of Directors. Students are the number one source of information about our schools and district according to our annual Community Survey.

    Additionally, Deb led more than 2,000 stakeholders in a year-long effort to create a Strategic Plan. “This plan reflects our community's long-standing commitment to thriving schools that foster learning, growth and success for all students.” The plan includes goals, strategies and professional practices that provide a roadmap for the future of NTPS. The vision statement for this plan is “All Students Empowered and Future-Ready!”

    Debra Clemens at a recent Women Build for Habitat for Humanity
    Deb on site at a Habitat for Humanity build.
    Photo credit: Shanna Paxton
    Deb is also a member of the Governor’s Council on the Healthiest Next Generation, which works to keep kids healthy and active by supporting both nutritious school meal and physical education emphasis. She believes deeply that modeling a desire for learning is important for the leader of an educational organization; therefore, she embraces new opportunities and leads with a bright and courageous spirit.

    Deb and her husband, Jeff, have two daughters — one is a recent graduate of North Thurston Public Schools and is attending the University of Washington; their youngest is a proud RAM attending North Thurston High School. In her spare time, Deb enjoys giving back to our local community, spending time with her family and maintaining a healthy lifestyle by hiking or biking throughout our region.

    Education and Experiences

    Deb is loyal to many collegiate colors and mascots! She earned her Superintendent Credential from Washington State University after completing her Doctorate of Philosophy in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University. Her Principal Credential was earned from Washington State University; she previously completed her Master in Business Administration at Gonzaga University. Her Bachelor of Science degree was completed at Viterbo University. Prior to NTPS, Deb served as the superintendent in Cheney Public Schools, and has held the roles of associate superintendent, human services director, high school principal, K-12 Instructional Technology Specialist, and teacher.

    Professional and Community Engagement

    Deb currently is a member of the North Thurston Kiwanis Club, a member of the United Way of Thurston County Board of Directors, a member of the WASA Inclusionary Practices Advisory Board, a member of the Education Northwest Board, a member of the Governor's Council for the Healthiest Next Generation, and the WASA Superintendents Component Chair. She works hard to connect with local leaders to ensure strong partnerships including the Compassionate Community Initiative with Lacey South Sound Chamber and the City of Lacey. Deb is also a member of the Thurston County Chamber Board of Directors. She has also engaged with various military branches and holds an honorary commander designation.

    To invite Dr. Clemens to a public or community meeting this year, contact Executive Assistant Carmen Barriga at (360) 412-4413.