As she reflects on her 10-year tenure as a Thompson School District Board of Education Member, Pam Howard is proud of what the district has accomplished, and she is looking forward to seeing what the future brings, both for herself and for the school community she loves.
“The most memorable part of my 10 years on the board has been our ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other,” Pam says. “Our school district has faced enormous challenges and changes over the last decade, most of which we didn’t see coming. Who could have predicted the pandemic?”
Loveland Became Home in 1988
Pam received her bachelor’s degree in secondary education and English from Indiana University, and taught English at a large high school in Indianapolis before she and her husband Andy moved to Colorado. After briefly living in the Denver area, they chose Loveland as a home for their family, and settled here in 1988.
Pam quickly found her place in the community, working at the Women’s Center (a local nonprofit organization that no longer exists) and serving on the City of Loveland Human Relations Commission and the Larimer County Board of Health.
In the meantime, Pam and Andy had three daughters, and while Pam’s passion for community never changed, the focus of her volunteering did.
Laying Down Roots
All three of Pam and Andy’s daughters went through school in TSD, attending Namaqua Elementary and Walt Clark Middle School, and graduating from Thompson Valley High. Pam said she considered her
daughters’ educations to be phenomenal, and it was during those years Pam really became active in the school district, starting with volunteering in their schools and serving on school accountability committees.
Campaigning for Bonds and Mill Levy Overrides
As Pam spent more and more time in classrooms, she started to recognize the needs of teachers and schools, and her desire to support them led to her involvement in campaigning for bonds and mill levy overrides for Thompson.
Pam has managed multiple TSD bond and mill levy campaigns, including successful efforts in 1996, 2005 and 2006. Pam also played a vital role in getting the bond passed in 2018, the funds from which built Riverview PK-8 School and made improvements throughout the entire district.
“We needed those funds so desperately,” Pam recalls. “Our schools were in disrepair. I think getting support for our students boils down to getting money in the door. We can argue all we want about how the state funds our schools … it’s not great. The state should be doing a better job. Our state is one of the lowest-funding states in the country.”
Filling a Vacancy
Pam’s decade on the school board began in 2013, when a board member’s move created a vacancy. Pam applied and was appointed to fill the spot. She won elections in 2015 and 2019 to continue her tenure on the board, and she says that through it all, she has been impressed with how the staff and community have focused on what is best for kids.
“The district has continually moved in the right direction, which is making improvements for students,” she says. “We have been through a lot of challenges, but we are still really stable and solid as a district. There’s a culture of teamwork. That’s how we have persisted and gotten through challenging times.”
The Past 10 Years
Pam has seen so much over her many years with the district, everything from the opening of Thompson Career Campus to the huge technological advances to which school districts have had to adapt.
“The things these kids are doing, we are really on target for preparing these kids for the future and for them to get out there and be good citizens,” she says. “That, to me, is what it’s all about.”
As Thompson School Board directors are limited to two full terms (in addition to any partial terms they may have served) Pam’s years on the school board are over as of mid-November. She is looking forward to spending time with her three daughters and her granddaughter, but that does not mean she is stepping away from the school district she loves.
Not Going Anywhere
“I’m not going anywhere. I love this community. It’s weird to think this is it … so bittersweet,” she says. “It’s been an incredibly difficult and wonderful 10 years all at the same time. I feel like the district is in a really good place, and that really makes it easier to step away. I’m glad I got to do 10 years, really appreciative, but I do feel like it’s time for me to move on and let somebody else step up. That’s what keeps things moving forward.”