Meet an Administrator: John Boatman
Position: Director of Maintenance and Operations
Years in Education: 26
Years at Clover Park: 1
John Boatman joined Clover Park School District in the Director of Maintenance and Operations role at the beginning of this school year. Hailing from southern California, he began his career in architecture before moving into project management and capital projects.
Can you explain what you do as director of maintenance and operations?
My job encompasses all of our facilities, and not just the schools. I oversee the grounds and underground infrastructure as well. If something breaks, we fix it. We also put preventative maintenance in place to address some components in our buildings before they actually break to make them last longer so our job is not just running out to “repair, repair, repair.”
Coming from southern California, how has your time in Washington treated you?
I moved here in 2006, and I have totally embraced Washington. I have embraced our sports teams, our environment, our geography. I simply love the beaches here. You don’t have to wade through scorching hot sand to get to the water. Our beaches are absolutely beautiful, and our mountains are more untouched than a lot of what is in southern California. I just love it here!
What initially attracted you to a career in education?
Honestly, it just kind of happened. I had a strong desire to get into architecture once I got out of the Army, and one of the first companies I worked for did work on schools and mortuaries, which was a bit unique! I really embraced the idea of working on schools during my first project. It really felt like I was supporting the surrounding community in a way I could feel good about. When you think about it, designing a school means you are touching a community for 50 or 60 years.
What attracted you to take your current job in Clover Park School District?
I worked for a company that did some consulting work for Clover Park, and since I had already done several things in this region, I already had a history with Clover Park, and I already knew all of the schools. I had already been exposed to a lot of staff here before I even knew there as an opening. Having worked with, and for, many school districts in the past, I saw what the school board is doing here and how the district interacts with the community and I recognized it as a place where I thought I could be successful.
How can you help create promising futures from your position?
I can help to make sure people can get to all of our facilities. They need to be safe as they walk up, the doors need to be able to open, we need to rely on the building components to work. We also need to make sure the heat is on, that the ventilation systems are working, the plumbing is running, and that our safety and security systems are fully functioning. We can’t properly teach students if we don’t have functioning facilities, so keeping the lights on is what makes my role and department so essential.
What has surprised you most about working in education?
You touch the lives of so many different people. Every community has a school and working to build an environment that helps students learn is an incredibly rewarding task. I look back on my career and think about the number of new schools I have built and the number of schools we have improved and how that has helped teachers do their jobs better and helped increase student success. When I first started out in education, I wasn’t prepared for how rewarding it was going to be to make a difference for all those little faces in the classroom.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I'm motivated by challenge. I’m optimistic in nature, so when the idea comes out that, ‘Oh, this can't be done,’ or, ‘You can't do this,’ then I consider that a challenge. I work to figure out how can we best utilize the resources and budget we have to try and get the job done. I love that challenge and working in schools really pushes you to figure out different ways to get things done.
What is the best part of your job?
It’s really the people. That’s one of the things that brought me to Clover Park and why I thought it would be a great fit for me. I can honestly say that this district is full of so many people who really care about what they do. It’s exciting. I’m one of those guys who wakes up in the morning and actually gets here early because I really want to be here.
What is the hardest part about your job?
There simply are not enough hours in the day. I want to address all of our outstanding work orders. I want to have a solid preventative maintenance program in place. I want to make sure we’re doing what we can to be responsive to our community needs for afterhours use of our facilities along with our own educational and athletic needs. The hardest thing is trying to carve out more hours in the day.
What are your hobbies?
A few years ago I embraced backpacking. I am slowly and methodically hiking sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. That’s a goal I have right now. I’ll knock out sections as I can with my vacation days. I hope that at some point in the next 10 years, I will have completed the whole 2,600-mile trek. This year is a big year for me because I am planning to take a section of the trail from Stevens Pass to Chinook Pass.