After receiving a doctorate degree from BYU more than 20 years ago, Donald “Gary” Wall still contributes to the university as a part-time associate research professor in the McKay School of Education. Concurrently, he is working as a public education improvement consultant.
Wall first graduated from BYU in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. After graduating, Wall was employed as a history and economics teacher at Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington. He coached the varsity football team and the freshman/sophomore basketball teams, and was voted “teacher of the year” by the senior classes of 1976 and 1980.
After obtaining a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Puget Sound in 1982, Wall became an assistant principal at Lynden High School in Lynden, Washington. In this position he improved the daily student attendance average from 83 percent to 95 percent. He then went on to become assistant superintendent and director of special programs for Lynden School District.
Wall returned to BYU for a doctorate degree in educational leadership, which he obtained in 1987. In 1995 he began working as superintendent of Granite Falls School District in Granite Falls, Washington. He remained in the position until 2001, when he moved to Anacortes, Washington, and became assistant superintendent of Northwest Educational Service District, where he focused on school improvement planning.
Since 2004, Wall has worked as an interim assistant superintendent, an interim elementary school principal, and an interim transportation director. When he was interim elementary school principal in Mt. Baker School District, 75 percent of his student population were living in poverty, and 65 percent were ELL students. In regard to working with at-risk students, Wall says, “I think of eating in a seafood restaurant at Sea World and saying, ‘Oh, I could be eating the park’s slow learner.’ We all need to be patient with each other; we’re human.”
In his current employment as an improvement consultant, Wall facilitates training for school improvement teams that are working to become better focused on student/staff achievement. He also lobbies the Washington State Legislature to enact statutes that will enable the use of revenue generated from State Forest Trust Lands toward school district improvements.
Outside of his professional employment, Gary has served the community through various organizations: Lions Club, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts of America, Whatcom County Commission on Children/Youth, and Whatcom County Red Cross Board. Wall and his wife, Mary Ellen (“Ellie”)Wall, are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight, with two more grandchildren on the way.
31 October 2008