North Thurston Public Schools picks Justin Ainsworth for new superintendent


The North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) Board of Directors selected Dr. Justin Ainsworth to become the next superintendent, pending his acceptance.

“Dr. Ainsworth’s leadership philosophy, instructional experience, and passion for equitable and high-quality education opportunities for all students make him the right person to lead NTPS into the future,” said NTPS Board President Gretchen Maliska, as stated in the press release.

The press release stated that the board thanked the community for participating throughout the search process.

Twenty-nine applicants applied for the position. The board reviewed video submissions from 11 applicants, interviewed seven semi-finalists, and brought the three finalists in for a full day of community meetings.

The three finalists toured NTPS schools and met with staff, students, and community members.

The process started this January, as the board completed a request for professional services. In February, the Board collected input to collate qualities they wanted to see in the next superintendent.

The board reviewed applicants from March 1 to 26 and announced the finalists on March 27. Earlier this month, the board had the finalists' in-person interviews where the community could meet the candidates.

Superintendent Dr. Debra J. Clemens announced her retirement earlier this January, and her last day in office will be June 30. Ainsworth will begin work on July 1. 

About Dr. Ainsworth

Ainsworth is associate superintendent in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District in Palmer, Alaska. He has two decades of experience in public education.

Ainsworth earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Southern Oregon University, a master’s degree in teaching from Pacific University, and a Doctor of Education from William Howard Taft University.

According to the press release, Ainsworth has “dedicated his career to advancing equity and eliminating opportunity gaps for underserved students, ensuring that every learner has access to a high-quality education.”

For more information on the NTPS superintendent search, visit


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  • BobJacobs

    The Olympian's article about this appointment included the new Superintendent's salary. It seemed awfully high.

    We need to see the salaries of public officials reported regularly. After all, we are paying them.

    Bob Jacobs

    Monday, April 15 Report this