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Thousands of students have walked the Air Academy High School hallways, hundreds of teachers and administrators have retired or moved on, but Tim Clark, the Building Manager has remained steadfast.  

“18 years later, I’m still here,” he said.

If there’s anything he’s learned over the last two decades, it’s that managing the oldest building in Academy District 20 (ASD20) requires lots of patience. Originally built in 1959, AAHS has undergone nine additions, several renovations and a dozen more updates to keep up with evolving technology.

If the power goes out in one part of the building, finding the source may mean Clark and his crew are maneuvering electric wiring on the opposite side of campus.

“We have a well-built building so the problems are mostly age related,” Clark explained. “In the 1950’s and 1960’s, there wasn’t near the need for electricity as now so trying to get a school modernized with outlets can be a challenge.”

To this day, relics from decades passed still reside on the AAHS campus. In the last decade, Clark and his team removed old pay phones stalls and benches in the school’s courtyard once designated as a smoking area still exist.

Coming to ASD20

Before becoming the building manager, Clark was hired as a roving custodian in 2005. What he hoped would be a temporary gig after letting go of his small business, Clark turned into his career. Aside from all the cleanup and maintenance, he found purpose in leading a group of people to become their best.

“I’ve had employees go on to become teachers, work in law enforcement, and start their own business. I really encourage them to do what’s best for them,” Clark said.

Most impressive is the number of employees who have become Building Managers at other ASD20 schools after working for Clark including Liberty High School, Ranch Creek, Frontier, Rockrimmon and Douglass Valley Elementary Schools.

Becoming the Building Manager also allowed Clark the unique opportunity of watching two of this three sons attend high school. He said, “Seeing them every day allows you to instill value into their lives and see they’re not getting in trouble.” When asked to consider a higher position within the district, Clark turned it down to spend time with his sons before they graduated.

Why Education?

While honing his skills and learning the ins and outs of the 63-year-old campus, Clark found a new passion, becoming a leader. 

“My whole life, everywhere I’ve been, it seems like I rise up to that,” he said.

In Clark’s office, a bookshelf overflows with self-help and leadership books. Titles like “The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership” by John Maxwell and “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey are some of his favorites.

“While I don’t consider myself a teacher, I’ve learned leadership isn’t about bossing people around. It’s about getting to work with others.”

Educating and Inspiring Students to Thrive

Clark may not have traditional relationships with students or teachers, but the role of his team is imperative to providing a quality education.

“I always tell my employees that if we can go into the classroom and keep it clean and safe, teachers don’t have to worry about that, and they are more equipped to do their job.”

After a pep-rally or large school event, Clark and his team are the first folks onsite to clean everything up. He admits a high school, “gets really messy, but you’ve got to remember, these are kids just having fun.”

Austina Lee, the AAHS Choir Director who nominated Clark for the “Our People” feature said, “Tim is never in the spotlight, but all of the people and events who do shine in the spotlight can do so because of the work that he does.”

Rapid Fire Questions

What is your why?
“To come alongside people and lead them. This is truly about caring for people and caring for what they care about.”

Tell me about a time a student made a lasting impact on you.
“My wife and I were at Starbucks, and someone asked, ‘do you work at AAHS?’ When I answered yes, they bought our coffee. It was great to hear some appreciate my work.”

What do you do in your day to value all students?
“It’s the little things. Making sure we’ve set up the HVAC system to turn on for band and sporting events, so students are comfortable. We try to fix problems as quick as we can.”

What keeps you going on the hard days?
“We’ve had our fair share of hard days in the last couple of years,” Clark explained. Last year, two of his team members passed away, while others moved on to other opportunities, leaving him with a two-man team, versus the nine typically needed for the campus. Despite the challenges, Clark said, “Serving people, being a servant leader, that is where I draw the strength.”

If you could pick a superpower, which one would it be?
“I would love to be strong like Superman.”

When you were a student, what did you love to eat for lunch?
“Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

What is your favorite school supply?
“Pens and paper. I love trying new pens and finding one that flows well in your fingers.”

Finally, is there a quote that inspires you?
“I’m not a big Ghandi guy, but his overall message resonates with me. He was able to make lasting changes without fighting. The circle of influence as a custodian or building manager is small, but as you develop and become a better person, you can expand that circle.”

We are honoring our people through sharing their unique stories. This regular new feature, aptly named “Our People,” will shine a light on who they are, their passions and their contributions. The people who uphold our traditions of excellence. We hope you enjoy these stories and will nominate someone to be highlighted in “Our People.”