Rick Bates, EdD, Embraces Leadership Role at Aberdeen School District

January 23, 2024
Mike Ralston
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Rick Bates, EdD, often assumed leadership roles in elementary, middle and high school before embarking on a teaching career as a developmental preschool teacher in the Aberdeen School District (Aberdeen, WA).

“A few years into my teaching career, my principal encouraged me to look into a Master’s of Education in Administration. I went on to become an elementary principal and his colleague,” adds Bates.

Throughout his 34-year career, which includes 26 years in the Aberdeen School District, Bates has worked as a developmental preschool teacher, elementary special education teacher, elementary principal and director of special education.   

He earned a Master’s of Education degree from Washington State University and a Doctorate of Education from Argosy University.

A Day in the Life of an Administrator

headshotDr. Bates is currently in his sixth year as Director of Special Education at Aberdeen School District. As a district office administrator, he supports building administrators, teachers, specialists (SLPs, OTs, PTs, school psychologists and others), support staff, parents and students. 

He also sits on the superintendent’s cabinet and oversees many programs and departments, including special education, Section 504, ADA, Health Services, Behavioral and Safety.  

“I prioritize students first!  And with that priority, I address the items and student needs that are urgent and important first,” adds Bates.

A typical work day for Bates includes reviewing the day’s meetings and training, and connecting with his office team to lay out the work for the day. Phone calls, texts, emails and face-to-face interactions communicating needs for support and guidance complete his day.  

“I love the challenging nature of problem solving, and collaborating with those involved in planning for and supporting students.”

Bates also reviews laws, policy, procedures, research, best practices and works with other caring adults to help students succeed academically, behaviorally, medically, socially, mentally and holistically to ensure (to the best of their ability) that students are included and see themselves as part of the school and larger outside community.

He notes the biggest struggle is the hiring, training and supporting the professional staff needed to serve the students within his district.  

The Hello Foundation Partnership

Since 2005 Care Options for Kids, formerly The Hello Foundation (THF), has been providing high-quality special education specialists to school districts all over the country. THF offers flexible on-site and telepractice solutions to meet long- and short-term coverage needs, including a unique hybrid teletherapy model.

“The special education teachers, specialists, and support staff have a tough job. THF has supported us in filling hard-to-fill openings such as school psychologists and speech and language pathologists,” adds Bates.

At work

He was referred to THF by a colleague in a neighboring school district. The original purpose was locating school psychologists. Aberdeen is in a rural coastal community so it’s difficult to find skilled and qualified school psychologists that want to relocate.  

“I was introduced to Hello’s hybrid model of services. The school psychologists work remotely most days and would travel to Aberdeen approximately one week a month. Admittedly, I was reluctant to sign on, but was pleasantly surprised. The model worked for our students' needs.”

Bates currently has school psychologists and speech-language pathologists from THF as part of his special education team.

“I have wholeheartedly recommended THF clinicians to other districts. I wouldn’t hesitate to do so again. THF clinicians I have worked with and supervised have been skilled, high quality, and caring professionals that make positive opportunities happen for the students they serve,” adds Bates. 

In his spare time Dr. Bates enjoys reading, listening to music, attending theater productions of plays and musicals, attending sporting events, attending music concerts, working on projects around the house and most importantly, spending quality time with his children and grandchildren.

Poppa and Grandson Lyrik (1st day)“My proudest accomplishment is my family. I am the proud father of four adult children and seven grandchildren. I am truly blessed.” 

“My moms are my biggest inspiration. I have a birth mom, step mom, and mother-in-law. All three moms support and inspire me unconditionally,” adds Bates. 

Bring Experienced Clinicians To Your School District

The Hello Foundation is proud to be a part of the Care Options for Kids Community. We partner with school districts to provide seamless support for students, integrating into the school setting to deliver speech and occupational therapy and enhancing their social, emotional, and behavioral growth so they can better access the curriculum.

At Care Options for Kids, we are committed to making a difference for our people through empowerment and encouragement to be there for themselves and their own families. We provide the choices and opportunities our people need to enhance their lives and grow their careers so they can provide better care for others. We believe in making a difference in every way, every day.

With locations in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Washington, California, and Wyoming, the Care Options for Kids Community offers a wide range of pediatric health services, including pediatric therapies, ABA therapy, nursing, family caregiver services, and school-based services.

At THF, we hire speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathology assistants, school psychologists, and occupational therapists. Our community of professionals fosters growth for one another and for the kids we serve. Join our team!