Cohn announces his retirement after 10 years with Everett Public Schools

Board begins search for superintendent to continue educational excellence
By Dan Aznoff | Jan 18, 2019
Courtesy of: Everett Public Schools Dr. Gary Cohn

The Board of Directors for Everett Public Schools held a hastily scheduled meeting this week to begin the search process for a new superintendent after Dr. Gary Cohn announced his plan to retire at the end of the school year.

Words of praise from colleagues and educators have poured into the administration office since the district disclosed the news of Cohn’s decision to step down a head of the vast district on Friday, Jan. 11.

The board approved a request for proposal for a search firm at a special meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The RFP was also posted on the district website two days later.

A spokesperson for the district indicated the district hopes to have a new superintendent selected before the end of April.

“It’s an aggressive timeline, but we think it’s doable,” said EPS Board President Carol Andrews.

Cohn delivered the news of his retirement to the staff of the district before the news was made public. He has served as superintendent of the district for the past 10 years and has been an educator for almost four decades.

Andrews responded to the news with admiration for Cohn.

“In addition to seeing the vision and understanding the goals, Gary is able to strategize to accomplish the big goals and pay close attention to the details necessary to achieve that vision,” Andrews communicated in a prepared statement.

As an example of his accomplishments, Andrews wrote that Cohn has been instrumental in boosting graduation rates to the point that the district leads the state with a 95 percent of high school seniors receiving their diploma.

“That kind of success doesn’t just happen in the senior year or even by starting in the freshman year,” said Andrews. “Four out of 10 of our students live in poverty and Everett is the only district of 6,000 or more students in the state in which every school outperforms what the statistics project based upon poverty levels in our schools.”

Past EPS Board President Ted Wenta said it was a pleasure to work with Cohn. He was especially honored to be at the helm of the elected board when Cohn was honored as Superintendent of the Year in Washington in 2017.

“This award was richly deserved and a recognition of his commitment to the students of our state in his 39 years in public education,” said Wenta. Cohn was singled out for the honor out of 295 districts in the state.

The retiring educator returned the praise for the district’s accomplishments to the staff he worked with over the past 10 years. Cohn described his tenure with Everett Public Schools as the most rewarding of his career.

“Our achievements are possible only because everyone in the organization played well their key roles – no matter how big or small they might appear to the casual observer,” Cohn said following his announcement. “The Everett Way of making school the best part of each student’s day and continuously improving how well and what students learn is the best part of this work.”

Andrews said the board must act quickly to find a replacement for Cohn to maintain the high standards set by the retiring superintendent.

“I believe Everett Public Schools’ reputation will draw many high-quality candidates,” Andrews concluded. “And we know there will be strong community interest in how we make the selection.”

In a note to friends, Cohn wrote that he is looking forward to experiencing new adventures with his wife, Sue.  He also indicated that he would like to find time in retirement to learn a new language, take up playing the piano and “certainly improving my golf swing.”

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