You say hello, I say retirement

Cohn plans to hit the road after 10 years with Everett Public Schools

Outgoing superintendent plans to travel to places he has not had time to visit
By Kate Agbayani | Jun 21, 2019
Courtesy of: Everett Public Schools Retiring Superintendent Dr. Gary Cohn hopes to share many more moments in the sun with his wife Sue as they make up for the time he has been obligated to stay around the offices of the Everett Public Schools over the past 10 years. Cohn said he is proud of his accomplishments during his tenure, especially increasing the graduation rate in the district to a state-best 95 percent.

Everett public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Cohn never expected to work for the district for as long as he has, but after 10 years as the top administrator for one of the largest school districts in the state, he is having a hard time saying goodbye to the district and hello to retirement.

“There’s a little bit of anxiety that was part of announcing my significant life decision, but there’s also a little bit of excitement,” Cohn told The Beacon.

Although he’s grown in his position as superintendent of the vast district, Cohn never thought he would be in his line work.

Before he began his job with public schools in Everett, Cohn believed his professional career was to be based in business.

The first entries on his impressive resume were companies involved with information technology. His main focus was with firms that worked in the international computer industry with an emphasis on international marketing.

After three years of work in high-tech, he was offered a job in California. The offer was quickly declined.

After a push from a former high school teacher to look into education, Cohn made the life-changing decision to go back to school to earn his teaching certificate.

“There was no way that you could have convinced me that I would be doing this work (education),” Cohn said with a slight laugh.

However, after his first few classes working toward to his certification, Cohn found that he enjoyed dealing with young people as well as adult learners.

The success he enjoyed in the business world did not end when Cohn was named superintendent a decade ago. During his time in Everett, he was able to boost graduation rates in the district to the highest level in the state.

Before he made his decision to move on, more than 95 percent of high school seniors in the vast Everett district were leaving high school with their diplomas.

Cohn’s accomplishments did not go unnoticed by his peers in education – he was honored as Superintendent of the Year in the state of Washington in 2017.

“Lots of us are doing a lot of things that we didn’t plan to do,” Cohn said. “Through the relationships and mentorship, and through the support of the people who encouraged me in this particular field, is why I’m here.”

There was no specific time that Cohn realized he wanted to retire, but it was still a careful and thought-out process, for him and his wife.

“We had to think about the things we want to do in our lives together, along with the implications on ourselves and the people who depend on us,” Cohn said.

While he feels anxious about entering his retirement, he is also excited for what the future has in hold for him and Sue. They couple is especially excited to start their long overdue plans for travel.

Leaving town, he said, was always been difficult, because his life had been tied to the school calendar.

This summer, the happy couple hopes to travel to Norway and Scotland, and possibly other European countries such as France, Italy, and Portugal.

The couple also hopes to adopt another dog. Cohn favors a golden retriever.

Regardless of how far his travels take him, retirement will not stop Cohn from being involved in the community. The superintendent and his wife want to continue to work with youth by volunteering for youth organizations.

Despite being away from Everett Public Schools, Cohn believes the district will continue to maintain their high performance.

“Our graduation rates keep getting stronger, our performance continues to improve, and gaps in students’ performance and achievements have become lower.”

The outgoing administrator also hopes that programs such as medical pathways, aerospace, army manufacturing, and many more may continue to grow and develop within the district, so students can have more options.

Cohn has some words of advise for the next person who sits in his office. His first recommendation is to enjoy the introductory period of being a superintendent.

“I just couldn’t think of a better place to be in, in this community. Enjoy the learning process and the new community. Get to understand how the community values education. Meet the parents, and enjoy the programs and accomplishments the kids are having success with.”

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