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Retiring Snohomish school teachers and employees honored

As part of the May 22 retirement celebration, the retirees who attended stood for a photo. From left to right: Tom Couture, Sally Singh, Cathy Tanasse, Otis Wolfe, Linda Pilcher, Robyn Tapia and Todd Hammons.

SNOHOMISH — People with more than 300 years combined in education are retiring this year from the Snohomish School District.
The school district’s annual retirement celebration brought tears, joy and Jay. Board president Jay Hagen, that is, who got zinged in a couple speeches.
Among the honorees:
• Cathcart Elementary School librarian Robyn Tapia, 30 years, who made reading events at the library and held engaging book fairs.
• Centennial Middle School music teacher Linda Pilcher, 41 years, who made sure to keep students in beat.
• AIM High School teacher Sally Singh, 30-plus years, who developed an art program at the alternative high school that included glass work.
• Glacier Peak High School art teacher Cathy Tanasse, 35 years, who taught at Valley View and had a sojourn teaching in China. She joined Glacier Peak when it opened in 2008. Recognized with state honors, Tanasse also ran the district’s Night of the Arts for 20 years.
• Glacier Peak High School custodian Tom Couture, 27 years: The mustachioed man had a “significant and influential” role for students.
• District courier Todd Hammons, 10 years, who was diligent and efficient with handling materials and clearing surplus out of district warehouses.
• District operations guru Otis Wolfe, 18 years, a Snohomish High graduate who joined the school district after capping off a military career. He implemented the automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) program district-wide, and is the commander of the Snohomish Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 721.
Also retiring are Julie Blue, Stephanie Chlebowski, Kathleen Duke, Nancy Hasler, Matthew King, Jenny McFarland and Beth Williams.
School districts are in the midst of the “silver wave” of retirements as the youngest baby boomers are exiting the workforce. For educators who started teaching after 1979, some long-standing educators are eligible for full state retirement benefits at age 62; the tail-end boomers born around 1964 would have graduated high school in 1982 and will reach age 62 in 2024.
The state Public Educator Standards Board (PESB) estimates that of 65,000 K-12 educators, 9,000 to 11,000 will retire in the next five years, compounding an existing teacher shortage problem documented by the PESB.



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