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Everett School District spotlights retirees with 40+ years and rich school histories

Everett Public School’s annual retirement celebration honored 61 retirees at a virtual event on May 27, 2021. Three retirees have four or more decades of service with the district: Kirk Nicholson, Jackson High School; Charlene Osborn, Emerson Elementary School; and Joan Weiss, Heatherwood Middle School.

From an Everett Public Schools press release.

Everett Public School’s annual retirement celebration honored its retirees at a virtual event on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

Each of the 61 individuals has been invaluable to the district’s team and this is a time to step back and appreciate their contributions, as well as celebrate their adventures ahead.

Three of our retirees have four or more decades of service with the district, and each of them grew up attending Everett Public Schools, spending their careers investing in our community: Kirk Nicholson, Jackson High School; Charlene Osborn, Emerson Elementary School; and Joan Weiss, Heatherwood Middle School.

“I want to thank all of our retirees for their service to Everett Public Schools, especially to Charlene, Kirk, and Joan for dedicating four decades educating and serving our students,” said Superintendent Ian Saltzman. 

He went on to say, “I find it incredible that all three grew up here and spent their entire careers making a mark in our community and in the lives of countless students. They will each be sorely missed. Congratulations to all our retirees and best wishes on your next adventures!”

Kirk Nicholson, campus security and head baseball coach: Jackson High School

Kirk Nicholson was campus security and head baseball coach at Jackson High School.

Kirk Nicholson. Photo courtesy of Everett Public Schools.

Kirk Nicholson was educated in Everett Public Schools, attending Madison Elementary, Evergreen Middle, and graduating from Cascade High School.

The only year he wasn’t connected to EPS was the year he went to Washington State University and was injured playing football. Since then, he has coached many sports at several schools in the district, earning the nickname, “Coach Nic.” He has been with Everett Public Schools for 40 years.

In his first year, Nicholson coached football at North Middle School, then spent the next five years coaching football and boys’ and girls’ basketball at Evergreen Middle School before moving up to high school where he coached junior varsity baseball at Everett High. In 1991, he was part of the coaching staff at Cascade High School when they won the state title for football.

When Jackson High School (JHS) opened in 1994, Nicholson started coaching football and baseball. In fact, Coach Nic has been the only head baseball coach that Jackson has ever had. In 2006, he led the team to a 27-0 undefeated season and the state title.

In addition to being a coach, Nicholson was hired in 1999 as a campus security officer at Jackson. Part of working security allowed him to work for all elementary schools while they performed at Civic Auditorium, which he really enjoyed. 

Michelle Renee, assistant principal at JHS, said, “One of the best compliments a coach or educator can have is having their former students come back to visit and even involve themselves in a school program. This is the kind of culture Coach Nic has cultivated in his years at Jackson and within the Everett School District.”

Nicholson said he has had a, “... great life and does not plan to stop being involved with Everett Public Schools after retirement. EPS has been good to me as a person. They took care of me this past year.” He has a lot of fond memories and plans to stay in shape in retirement, have fun and enjoy living the rest of his life.

Charlene Osborn, special education resource room teacher: Emerson Elementary

Osborn was a special education teacher at Silver Lake Elementary School and then Emerson Elementary School.

Charlene Osborn. Photo courtesy of Everett Public Schools.

Charlene Osborn is retiring after 41 years with Everett Public Schools. Not only did she spend her entire career dedicated to students, but she also attended Silver Lake and Emerson elementary schools and graduated from Cascade High School (CHS). Her children also attended Silver Lake, Eisenhower, and graduated from CHS.

Osborn started her involvement in the schools by volunteering at Silver Lake Elementary as the PTA president and then began her career working at Eisenhower, Madison and Silver Firs as a paraeducator. She feels very fortunate to have been one of the first teachers to benefit from I-928 funding in 2001, which paid tuition for paraeducators to attend school to become special education teachers.

She is very grateful to the district for allowing her to participate in the plan and said, “I would probably not be a teacher if Sue Dedrick, the special education director at the time, did not advocate for the funds to be used in that way.”

Osborn has been a special education teacher at Silver Lake and then Emerson ever since. Blythe Young, principal at Emerson Elementary, describes Charlene as a quiet leader.

Young commented, “Charlene’s legacy is one that is devoted to young learners. Her kind and loving spirit guides students to become the best they can be.”

She also noted, “Her gentle and experienced leadership has ensured Emerson is intentional and focused on ensuring equity and access for all.” 

Osborn looks forward to spending time with her grandkids and volunteering, but said, “It’s been hard getting used to the idea of retiring and not being here next year with my kids.”

Joan Weiss, Heatherwood Middle School

Joan Weise taught lifetime fitness and coached volleyball at Heatherwood Middle School.

Joan Weiss. Photo courtesy of Everett Public Schools.

Joan Weiss also grew up in Everett and attended Everett Public Schools. She went to Longfellow Elementary for Kindergarten and first grade and then Washington Elementary, North Middle School, and Everett High School.

Joan was quite the student-athlete and was asked by Harlan Jackson, the PE teacher, to join the boys’ cross-country team and she did. Although she faced discrimination at some meets for being female, she thought, “It was really fun and wonderful opportunity to improve as a miler for Everett High’s track team.”

Weiss began her EPS career in 1980 as a substitute teacher and a track and cross-country coach at Eisenhower Middle School. In 1982, in addition to continuing to substitute and coach track and cross country, she began coaching volleyball at Eisenhower.

Then in 1995, Weiss was hired to teach physical education at Eisenhower. She also offered a lunch program for kids to come into the gym and use some of the equipment.

In 1997, Weiss transferred to Heatherwood Middle School to teach Lifetime Fitness. She also coached cross country until 2020, track and field until 2015, and volleyball until 2018 at Heatherwood. Laura Wellington, principal at Heatherwood, said Joan has a “positive attitude and an unselfish gratitude.”

Weiss was instrumental in starting a program to teach CPR and First Aid to all district coaches This responsibility expanded to teaching CPR and First Aid to include any staff member who needed training.

One of her colleagues said, “Thank you for taking the time to listen, encourage and share your enthusiasm for teaching, not only with your students, but truly with your colleagues. You made a real difference in the lives of your students that you taught, and you coached.”

Weiss is looking forward to spending time with her 90-year old dad. She hopes to travel, spend time with her dog Pixie Lou, and become a real snowbird living half the year in Washington and half in Arizona. She will miss her ‘kids’ the most as she considers them family.

When asked if she has kids, she typically replies, “Yep, about 221 of them.”