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Quad City Herald
Brewster, Washington
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June 27, 1996     Quad City Herald
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June 27, 1996
 

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Paaa 4 Juna 27 1996 Quad City Harald Gary Patt ,,rson retires from Pateros School- to- maybe tour in a Kenworth ; said. Whatever goes on outside the and kids and was "impressed with classroom,insietheclassroom"they .  Cheryl Schwiezer photo Gary Pstterson has given up his superintendent's pencil and desk for the Joys of retirement. Gary Patterson was a journeyman machinist, a good, lucrative career for a man with a wife and two small children. But he wanted something else. He wanted to be a grade school teacher. Patterson went back to school and obtained the necessary credentials; he left the machinist's trade and walked into the classroom. Patterson said it was not easy that first year. His monthly salary was half what he had made as a machinist. "'My lake home pay, the first month I taught, was $314." He taught night school and worked part-time in a gas station to supplement his teaching income. His first year was spent as a high school shop teacher, Patterson remembered--at that time, the last stop for incorrigible teenage boys. It was almost enough to send him back to the machinist's trade, he said. Then he got a chance to teach fifth grade. "I just enjoyed it immensely." That was 28 years ago; after a career as teacher, grade school principal and Pateros superintendent, Gary Patterson is retiring tomorrow. Patterson said he wanted to be a teacherbecause he wanted to influence childrens' lives. The move toprincipal. then to superintendent, was partly because in those jobs hecouldinfluence an entire school and an entire district. He said he liked the classroom and might have remained there forever but for the teacher of one of his summer school classes. The man sensed his potential as an administmtorand urged him to pursue principal's studies, a move supported by the principal and superintendent in Granger, where he was teaching. Patterson took the advice and became the elementary school principal in Cathlamet, a job he held 13 years. He said the principal's job made him ambitious to take the next step, "wanting to reach a little further than where I was." He started making the 80-mile round trip to Portland State University for the classes necessary to become a superintendent. He was hired as Pateros superintendent in 1987. A graduate of Wenatchee High School, he said he was attracted by the idea of returning to north central Washington. He remembered Pateros from his childhood; young Gary Patterson. his mother and brother camped at Alta Lake in the 1950s. "As we drove over here (for the job interview), 1 kept 5 Nights Fun & Sun Package S958 includes air L Transfers, 2 nights in San Jose, 3 nights beach hotel. Call for details what 1 found." He had a second job interview scheduled at another school: the Pateros School Board "offered me a contract if I wouldn'! go to that interview." Gary Patterson accepted that offer. "'It turned out to be a good decision for me." Each step up the ladder, he said, is different and presents different challenges. Teaching was very rewarding, but it was also "terribly draining, because from the moment you walked in the schoolhouse in the morning until the time you walked out in the evening, there wasn't a moment to yourself. Or even time with another adult." Principals and superintendents face other challenges, he said. They have to persuade teachers and parents in a school or in a whole district to work together for the best interests of the children. The superintendent's job, Patterson said, is "to enhance each person's contribution for the purpose of educating kids and get everybody going in the same direction, and then provide the resources to make them successful." Part of the job is working with the school board members and getting the board members to work with each other. A good superintendent always remembers one thing. "A successful superintendent needs to realize they are a public servant and the school system belongs to the public." He said he has enjoyed his nine years as Pateros superintendent. Sometimes it has been frustrating because district officials couldn't do all they wanted or needed to do for the kids, but "it has been fun." Public school superintendents are a perishable commodity in the 1990s--- nationwide, the average tenure for a superintendent is about two years. But Patterson said a revolving door at the top doesn't matter as much as it might because of the dedication of the teachers doing the day to day just keep rowing their boat." The state of Washington's accounting codes assume that administrators exist to support teachers. "If you couple that thought with the thought that it is a public school, not your school, you can weather some of this stuff." He said he he believes in public education because it is one of the few experiences shared by mostAmericans, and thus an important factor in promoting national unity. "The common school is that place where we all get together for a few years," he said. "The common school experience, 1 think, is a bond for society." If the nat ion los those common experiences, "I think we would be losing our ability to function as a republic." For that reason public schools should be divorced as much as possible from politics; the state has an interest in the schools but Patterson said he never thought schools should serve the political interests of the state. Their first duty is to their kids and community, he said. But some state officials and legislators proposechanges that serve their interests rather than those of the children. The extra rules and regulations handed down by the state and federal governments played a role in his decision to retire, he said. All the plans and polices and paperwork "are requiring more of me. And there just wasn't more of me to go around." He said he clropped his involvement in professional activities outside the district "'all as an effort to buy lime to meet my responsibilities in the district." Even that didn't buy enough time: Patterson said he had to decide "'which (jobs) I do well and which I lel slide. And that is just not me." Now "'it's time to gel on to what's next," Patterson said. He may take an interim superintendent's job forM year or two, but he 'also has m idea for a new business, and "'1 wouldn't mind touring the USA forM while in the cab of h Kenw6rth.'" I=ateros Bca'd meeting time changed The Pateros School Board has secretaryforboardmeelings.Johnson ' Brewster under the agreement. rescheduled its July 4 meeting to Tuesday, July 9; the public hearing on the 1996-97 budget will be held at 6 p.m., prior to the board meeting. In other business at the regular board meeting Thursday. June 20, Jeanne Johnson, the new district secretary, was appointed as recording replaces Kathy Barlow, who took a job as elementary school secretary and receptionist. Board members voted to renew a cooperative with the Brewster School District forpreschool education services. Certain preschool students living in Pateros attend classes in Superintendent Gary Patterson reported the district was still in the running form national Rural Challenge Grant, which could bring the district as much as $25,000. Pateros and five other schools are cooperating in the application. The grants will be awarded to nine such cooperatives in the nation. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE Needs Interested Parties To Construct And Lease A One-Story Facility To Serve As The Brewster, Washington 98812-9998 Main Post Office The Postal Service is looking forparties interested in con structing a one-story facility.of approximately 5,173 square feet on a controlled site of 48,689 and leasing to the Postal Service to serve as the Brewster Main Post Office. If a Solicitation package is desired, submit request with a non- refundable check or Postal money order for $50.00 per set made payable to: Disbursing Officer, USPS,referencing thesolicitation number 072976:96-A-0139 and mail to the attention of Pearl POTTY WAGON" Subdivisions Road Construction Septic Systems Tree Removals Homesite Preparation 689-2482 or 689-2455 eve. Carter Excavatl0n, Inc. Bridgeport interviewing six candidates for principal position Six candidates for Bridgeport High School principal will be interviewed by the school board members, administmtors, teachers, students and district patrons Saturday, June 29 from 10 a.m. to I p.m, at Bridgeport High School. The candidates are Deborah Startt, Title land special education director for the Easton School District; Ron Meyer, an alministrator for the Highland School District in lssaquah; Gary Hackney, vice-principal at Goldendale High School; Les Newvine, kindergarten through eighth grade principal at St. Edwards, a private school in Seattle; Jerry Pugh, a teacher and pn'ncipal intern at Tonasket High School and Grover Garvin, principal at Neah Bay High School. The six candidates will be interviewed by the various groups, rotating from room to room at 30 minute intervals, said district superintendent Robert Allen. The school board is expected to announce its choice in early July. In other business at the regular meeting of the Bridgeport School Board, board members agreed to a one-year extension of the contract between the district and the Bridgeport Education Association, the union representing teachers. This is the second year both parties have agreed to a year's extension. The board voted to increase the number of credits required for graduation from high school. Bridgeport High School students will be required to have 28 credits by 2000; currently the district requires 24. The changes will be phased in beginning with the incoming junior class. The board voted to form a cooperative with Mansfield for seventh and eighth grade sports. Previously board members had agreed to a cooperative for football only. Board members accepted the resignation of Alex Flores, Spanish teacher at Bridgeport High School. Flores has accepted a position at Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee. The board hired Bridgeport graduate Kristy Wells as a middle school teacher. Brewster school soccer program tabled following lengthy discussion The fate of the district's soccer program, scheduled to start in the 1996- 97 school year, was the subject of a lengthy discussion at the regular meeting of the Brewster School Board Monday, June 24. The board voted earlier this year to offer a girls program in the fall and a boys program in the spring. Outgoing district superintendent Mark Jacobsen (attending his last meeting) said the decision to offer soccer was based on a survey of the students, asking which sports they would participate in if they were offered. Soccer was first among boys and second among girls, Jacobsen said. However, there is no high school soccer league in north central Washington. The nearest league is centered in the Yakima valley, where Brewster would play a junior varsity schedule for the first year ................... , ...... Board chairman Larry Humborg said he could not support the. idea',of sending kids to Yakima and points south on a school night. In additi0, athletic director Brooks Smith said two more teams in the spring aiid fhll may strain the district's existing facilities past their capacity. Smith sai d he had sent an inquiry to athletic directors from seven schoois in north central Washington, asking about forming a northern league. He had received no replies, he said. Brewster would enter the southern league on a schedule made out before the 1995-96 school year, restricting the district to a JV schedule. 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