Granite Falls School District prepares for new school year with great vigor
The Granite Falls School District welcomes Karen Koschak at its helm since the retirement of Joel Thaut, who served as superintendent for the past six years.
Koschak is well suited for the position of superintendent, having been a teacher in Marysville for 16 years, a principal and on the administrative staff for the Edmonds School District, and even a Superintendent for the Aberdeen School District in the mid 1990’s to 2001.
Koschak moved to Mexico with her husband after retiring as Superintendent for the Aberdeen School District to fulfill a dream they had of volunteering and helping others.
“My husband and I, we both retired and we were ready for change, and we were ready for some adventure,” Koschak said.
They were looking for something similar to a Peace Corps, but wanted to do something on their own in a rural area of Mexico, close enough to the states to still visit their four children.
“We wanted to do some of the giving back to society that we missed out on,” she said. “Our version of a Peace Corps.”
Having found the right place, Koschak began her work teaching again in a classroom.
However, after some health issues with her husband, they moved back to Washington after five years in Mexico.
“Not being one to sit around and sit still, I started checking on some of the local schools, and to search for some other opportunities,” Koschak said.
Koschak stated that she was first looking for a school based position and not an administrative position because she loved the interaction that she had while teaching in Mexico in a schoolhouse.
After some searching, she found a position in the Seattle school system as a high school literary coach.
“My job was to work with the teachers and work in the classrooms to develop the literacy, the reading and writing strand for them.”
Due to her experience, Koschak was moved to the central office to develop secondary literary strands for the schools.
“I found myself ready to move back into administration,” she commented.
Koschak went on to say that she didn’t want to be in a large school district, but would rather be in a smaller district where she could still oversee the day-to-day instructional support.
“Seattle is far too large, you’re involved in the planning, but you’re not out involved in the building,” she said.
When it came to Granite Falls, Koschak said it was perfect, similar in size to Aberdeen; maybe a little smaller she commented, but her experience and what Granite Falls was looking for was a match.
“Both of them, I would like to say, are small in size but big on pride,” Koschak said of the two districts.
Conversely, before she came onboard, Koschak looked at the Granite Falls School District and its community.
Interviewing teachers and staff, and meeting with the Mayor of Granite Falls, her plans were going to involve not only the schools, teachers, parents and students, but the entire community to achieve the success everyone in the community was wanting for the kids in Granite Falls.
“I looked at the brochure that Granite Falls had, and it looked like they had done a nice job in the past. They made great strides in facilities, they had built a new high school, their operations were in good shape, they had just passed a four-year levy, but they were looking for somebody to help them develop a plan to increase student achievement,” she said.
Koschak said this year’s goal is to meet with the community, school teachers and businesses, to come up with a five-year plan.
This plan would involve preparing students to move from grade level to grade level, and finally preparing them for their choice of either entering the workforce, or continuing their education in any college in the state.