Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


Home Grown Teachers


November 27, 2012

Andy Marks - Social Studies

“There is always something else out there to be learned. Whether that is trying new foods or trying different ideas, I want my students to be lifelong learners,” explained Mr. Marks of Lake Stevens High School. He described that it is important to him that his students learn to try new things so they can constantly be learning.

Andy Marks attended Lake Stevens Schools for his entire school career. For elementary school he went to both Hillcrest and Mt. Pilchuck Elementary and then continued onto Lake Stevens Middle School. He graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 1981 where his class was the second to graduate from the new High School. When asked if he had any favorite teachers while in Lake Stevens Schools, he said Mr. McKinney, Mrs. Waite, Mr. Erickson and Mr. Uncles were some of his favorites.

After graduation, Marks went on to study at Washington State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in physical education. His original plan was not to go into education, but physical therapy. Marks worked in the field for a short time before realizing that he wanted to work with kids and was steered into education. He received his teaching certificate from Washington State University and began substituting and coaching at Lake Stevens Middle School and Lake Stevens High School. His first full time teaching position was at North Lake Middle School where he taught physical education and social studies.

Marks is now teaching 10th grade social studies at Lake Stevens High School and is in his 20th year teaching. He enjoys working with the teachers that he had while he was in High School such as Rodger Anderson, Anne Waite and John Unckles, “I admire their dedication,” shared Marks. He explained that they are great to work with and he appreciates that they are consistent with their teaching.

After Marks started working at North Lake, he was introduced to his wife who is also a teacher at Lake Stevens High School. They have been married for 16 years and have two daughters.

Amy (Reisinger) Wiklund, Guidance Counselor

When Amy (Reisinger) Wiklund was a senior at Lake Stevens High School, her volleyball team made it to the state tournament and 23 years later her team did it again, only this time she was the coach. This volleyball season, was the first time since she was in High School that the team made it to the state championship, and it is very fitting since this was her last season as head coach.

Wiklund graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 1994. When asked if she had any favorite teachers, she listed Mr. Anderson, Mr. Palmer, and Mr. McKinney among her favorite. After High School, Wiklund went on to study psychology at Western Washington University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1999 and was offered a position coaching volleyball at Jackson High School. She also began working at the alternative Middle School in Lake Stevens as a Para-educator. She realized that although teaching wasn’t the right career for her, she loved the school atmosphere and wanted to be working with kids. She found her niche in counseling when she began working with Jim Willie and went back to school and received her master’s degree in guidance counseling from City University.

This year is Wicklund’s eighth year as a guidance counselor at Lake Stevens High School but she has been working in the district for 14 years. She originally didn’t think she would be a counselor, let alone working in her former High School, but she couldn’t be happier where she is. Her favorite aspect of her position is that it is constantly changing. “Every day is different, that’s why I really like this job,” described Wiklund.

Being a guidance counselor and a coach, Wiklund has the ability to help many students at the High School. The one part of her job that she enjoys the most is being able to see her students finish what they have been working for their entire lives. “I love to see kids get to the end. The best thing about being in the High School part of counseling is that you get to see kids fight through High School and get to a point where they graduate and have plans for the future,” explained Wiklund.

Andy Knutson, Coach

Not only does team and academic success take hard working and dedicated students, it takes devoted coaches and teachers to help students learn how to hone in on their craft. Andy Knutson is one such individual at Lake Stevens High School who is a prime example of a coach and teacher who is committed to the success of the students on his teams and in his classes.

Knutson started his teaching career in 1994 at Lake Stevens Middle School. He taught there for six years before moving to Lake Stevens High School where he now teaches various math classes and a math construction course. He shared that his favorite aspect of working in the Lake Stevens School District is that every teacher is committed to helping their students, “It is obvious that everyone is professional and that everyone is trying to do the best they can for kids,” Knutson described.

Knutson attended Lake Schools from kindergarten to 12th grade and explained how his time in the district was very positive and this experience made him want to share that with other students. He also described that one of his teachers, Kevin Thomas, heavily influenced his decision to become an educator. “He is probably the reason why I am teaching today,” said Knutson. He reflected that Thomas had high expectations but always had a great sense of humor and formed great relationships with his students.

Knutson graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 1989. After High School, he attended Western Washington University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics education. He then received his master’s degree in physical education from Eastern Washington University and also has a teaching endorsement in math from Seattle Pacific University.

When asked what his favorite part of teaching is, he simply responded that forming lasting relationships with the students and just working with kids in general is what he loves about his career. He didn’t have a plan to come back to Lake Stevens to teach but is glad that this is where he was hired. “Looking back I’m glad I got this one because this place is wonderful,” Knutson shared.

Jason Pearson, Athletic Director &

Associate Principal

When you meet Jason Pearson it is clear that he is passionate about Lake Schools and the students that attend them. His enthusiasm knows no bounds whether he is walking up and down the halls of Lake Stevens High School making sure the day is running smoothly or overseeing one of the many sporting events that are held at the High School.

Pearson started attending Lake Stevens Schools when he was in kindergarten. He went to Sunnycrest Elementary, Lake Stevens Middle School and Lake Stevens High School where he graduated in 1990. During his time in school, he identified Rodger Anderson and Kevin Thomas as two of his favorite teachers. He explained that it was always fun to be in their classes and that it didn’t feel like they were doing work because they were having fun learning.

After he graduated from Lake Stevens, Pearson went on to Washington State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history and English. He also received his master’s degree in education from Antioch University and his administration certificate from City University.

When asked if there was any teacher who had an impact on his decision to teach he explained that his parents were his biggest influences. His dad taught band class at Lake Stevens Middle School and his mother is a para-educator at Mt. Pilchuck Elementary. “Hearing them talk when we were having dinner about how much fun they had doing what they do, that was the biggest influence,” recalled Pearson.

Interacting with students in the school is Pearson’s favorite aspect of working in the Lake Stevens School District. “There are so many great kids in the building and in the district that are going to do all of these great things when they get older; it’s cool to see them now,” explained Pearson. He also said that he tries to teach students that they need to make their work fun and have a positive attitude or anything they do will become tedious and could wear them out.

Pearson is in his 15th year with the Lake Stevens School District. He began working as a social studies and English teacher at Lake Stevens Middle School. He then moved to Cavelero Mid-High when it opened and taught there for five years before moving to the High School this year. He is now the Athletic Director and an Associate Principal.


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