After 33 years in the teaching profession with 29 years in Lake Stevens schools, Lake Stevens High School Associate Principal/CTE Director Dan Bushnell has decided to retire and with his extra time he plans to make the most out of being a grandfather.
“On my first day of retirement I plan to go camping in my back yard with my grandchildren. We are going to roast marshmallows and listen to the night sounds,” Bushnell said. “I really don’t care if they keep me awake or if it rains. I really don’t have to worry about going to work the next morning I can just take a nap.”
While Bushnell is home chopping timber and making furniture or working on small gas engines, two hobbies he enjoys, students at Lake Stevens High School will most likely feel that something is different about their school.
“Dan Bushnell has a huge heart for kids and served them with distinction for over 30 years. Dan had the unique ability to create connections with all kinds of kids. He would go out of his way everyday to make kids feel like Lake Stevens High School was the place to be,” Assistant Superintendent and past Lake Stevens High School Principal Ken Collins said. “Dan had a passion for Career and Technical Education and believed very strongly that the relevance of career oriented classes were the types of programs that really interested kids.”
Lake Stevens School District Superintendent Amy Beth Cook concurs, “Dan has been a very important part of our district for many years. His most recent work with our Career and Technical Education Programs (CTE), and the Project Lead the Way program, brought a number of very valuable pre-engineering courses to our district that will have a lasting impact. We will miss Dan a great deal and will even miss his corny jokes that he is so well known for.”
Bushnell too, will be missing the students he has taught for over three decades but looks forward to hearing how each of them are progressing in life.
“I loved working with the wonderful parents and their children of Lake Stevens. My most rewarding experience is hearing back from students who were having trouble when they finally straighten out their lives. I have learned as an adult we need to stand firm on the truth. We need to hold on to what is best for the kids even when they don’t like it. Eventually they grow up and realize that the adults really were right and then they become adults and must do the same thing,” he said.
Ensuring that teachers and parents continue to love their kids even when they don’t like you has always been a top priority for Bushnell.
“I have learned that the few kids that seem to have an attitude or seem to have a rebellious spirit are the kids that need the most loving. Don’t be intimidated! Just show respect, get close, chat and do things. Most of the time these kids are just trying to cut out a niche for THEIR lives. Many times it has nothing to do with their parents. As adults of Lake Stevens we need to be of one voice for our kids and once again they will come around,” Bushnell said.
He also recognizes that most of the students at LSHS are great kids.
“I also love working with the kids who just want to be good and honor their parents. By far we have more of these kids then others,” he explained. “Just the other day I watched a student named Lorin Vandergrift leaving after a long day at school. He was heading home first before going back to North Lake to help a group of younger basketball kids. He noticed that Mr. Chaffee was having difficulty setting up the audio video system for the track awards program that would take place that night. Lorin stayed for over an hour to make sure the system worked for Mr. Chaffee. He left his phone number as he headed out to help the younger kids at North Lake.
This kind of thing happens all the time! We have great kids in Lake Stevens! This is a direct reflection on our parents and the community!”
Bushnell hopes to be able to continue teaching through the District’s Community Education program and volunteering at Cavelero Mid High School in the Introduction to Engineering Design class all while helping two students at Triple Strand school, where his wife of 33 years Joan teaches, who are having difficulty in math.
His retirement “to do” list goes on and on including writing a book for his grandchildren regarding his life experiences.
“I plan to map out every hour of every day in order to get the most out of my last 20 years,” Bushnell said. “I already use this same system every summer and I have found I can really get things done!”