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Posts Tagged ‘Steve King’

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King, modern day. 

Heated rival to ardent supporter — Steve King has taken the complete journey when it comes to Wolf athletics.

These days, he’s Superintendent of the Coupeville School District, a position he’s held since 2018, and he’s often front and center when various CHS and CMS teams play.

But, back in the day, the 1987 Friday Harbor High School grad was a deeply-committed Wolverine, a young man who played four years of football, basketball, and golf for one of Coupeville’s biggest rivals.

The two schools reunited in the Northwest 2B/1B League this school year, with Coupeville’s move from 1A to 2B, bringing back memories of when King was in high school.

Back in the mid to late ’80s, the Wolves and Wolverines were also league mates, and regularly clashed.

Little did anyone know that Friday Harbor’s quarterback would one day be employed by Coupeville, and that the football coach on the other side of the field would still be a CHS teacher when it first happened.

“We always played them in football and basketball, so I got to know them well,” King said. “When I first came to Coupeville as superintendent, I met Ron Bagby, and we both figured out that he had coached against me.

“I think he remembered me, and I remembered him as the young Coupeville coach that always wore shorts no matter what the weather was,” he added.

“I think I thought he was a little crazy. Ha!”

Bagby is not the only ’80s Wolf King has reconnected with, however.

“I know multiple parents and community members who I competed against in high school,” King said. “Including one of our staff members, (Maintenance/Transportation Director) Scott Losey.”

None made as big an impact as the guy he routinely squared off with on the gridiron and hardwood.

“The one Coupeville athlete that always stood out for me was Mitch Aparicio,” King said. “I don’t think he and I liked each other very much while we were in high school.

“He was the star running back and linebacker for Coupeville, and he always seemed to guard me in basketball,” he added. “I hate to admit this, but I kind of found him annoying and a little cocky when we were in high school.

“But I think he kind of thought the same thing about me.”

Given a second chance to interact, however, the two quickly found common ground.

“When I first came to Coupeville, we played golf together and had a lot of fun and good laughs sharing memories from high school,” King said. “Interesting how old rivals from different schools can actually end up being friends who have a lot in common.”

In a time before cell phones swept the nation, the superintendent, like most children his age, spent much of his time outdoors, bouncing from season to season.

Just don’t ask him to single out one sport as his favorite.

“That is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child,” King said with a laugh. “I loved them all for different reasons.

“As a very young child my dad was the scorekeeper for basketball, so I played basketball all the time,” he added. “When I was about 10, I lived on the golf course and got my first set of golf clubs and became an avid golfer. In high school, I fell in love with playing football.

“During high school my favorite sport was always the one I was currently playing.”

King had great success as a prep athlete, long hours of effort turning into achievement.

While time has gone by, the memories never fade, from the time he poured in 31 points against Darrington during a basketball game his junior season, to his final moments in each uniform.

The hardwood scoring explosion, which came before the addition of the three-point line, was eerily unique in many ways.

King wore #31, it was his 31st varsity game, the contest was played January 31, and it was the 31st time a Friday Harbor hoops player had cracked the 30-point barrier.

Back in his days as a sweet-shooting basketball star.

His final basketball game actually came on Coupeville’s court, a district tournament loss when a victory would have sent Friday Harbor to the state tourney.

“I had one of the worst games of my career in that final game in the Coupeville gym,” King said. “I took my uniform off for the last time in that locker room and there were many tears shed.

“I love walking into that gym now, but in 1987, I did not view it as a very positive place.”

A far happier memory is of his final football game, a win against Orcas Island.

“We were not going to the playoffs, but it was nice to finish my career with a win on our home field,” King said. “I remember celebrating with all of my teammates, and then how sad we all were as we took off those uniforms for the last time.

“I remember celebrating with teammates that I would never have been friends with if I was not involved with sports,” he said. “Sports, and especially football for me, taught me to accept and be friends with people who were very different from me.”

The lessons he learned as a high school athlete helped shape King in the moment, but even more so as he went on to pursue a career in education, as a teacher, coach, and administrator.

“Playing sports had such a big impact on my character development,” he said. “While I always wanted to win, I can look back now and say I always learned more through adversity and losing.

“Sports certainly helped me grow up and gave me purpose while I was in high school.”

Learning to show leadership in the huddle helped King as he chased non-sports dreams, as well.

“It helped give me the confidence and courage to commit my life to education while being both a positive leader and a good teammate,” he said.

“The other two things that come to mind is how sports gave me a strong work ethic and the ability to deal with adversity,” King added.

“Things don’t always go your way in sports, and it was good for me to learn at an early age to give my best and still be able to gracefully deal with the results even when they do not go my way.”

Those lessons were imparted by numerous coaches, with two, Ken Axelson and Burrell Osbourne, making a special impact on King’s life.

Axelson, who coached football, lit a spark in his young QB, both on and off the field.

“Coach Axelson and his wife, Mrs. (Diane) Axelson, were the two staff members who convinced me to pursue a career in education,” King said.

“Coach Axelson not only influenced me in high school, but also throughout my life as he became a high school principal, and later a superintendent. I sort of followed in his footsteps and he has provided me support and mentorship at various points in my life.”

Osbourne was King’s mentor on the golf course, with the duo coming together early in the young athlete’s life.

Burrell was a retired golfer in his 60’s and 70’s and he was actually one of my best friends growing up,” King said. “I often golfed 18 or 36 holes per day with him during the summer when I was in elementary and middle school. I loved him so much!

“I got to play on the golf team with him as coach for four years and I have great memories of many laughs and times together.

“Sadly, Burrell tragically died in a plane crash the year after I graduated from high school. I will never forget him.”

Ready for a round (or two, or three) of golf.

King followed both of his mentors into coaching, working with numerous programs in the Mount Baker school district during his time as a teacher.

He was girls golf coach for five seasons, leading the Mountaineer duffers to a state title in 2001, while also working with basketball, football, and baseball teams.

While he’s no longer coaching — being a superintendent, especially during the Age of Coronavirus, is a time-consuming profession — King remains an ardent supporter of the athletes and coaches in his district.

CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith, working with the support of King and other administrators, has been at the forefront of restarting athletics after the pandemic shutdown.

“I am sorry that so many of our students had to sacrifice so much of their sports seasons the last two years due to COVID,” King said. “They have sacrificed so much and I don’t think there is any way we can repay them.

“I am glad we are finally getting some athletic opportunities for our students this spring.”

In good times or bad, King hopes his students always realize the opportunities sports and activities offer, and that they take advantage.

“My advice, get off your devices and get active,” he said. “Be committed to your team before yourself.

“I hope that everyone will realize that 51% of our job is to make our teammates successful and 49% of our job is to make yourself successful,” King added. “Compete with all you have, and then do your best to gracefully accept the results.

“I hope that you are grateful for your coaches, teammates, referees, bus drivers, family members, etc., who support you.”

Whether you’re a superstar or role player, playing sports, especially at the middle and high school level, can positively affect every part of your life.

King would hold himself up as proof of that.

“Being involved and participating is a major part of a student’s overall well-being, growth, and development,” he said. “Also, students who participate always tend to have more academic success as well.

“There is really only one time in your life when you can participate in organized sports, so I hope our students will take advantage of it,” King added. “They can not only build character, but they gain friendships, resilience and overall health through participation as well.”

Looking back at his own high school sports career, three decades later, King has the benefit of time to help shape his perspective.

How does he hope Friday Harbor fans (and his one-time rivals) remember him?

“As someone who absolutely loved to compete and have fun,” King said.

“I think when I was in high school, I wanted everyone to think I was really talented,” he added. “Now, I hope they remember some positive qualities, such as being a hard worker, dedicated, a good teammate, being inspirational, and always giving it my best.

“I hope they remember my positive passion.”

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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

Things are chugging along on schedule.

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King announced Wednesday that the district plans to bring back its high school students to a hybrid in-person learning model beginning Monday, March 15.

That decision covers grade 9-12 and will give all Coupeville students a chance to resume some form of education back inside school buildings.

CHS students follow on the heels of kindergarteners and special needs students, who returned in mid-January.

The Coupeville Elementary School followed in February, and middle school students begin March 8.

Parents are allowed to choose that their students remain in online schooling this school year, however, and it’s been reported that 30% of CMS students will go that route.

Under the hybrid plan, which was approved 4-1 by the Coupeville School Board, middle and high school students, who share a campus, will have distance learning from 8-10:30 AM.

Two days a week, half of each school’s student body will attend the school from 11:30-2, where they will remain in the same classroom with the same teacher.

Decisions to resume in-person schooling have come after frequent consultation with the Island County Public Health Department.

As students return, work continues, King said in his statement.

The district is waiting for guidance from state officials before planning the 2021 CHS graduation.

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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

They’re staying on schedule.

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King announced Wednesday that the district plans to bring back students in grades 6-8 for hybrid in-person education starting March 8.

With grades K-5 already having returned, that leaves high school students as the final group to be given the chance to leave online learning.

Current plans call for grades 9-12 to return March 15.

A decision on whether that will happen will be made March 3, King said.

“Over the past month, we successfully and safely added in-person learning at Coupeville Elementary School,” King said. “We are able to achieve everything on page seven of the K-12 Metrics & Toolkit and we have no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 occurring in our schools.

“While in-person school looks very different from how school operated prior to COVID, we are excited to share this good news for our students, staff, and families.”

Coupeville’s reopening plan, which was crafted with the help of Island County Public Health, was approved by the school board January 11.

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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

The return to semi-normal continues.

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King announced Wednesday that the district will meet the next step in its COVID-19 reopening plan.

That means children in grades 3-5 will join hybrid in-person learning Monday, February 22.

Grades K-2 had earlier returned to Coupeville Elementary, while the town’s middle and high school students are next on the list.

Target dates for a return to in-person education at CMS (grades 6-8) and CHS (9-12) are currently Mar. 8 and 15, respectively.

When grades 3-5 return, the schedule which awaits is:

8:45 to 9:00 — CES doors open to students for health screening and entry
9:00 to 11:30 — In-Person classes for Group A
11:30 to 12:45 — Teacher lunch and planning; room sanitization
12:45 to 1:00 — CES doors open to students for health screening and entry
1:00 to 3:30 — In-Person classes for Group B

“While in-person school looks very different from how school operated prior to COVID, we are excited to share this good news for our students, staff, and families,” King said.

The reopening plan, which was created in conjunction with Island County Public Health, was approved Jan. 11 in a 4-1 vote by the Coupeville School Board.

A weekly data sheet created by ICPH places Coupeville currently at “moderate risk,” with all data either flat or decreasing.

“We have had a very positive and successful beginning for our K-2 students who have begun in our Elementary Hybrid model,” King said. “We have no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 occurring in our schools.

“Please know that we will continue cautiously phasing in our students to in-person learning.”

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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

Return your wallet to your pocket.

With the full support of school board members, Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King announced Friday all ASB card and Pay-to-Play fees will be waived for the 2020-2021 school year.

In addition, the district intends to refund fees from the 19-20 spring season, which was cancelled due to COVID shutdowns.

As Coupeville schools chart a way to return to holding athletics and activities during the pandemic, King wanted to offer students and parents a thank you for their patience and perseverance.

The current plan, if our region advances to Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee’s latest reopening plan, calls for Northwest 2B/1B League schools to begin spring sports February 22.

A condensed six-week season will run through April 3.

Fall sports will follow from March 29 to May 8, with basketball closing the school year May 3 to June 12.

Along with sports, many activities are planned to return, with plans still being finalized.

If CHS and CMS students get to participate, everything will be free this school year.

“We don’t believe that students and families should have to pay these fees for limited athletic seasons and activity opportunities,” King said. “(Also), many families in our community have faced financial hardship during this pandemic.”

He also pointed to “it being safer to not have families in and out of our schools paying fees,” and that “it is possible that seasons or games may be cancelled due to COVID-19.”

“The district has a cost savings because we have not have athletics or activities since March, 2020, so we are passing this savings back to our families,” King said.

“Our students and families have already sacrificed enough, as they have lost many opportunities to participate in the athletics and activities.”

The schools will contact affected families in the next few weeks to arrange refunds for last spring.

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