Photo Courtesy K.C. Johnson - Recently appointed Raymond Superintendent of schools K.C. Johnson and his wife Kristeen.
South Bend native K.C. Johnson is the new Raymond School District Superintendent of Schools. Johnson takes over for Kathy Tully, who served as interim superintendent for the past few months.
Johnson said he was born in South Bend in 1965 to Gary and Christy (Briney) Johnson. He lived in Raymond until 1979. "Dad was the high school counselor and coached football and basketball, and he was the offensive coordinator for the '73, '74 and '75 (RHS) state championship football teams, and I was lucky enough to be one of the ball boys at eight, nine, and 10-years-old," Johnson said. "Thought I would be a Raymond Seagull, but moved to Toledo, Washington, and graduated from Toledo in 1984."
Johnson played football at Western Washington University and then transferred to Central Washington University where he graduated in 1989. Johnson started teaching and coaching (33 years experience) and went to the University of Oregon to get his masters degree in curriculum and instructional leadership and supervision during the summer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1992.
Johnson said he "spent one year at Vader and coached in Kelso, then spent four years in Toutle Lake, two years in Zillah, four years in Ilwaco, one year at Shorecrest, and then the last 21 years at Adna."
Johnson has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and has coached football, basketball and baseball. He spent 11 years as an athletic director, seven years as a Dean of Students. Johnson won a state baseball championship at Toutle Lake in 1992, and a state football championship at Adna in 2009. He and his wife, Kristeen, will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary August 12. They have two children, Lizzie, 26, and A.J., 23. Johnson said he enjoys fishing and golfing in his spare time and "looks forward to getting a chance to do those things again."
Johnson took the helm as RSD Superintendent July 1. Johnson fielded several questions from the Herald. Below is Part I of Johnson's interview.
Herald: Why did you ultimately take the position at Raymond School District?
Johnson: I came home to take the superintendent job in Raymond because I love Raymond. I knew the district had been through some tough times lately, and I wanted to come home and help the district. Family also played a big role in my decision. My parents still live in South Bend. My brother and his family moved back a few years ago, and my aunts and uncles live here. I knew this would be a big career change for me, but after 33 years, it would also be an opportunity to do something different to end my career. The thought of coming full circle was too much to pass up.
Herald: Who helped you decide to take the position?
Johnson: Mike Tully (RHS Athletic Director) was the first person to reach out to me about the idea of me coming home. He felt the community and school might be excited to have a Raymond kid come home and take the job. I reached out to seven superintendents whom I have great relationships with, and they all thought I would excel and was a great candidate with the skill set I had developed in my career.
Herald: How did your transition period progress under the guidance of interim-superintendent Kathy Tully? How helpful was she?
Johnson:Kathy Tully is amazing! I knew Kathy in the past and had worked with her in Lewis County on the "5 for Life" Fitness Grant. She stepped up big time to help the district this spring, and was and is a huge help to me on a daily basis when needed. Kathy also loves this community and she saved the day by taking the job. I can only hope to continue the great work she was doing.
Herald: Do you believe your sports background will be an asset to being a superintendent?
Johnson:I truly believe that the role of athletic/activities director and being a head coach has given me the skill set to be a successful superintendent. In those roles, you are dealing with community, families, parents, kids, teachers, etcetera, on a daily basis. I know of three other excellent ADs/coaches who have also made the move to superintendents. They all wanted to see me make the same move. Leaving Adna and the role I played for 21 years was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I know it was the right choice for me.
Herald: Why do you think you can relate to today's students?
Johnson: I think I can relate to today's students because I worked on a daily basis with kids my entire career. I love kids and I hope every student in Raymond will know who I am and that I have their back on a daily basis. I want every kid in Raymond to get the best education they can and love their time as Seagull.
Herald: The recent times have been somewhat difficult at RSD. What do you propose to do to get things going in the right direction in terms of camaraderie and restoring more school pride?
Johnson: I have a lot to learn about the role of Superintendent, but I know my biggest strength has always been building relationships, teams, and community pride. I know that with honesty comes trust, and then being a great communicator is the other key piece. Those three things are the foundation to success. I want Raymond to be one big family.
Herald: What do you believe will be the most difficult aspect of being in charge of a school district?
Johnson:The most difficult part of this job for me will be learning all the ins and outs of the job. It's a huge and quite humbling experience. I went from a job where I was the guy that knew all the rules and ins and outs of the position at the local, league and state levels, to a job where it's constant learning.
The goal is to get everyone on the same page and pull the boat in the same direction. The past is in the past and the future is ours. I have two mottos I want people to live by. "All Positive, All the Time'', and "The Next Day is the Most Important Day" . We have to stay positive and have each other's back on a daily basis. Everyone has good and bad days, but the key is to come to work everyday ready to grind for our kids, each other and the community.
Note: Part II will be published in next week's Herald.