LAKE STEVENS — Dozens of teachers and soon-to-be teachers have learned from and looked up to Kathy Hahn.
She started the careers in education program at Lake Stevens High School in 2002. She’s taught that class along with early childhood development, food and fitness, and living on your own.
“I have probably 100 kids who have become teachers,” Hahn said. “They give back to their communities the way I’ve tried to give back to Lake Stevens.”
Hahn is retiring after 40 years of teaching, 32 of those in Lake Stevens. She also has coached volleyball, advised the senior class and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club, and raised two children who went to Lake Stevens schools.
Hahn, 63, loves mentoring students who aim to become teachers. She worked with Everett Community College so students could get college credit. She developed a strong FCCLA program, as well. Students in that club have gone on to be officers and award-winners at the state and national level.
Her goal has been to help students find their passion and see their potential, she said.
“There are a lot of choices for kids and they’re pulled in so many directions,” Hahn said. “Everyone wants that true leader of a student, but a lot of students can really rise to the occasion and maybe it’s not the student who is in leadership class.”
Though she’s retiring from Lake Stevens, she isn’t done. She’ll start a new job in October, working with student teachers from Washington State University as they are placed in schools, including in Snohomish County.
It looks like one of her first WSU student teachers will be a Lake Stevens graduate who took careers in education.
“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Hahn said.
Her husband, Mike Hahn, teaches at Granite Falls High School. They have two adult children, Ashley and Derek.
Kathy Hahn grew up in Fruitland, in Eastern Washington. Her graduating class had 12 students. Her parents owned a dairy farm, and she milked the cows. She learned early on that dedication and hard work pay off, she said.
She thought of going to pharmacy school. Her high school counselor persuaded her to consider teaching. Her grandmother had been a teacher and her mom was studying to become one when she met Hahn’s dad.
Hahn has been recognized multiple times as a stand-out educator. The Washington Association of Career and Technical Education named her teacher of the year in 2016.
Jacob Anderson, who graduated in 2017, took two classes and an independent study program with Hahn and was state president for FCCLA. He just finished his associate’s degree and is headed to University of Washington Bothell to study computer science. Hahn helped him build connections and gain real-world experience, he said.
“It just always felt like she had a hand in everything that made Lake Stevens High School awesome and fun,” Anderson said. “You name it, she was involved in it.”
Hahn went earlier this month to the FCCLA national conference with seven students. Several received awards. Five are underclassmen, and she hopes they’ll be the backbone of the club next year. She also hopes the district can find a teacher for careers in education and early child development who has a master’s degree so the classes can count for college credit.
In a letter of recommendation, Lake Stevens High School Principal Leslie Ivelia wrote that Hahn is thoughtful and kind, someone who inspires people to be better.
Associate Principal Jason Pearson called her one of the most dedicated teachers at the school.
“The hearts and minds of the students she works with are a little fuller because of her ability and love of teaching,” he wrote.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.