Stehekin School magic: Dr. Gene Sharratt reflects on Ron Scutt’s vision and impact
Editor’s note: I asked a few key people in Stehekin and North Central Washington to reflect on the work of Ron and Kim Scutt in Stehekin. Here is the response from Dr. Gene Sharratt, former superintendent, North Central Educational Service District.
Question: Describe your involvement with the Scutts:
I first met Ron and Kim in 1991 when I became superintendent for the North Central Educational Service District. At the invitation of the district, I traveled up-lake in the fall to visit the school and meet Ron and the Stehekin students. My first impressions became lasting impressions as I was greeted in the typical Stehekin community fashion, with warmth and genuine friendship. I vividly recall the sense of joy, of learning, and of authentic interest in teaching the “whole” child.
Over the course of my 11 years as ESD superintendent, I visited the school three to four times a year, always looking forward to the next visit. I had the opportunity to witness early learning students become academically talented students as they progressed through the system. I nominated Ron for the prestigious Michael Milken National Teacher of the Year Award, which he received for his excellence in educational instruction. The Stehekin school is a special place, made special by Ron’s unwavering commitment to teaching all students at high levels of attainment.
Question: What have Ron and Kim meant to the Stehekin community?
The Stehekin community is just that, a community. It is a community where everyone depends on everyone contributing and pitching in on every aspect of community life. As an isolated area, the community relies on each member to take a leadership role. The Stehekin school, under Ron’s leadership, is the center of community life. From community forums, to an open library system, Ron and Kim have developed the school as a community learning center. As Ron and Kim would say, “learning knows no time or place boundaries.” The school serves as the hub of community learning. Ron and Kim have contributed in every way possible to the development of Stehekin as a learning community.
Question: Ron had a special gift for teaching. What was it that made the Stehekin School experience unique and valuable?
Beyond what I mentioned in the first question, Ron is a relationship builder for all students. He firmly believes that learning takes place as part of building caring and authentic relationships with students. He believes that no learning occurs without a sincere relationship. These relationships are with students, families and the community. The Stehekin school is, indeed, a special place, guided so gracefully by a very special teacher and person, in Ron Scutt.
Question: What else should the folks in North Central Washington know about the Scutts?
True devotion knows no boundaries, genuine commitment no end – Ron and Kim have given freely, gracefully, and faithfully to the education, health and well-being of hundreds of students who attended the Stehekin school and who will enjoy a lifetime benefit because of their personal commitment to excellence in every phase of their lives. I remember so many fun-filled days cross country skiing with the students to school, standing by the wood stove warming up after a cold day participating in recess activities, and the peacefulness of Ron’s demeanor and thoughtfulness toward others.
Thanks for asking about such great people. They are truly deserving of recognition.
Dr. Gene Sharratt