Larsen retiring after 16 years leading School District

Superintendent stepping down in December
By Brandon Gustafson | Aug 28, 2019

The leader of the Mukilteo School District is retiring from her position in the near future.

Late last week, the Mukilteo School District announced that Dr. Marci Larsen, Mukilteo School District's superintendent for roughly 16 years, will retire effective Dec. 31.

Larsen began her tenure as Mukilteo's superintendent in 2003; prior to her role as the head of the third-largest school district in Snohomish County, she had an extensive career in education.

She started as a special education teacher in the Edmonds School District, and later was an elementary school principal in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, an office administrator in the South Kitsap School District, and then landed in the Mukilteo School District as the executive director of teaching and learning before ultimately taking the superintendent job in 2003.

"It has been an honor to serve alongside so many caring, talented staff who are truly investing in our future by teaching children," Larsen said. "Mukilteo School District is a special place, and I am grateful to have spent some of the very best years of my career here."

Larsen earned a master's degree from Western Washington University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington.

Larsen serves on the executive committee and board of trustees for the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and on the boards of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing, the Northwest Regional Data Center (NWRDC), the Mukilteo YMCA, and the Washington Alliance for Better Schools, per her biography on the Mukilteo School District's website.

Larsen joins Edmonds School District Superintendent Kristine McDuffy and Everett School District Superintendent Gary Cohn in announcing their upcoming retirements this summer. McDuffy and Cohn will both be retiring after the 2019-2020 school year.

The Mukilteo School Board officially accepted Larsen's resignation during its meeting Monday, Aug. 26.

"Dr. Larsen's leadership of the Mukilteo School District over the past 16 years has been steadfast, and her longevity in supreme commitment to the education of our students has been admirable beyond words," School Board President Michael Simmons said in a news release. "She has been instrumental in the district's equity work, which has been challenging and will make us all better."

Simmons said he admired Larsen's work "behind the scenes," especially in regards to the district's finances.

"Her practical planning kept the district in good shape in both stable and challenging times, and she made sound decisions in the best interest of students, staff and families."

At the meeting, Judy Schwab, who has served on the Mukilteo School Board since 1997, "regretfully" seconded the motion for the board to accept Larsen's retirement notice.

Schwab said she was looking at old meetings minutes recently and viewed the minutes from April 20, 2003, when Larsen was offered the contract to be superintendent. Schwab said she then went on to look at the minutes from May 12, 2003, when her contract was approved unanimously by the then-board; from June 24, 2003, when she took her oath of office; and finally, from July 21, 2003, which was Larsen's first meeting as Mukilteo's superintendent.

"It's been a privilege and an honor to sit at this table with you," Schwab said. "That's been the best for the education of Mukilteo students."

Jen Cole, who is running for the School Board against incumbent Kyle Kennedy, told Larsen and the board that Mukilteo was lucky to have someone serve as leader as long as Larsen did. Kennedy was the lone board member not present Aug. 26.

"It's been to our benefit and the advantage for all our students," Cole said.

Larsen's husband, Grant, told the board and the crowd at the meeting that they have been married for 35 years and is proud of his wife's work in Mukilteo.

"I'm so proud of what she's done for our community," he said. "It's been a wonderful journey, but it's not over yet."

The search for a new superintendent will be one of the top priorities for the board over the next few months.

Simmons said that it is "the biggest decision the five of us can make," and that they have already received a letter of interest from one Mukilteo School District employee about filling the opening.

Simmons also wanted it to be clear that the process will take place in the public sector, and that no decisions will be made in executive session.

"The word of the day is transparency," he said.

Per the Mukilteo School District news release, Larsen plans to remain in the Mukilteo community and is looking forward to spending more time with family and friends.

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