Monday, July 13, 2009

Former Shoreline Superintendent Bill Stevenson dies; memorial set for July 29

William "Bill" Stevenson, who served as superintendent of the Shoreline School District from 1962 to 1982, died Thursday, July 9 of cancer at age 85.

Dr. Stevenson presided over a remarkable period of growth and change in the Shoreline Schools in 20 years as superintendent, which included the opening of Shorewood High School and Einstein Middle School. Enrollment in the district peaked at more than 18,000 students in 1970.

Stevenson may be best remembered for his leadership following a double-levy failure in 1971, when the District lost more than 20 percent of its funding. Stevenson, backed by the school board, closed six schools and reduced staff by more than 25 percent to help make up the gap. A year later, a new levy was passed and the District began to rebuild its programs. Stevenson and the school board were honored by the Washington State School Directors Association as its School Board of the Year in 1972 for its handling of the financial crisis.

Bill Stevenson was born February 22, 1924. He attended Bellevue High School, served as a Marine in the South Pacific during World War II, then graduated from Washington State University, ultimately receiving his doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1968. He first came to Shoreline as a teacher in 1950, and served as president of the Shoreline Education Association in 1953-54. He later became vice principal of Broadview Elementary School, which was then part of the Shoreline district. He served as the first principal of Cromwell Park Elementary in Shoreline from 1955 to 1959. He was to move to Lake Forest Park as principal in the fall of 1959, but was instead promoted to assistant superintendent. Stevenson became acting superintendent in 1962 and superintendent in 1963 upon the retirement of Dr. Ray Howard.

Dr. Stevenson was the recipient of many educational honors. He served as president of the Washington Association of School Administrators in 1975. In 1976, he was elected to the executive board of the American Association of School Administrators, and served as its president in 1981-82.

After 32 years in the Shoreline School District, Dr. Stevenson retired in 1982, after which he was elected to two six-year terms on the Washington State Board of Education. He also served on the board of the Shoreline Historical Museum.

Throughout his retirement, Dr. Stevenson continued to support the Shoreline Schools, leading the effort to write a history of the District’s first 60 years, 1944 to 2004.

“Cooperation, honesty, openness, effort, expertise, energy and desire to perform were hallmarks of the Shoreline family spirit,” Dr. Stevenson wrote in “Shore to Shore and Line to Line,” published in 2007. “Keeping the spirit alive is a goal to be forever pursued.”

Dr. Stevenson is survived by his sister Marilyn and brother Bob, his son, Rick and daughter, Jody, their spouses Julie and Gary and grandchildren Max, Maddy, Leah and Oliver. His wife of 62 years, Betty Jean, died in November 2008. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 1 p.m. at University Presbyterian Church, 4540 15th Ave. N.E. in Seattle.

Seattle Times obituary:

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