How did your interest in education begin?
My interest in education began as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, majoring in history. I was influenced by the distinguished professor of United States history, Thomas Pressly, to become a teacher. His enthusiastic and creative lectures brought history to life for me with his emphasis on reading primary sources, the reading of documents written by people who participated in and or witnessed history. My first job after graduation was as a teacher of U.S. history at my alma mater, Garfield High School in Seattle.
How have you been involved in education, professionally or as an advocate, over the years?
I have been involved in education as a high school teacher, an assistant professor of public administration at Florida State University, corporate director of education relations and training for The Boeing Company for nearly 20 years, and a lecturer of public administration at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.
I was elected as a director of The Seattle School Board in 1973 and served three years. I was appointed to the Washington State Governor's Temporary Committee on Education, Policy, Structure and Management from 1984-1990. I also served as a Trustee of the Seattle Community Colleges Board of Trustees from 1989-1999 and as chair in 1994 and 1997. From 1994-1997 I served as president of the Independent Colleges of Washington Board of Trustees. I also co-chaired the Seattle Public Schools Committee of Fiscal Integrity in 2003.
From 2013-2015 I served on the Executive Committee for the University of Washington Foundation. From 1985-1986 I served as president of the University of Washington Alumni Association. From 1985-1996 I served as a member of the UW College of Education Visiting Committee and from 2001 to the present on its Ambassador Board. I also have served as a member of the Evans School Advisory Board since 2013.
Over the years I have also been a keynote speaker at international, national, state, regional and local conferences regarding educational reform issues. All of the aforementioned reflect a sampling of my involvement in education.
What one or two education issues are you most passionate about (and why)?
I am passionate about robust early learning/early childhood education programs, because good teaching and learning in the early years will impact on children when their brains are the most fertile and will stay with them for life. Research also indicates they will have a more positive self-image and a greater appreciation for lifelong learning.
I would like to see greater integration between the humanities and social sciences and STEM-related teaching and learning from pre-K through 16. Such integration will or should help us continuously examine, for example, how new technologies will enhance or hinder the fundamental social, political and economic values we hold dear as a nation.
Tell us about an educator who made a particularly large impact on your life.
My high school English literature teacher Miriam Eskenazi made a major impact on my life during my junior year at Garfield. Until I was enrolled in Mrs. Eskenazi's class, I tended be a fairly lackadaisical student during all the previous years I attended school. I was not a poor student academically, but I certainly was not a scholar. I tended to be primarily interested in sports and whether I would ever have a girlfriend.
One day in class Mrs.Eskenazi pulled me aside, looked me dead in the face—she was not smiling—and said in no uncertain words, "Carver, you are not working up to your potential. You are a smart young man and I am going to make sure that you stay on task with regard to your school work while you are in my class." I was in shock. Up to that point, no teacher had ever challenged me like that, nor showed that much interest in my work. From that point forward I was committed not to disappoint her.
The course focused on the plays of Shakespeare, with emphasis on "Hamlet," which initially were certainly not my cup of tea. I worked hard and learned a great deal from the course as a result of her tough love. I received an "A" in the class, my first ever in an English course. The residual effect was long lasting. I felt capable of doing well in any course if I simply made the effort.
Mrs. Eskenazi only taught one semester at Garfield. Having her as my teacher was serendipitous. She changed my life forever. I still maintain contact with her.
Share an unusual/fun fact about yourself.
At the age of 79 I continue to jump rope at least three times a week, doing 200-300 reps per set without missing. I've been jump roping since the age of 13.