South Whidbey High School boys basketball coach and teacher Mike Washington is leaving to become an assistant principal at Everett’s Cascade High School.
Washington coached the Falcons for five seasons, posting a 57-54 record and winning a championship in 2018, South Whidbey’s first in 29 years.
Working with South Whidbey’s administrative team — John Patton, Paul Lagerstedt, James Swanson and Jeff Fankhauser — gave Washington confidence he could be a school leader, he said. That resulted in him applying for and being accepted into Seattle Pacific University’s principal certification program.
“The more I attended school and started my internship, it (becoming an administrator) started to feel more obtainable,” Washington said. “John was extremely supportive during this process as he is my mentor. He was very encouraging, explaining to me how I could obtain my required internship hours and was there for anything I needed.
“Dr. Fankhauser told me about an opening at Cascade High School, and the more I researched, the more it intrigued me. I applied and was selected.”
Washington said he is most proud of the relationships he built with the students and athletes while at South Whidbey.
“They will always be a part of me, and they know that no matter where we are, I will always be there for them,” Washington said.
He added that winning the league championship was another proud moment.
“Since I started coaching in 2014, every player that came through the program has some ownership in the plaque that will always hang in the rafters in the gym,” he said.
Washington acknowledged that it will be difficult to leave South Whidbey after the support he received from the community, students and staff.
“Such outstanding people to work with and to be around,” he said. “I will truly miss them. Thank you, South Whidbey, for taking me in and making me feel special.”