John Gott was a visionary

December 7th, 2011 by Ken

The North Thurston School Board honored Dr. John Gott, Tuesday evening, by naming the district’s administrative building after him. It was an honor that Gott didn’t want, but appreciated.

While serving as superintendent for 20 years, Gott always rejected naming any school building after an individual. “Every time I did that,” he said, “it got me into trouble.”

But the district’s honor was well-deserved. Gott was a visionary.

He foresaw the 24-hour work cycle more than two decades ago, and moved to put the North Thurston district into position to serve the needs of its students by creating an evening high school. He also realized that not all students can go to school during the day and needed an evening school in order to meet their educational needs. He was a big supporter of alternative education.

He also supported vocational education, and during his 20 years at the helm, North Thurston was a leader in vocational education. It was he who was responsible for the creation of the New Market Vocational Skills Center. Gott wanted a facility to train students how to work. He would have preferred to have had the facility in North Thurston, but in order to garner support from other school districts, he agreed to have it in Tumwater.

He was active and involved in the community and it was this community activity which brought support to the district when levy time rolled around.

This was a man who never started out to be an educator. He was originally training to be a doctor, but when World War 2 ended, so did his medical training. He went on to work in the private sector with Sears, in finance, and eventually found himself as the director of finance for the state of New Mexico. It was a powerful position which controlled funding to all of the state’s schools.

He was preparing to make a run for governor of New Mexico, when he had a heart attack. Upon recovery, Gott set off to get a degree in education – – and found his way to Lacey.

The new Dr. John W. Gott Administrative Building is a great honor to this education visionary.

Posted in Government, History, The Real News

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