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  • Board appoints Lynne Cowart to empty seat
    Longtime educator, former Kalamazoo RESA employee to fill Jim Harrington’s seat on the Board of Education

    Lynne Cowart The Kalamazoo RESA Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday night to appoint Lynne Cowart to fill the seat left by Jim Harrington, who passed away March 17.

    Cowart is a longtime Kalamazoo County educator with nearly 40 years of experience. She graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in special education in 1967. She then spent a year with VISTA, or Volunteers in Service to America, where she helped organize a childhood development center in Kettleman City, Calif. While with VISTA, Cowart met and married her husband, Jim. Together they moved to Connecticut, where she began her career as a special education teacher.

    The couple eventually moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., so Jim could attend the University of Michigan. From there, they landed in Kalamazoo. Cowart was hired by Kalamazoo RESA in 1971 as a teacher consultant in the REACH program, a grant–funded program for students with special needs.

    In 1975, Cowart was hired as a teacher consultant in Parchment, and that is where she stayed for the next 28 years. She worked as a teacher consultant for 12 years, earning her master’s degree in special education from Western Michigan University. She eventually became Parchment’s curriculum director, and was the principal at Northwood Elementary.

    In 2003, Cowart returned to Kalamazoo RESA as the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. She retired from that position in 2011. Though retired, Cowart has remained active in the education community. She served as a member of the Education Reconnection board, and helped to bring a high school diploma program to Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU). She worked as the interim curriculum director at Portage Public Schools for one year. And she has worked for Kalamazoo RESA as a charter school monitor for two years.

    With a career spanning nearly four decades, Cowart still has more to give. She is currently serving as the board president of Kalamazoo County Ready 4s, an organization focused on helping provide local families with high quality, public and private pre-kindergarten programs.

    “I believe public education is one of the most important things that societies do,” she said. “I feel I can contribute to education in Kalamazoo County.”

    “I look forward to working with Lynne as a member of our Board of Education,” said Kalamazoo RESA board president Skip Knowles. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her. She is a well-respected member of the Kalamazoo education community, and I know she will continue to be a dedicated and compassionate advocate for students and families.”

    Cowart’s appointment runs through June 30, 2015. There will be an election on June 1 to select a candidate for a six-year term, beginning July 1. Cowart, who lives in Kalamazoo, expects to run.

    She and her husband, Jim, have two grown children, both proud graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools, and two grandchildren.

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  • Laurie Montgomery talks with a vendor at the first annual transition fair
    First Annual Transition Fair held at West Campus
    Making the move to post-high school life is tough. Transition Services at Kalamazoo RESA helps students with disabilities and their families think about life after school and works with them to face the specific challenges they meet. 
    Transition Services, part of special education programming at Kalamazoo RESA’s West Campus, hosted its first Transition Fair on March 25. 
    “The transition fair is a great opportunity for parents of students with disabilities to learn more about options to assist their student in preparing for life after school,” said assistant superintendent Laurie Montgomery. 
    The event offered information on transition through informational booths and hourly presentations. For more information, visit Transition Services online.

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