EWHS principal says she’s ‘confident’ Gradwohl will continue to coach at Edmonds-Woodway

John Gradwohl

For the last few days, we’ve received emails and seen messages on Twitter from Edmonds-Woodway High School parents and students concerned bout the future of long-time EWHS football coach and physical education teacher John Gradwohl. Some students have created a Keep John Gradwohl at EWHS Facebook page, stating that the school may “surplus” Gradwohl  because too many students are requesting waivers from PE classes.

We asked EWHS Principal Michelle Trifunovic via email about Gradwohl’s future, and here’s the reply she sent:

“Unfortunately, EWHS is experiencing a continued decline in enrollment.  The impact of this decline is that we receive less staffing, have less students signing up for courses and in the end will offer less sections per course. Please know that only five years ago EWHS had an enrollment of over 2,000 students. In 2012-2013, we are expected to have around 1,600 students. This means that staffing assignments for Mr. Gradwohl and several other EWHS staff are in flux.

“The district is currently working through the surplus process to place these staff members in other buildings in the Edmonds School District.  I am very confident that Coach Gradwohl will have a full time position in our district and look forward to working with him in his role as P.E. teacher and coach at EWHS. In addition, it is important to note that teaching assignments and coaching positions are not connected.  We have many coaches who work in other buildings and some who are not employed by the district.”

  1. That is not the major issue. We want to keep John Gradwohl as a FULL time staff member at strictly the Edmonds Woodway high school. If he is only coaching at Edmonds Woodway then teaching at other elementary schools it will be beneficial to niether. He wont be able to stay as active and involved with his students (as noted on the facebook page group) as he was before. He shapes Warriors on and off the field because he believes they are STUDENT athletes. Always ensuring their role as a student is fulfilled before the Athlete part is. He needs to be full time at EWHS to maintain his relatioships, as well as the feeder youth football program he helped to start with brother Chris Gradwohl (Edmonds Junior Warriors) in order to ease transition for future students. Why lose the benefit of a teacher who goes above and beyonf their call of duty?

  2. Unfortunately EWHS Principal Michelle Trifunovic is failing to answer the REAL question. She still admits that surplusing will occur meaning he wouldn’t be a FULL TIME staff member as both a teacher and coach. He would therefore be teaching at an elementary school, and coaching at the high school. This wouldn’t be beneficial to either schools because John wouldn’t be able to maintain the relationships he has with the students as a whole- on and off the field. We need more teachers like John who will go above and beyond their call of duty especially at the high school. DON’T BE FOOLED– AND DON’T LET THE HIGH SCHOOL LOSE A VALUABLE, DEDICATED, LOYAL, TEACHER.

  3. While I respect his family, I’m having a hard time with this effort especially the DON’T BE FOOLED part.

    There is some kind of a relationship between the number of teachers in a department and the number of kids who are in classes. If kids or parents don’t sign up for a class because of declining enrollment or because they don’t want that class then the school loses teachers. From what I’ve read, that is what is happening here. There is a process to determine who is next in line for being cut and its this guys turn. Either he goes to another school or some other teacher gets sent over. Right?

    From what I’ve seen, this happens each year. This guy may be great but it is his turn to be surplused or the process wouldn’t be legal and fair. And if you are asking for more money to keep him then tell me exactly how much that is.

    It would be worse to say that he is supposed to get surplussed but he’s really popular so don’t do it. Then it’s just a contest for who can get more people to like one teacher.

  4. In response to TT Adel (,

    EWHS is known for it’s commitment to offer programs that truly encourage students and the learning environment. Music, Deaf & Hard of hearing, and Arts, programs are robust, as is the Athletics program, all of which compliment and encourage the students acedemic progress. All of these staff are an integral part of this mentoring, as is Coach Gradwahl. His commitment to his students is truly of admirable and of incredible value; how do you place a price tag on that? His motto as I’ve witnessed at numerous awards events, is the continued encouragement to students acheiving their acedemic goals.
    “This guy” as you state is offensive, and is not nameless or unknown. Coach Gradwahl is a huge contributor to the students of EWHS. It would be a tremendous loss to lose him, if that is truly what is being contemplated here. The US in general has incredible challenges in education today. We really need to put our collective efforts and money where it matters-INTO THE YOUTH OF THIS COUNTRY! This is not a popularity contest, rather another fine example” of our lack of capacity to fund our schools!
    What is your salary? If you really want to know what a state employee earns, that information is available, with a relative ease of access from the Govenors office website. As public trust employees, they’re salries are public information as I have seen. Is your salary public knowlegde? I doudt it.

    Go to some football games this season. The comradeship is infectious.

  5. K McCole,

    I place a pricetag on it because I am a taxpayer and I pay the pricetag. Since this article was posted I’ve done my research. No one is getting rid of this coach or even talking about getting rid of this coach. He is doing what many teachers at his school have done over the past few years and that is to do a split job between schools because he does not have seniority. Before you take me to the woodshed over my comments, please understand the facts. He is not being fired or let go. He is being asked to work part of his day at another school. THAT’s It.

    You are simply wrong when you say it isn’t popularity. This coach does not have seniority and that is how his own union determines placement. If he didn’t leave the school then another teacher would leave the school. For you to decide which one stays and goes is just arbitrary and a popularity contest. There is actually a published list of seniority and every teacher gets a copy of it so they know where they stand on it.

  6. In response TT Adel,

    The research YOU so passionately spoke of is in part “simply wrong”, (your words).

    You have no idea of the indiividial facts involved in this story.

    You need a better research resource. THAT’s It.

  7. You keep saying that I’m wrong but you don’t tell me how. It is clear that your family member is liked by many people but why does that mean he gets to keep him job even though there aren’t enough students for him to teach.

    What are teh individual facts of the story that I have wrong? He keeps a job but has to teach part of the day somewhere else and then come back to coach. This process has been in place for many years so why should it change because you want your family member to have a job in the high school?

    I’ll ask again what are the facts I have wrong. Other people have seniority and he doesn’t.

  8. Regadless of my blood relation to this man. He is an outstanding, one in a million educator, role model, and coach. I would rather have my tax money going to a man who ensures a positive future for those whose education I will be paying for in the future. As stated before, the future is in our youth. But please, TT Adel- feel free to attend the District Board Budget Community Meeting tomorrow I’m sure your perspective on the matter will be appreciated.

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