Severeid Confident in the CCS Mission
When she reflects on her career with Cascade Christian Schools, the one thing Mary Severeid said she values the most is the relationships.
Severeid retired in August after a career that spanned more than 20 years and several job title changes ranging from Development Director when CCS was first formed, to Assistant Superintendent most recently.
Severeid said when she looks back over her time with CCS, "it has been a wonderful experience to have been in such close relationship with these families and their kids and to be able to speak into their lives."
For 14 years, Severeid served as the principal of the Fredrickson campus and said one of the best feelings in the world is watching a child graduate from CCS knowing they started here in preschool; getting a solid academic foundation all the while learning to know who they are in Christ.
In fact, she said, that foundation students gain while at Cascade Christian is one thing she is confident that will continue in her retirement.
"We always want them to be followers of Jesus," she said. "Leaders in this world that are first followers. From politicians, to nurses, to chemists and many other fields of profession we need people in those positions who are strong in Christ and their purpose before Him."
Severeid said one thing she knows for certain is that Cascade has always stayed true to its mission statement and in moving forward, she knows that there is a need to stay current and relevant. While the face of teaching is changing constantly, Severeid said she is confident Cascade Christian will still excel at raising leaders and staying academically current.
"What we have now is a broader program for kids to pursue excellence and reach their God-given potential," she said.
Many things have changed since CCS formed in 1992. She said there are now thriving athletic and arts programs, being complemented by a balanced academic program. With a focus on 21st Century Education, she believes CCS students are able to have a well-rounded experience.
With all of the positive changes, Severeid said there is one way CCS has not changed, and that is keeping the mission statement at the center of all they do.
"It has stood the test of time," she said. "We always have gone back to it when we had decisions to make and I can see it being front and center as we go forward."
Admittedly, there were many tough times over the course of nearly 25 years when difficult situations came up, but Severeid said God's sovereignty covered it all.
"We always had a strong sense of God's purpose in our calling," she said. "We prayed together a lot, as prayer often surrounds everything we do here at Cascade Christian. We follow God's leading."
As the school year ended last year, Severeid said she could feel God leading her toward retirement.
"The more I prayed about it, the greater peace I got," she explained. "Which was hard, because for decades these kids and families had been my life. This was not just a job to me, this was my calling and it was my passion."
"In fact, at my retirement celebration, they had a few alumni speak from my days as a principal," she said. "It was amazing to hear them say things from their perspective of what they remembered and what was important to them."
Superintendent Don Johnson, however, was not surprised those students were impacted by Severeid's leadership.
"Mrs. Severeid has been a rock and a creative force for me and for Cascade Christian Schools prior to our formation as a school system, in the formative years, and the operational years," he explained. "Mary’s many talents and abilities have shined from every one of the leadership positions that she has held – Marketing, Development, Principal and Assistant Superintendent. Mrs. Severeid’s impact and imprint will be seen and felt for many years to come here at CCS!"
Puyallup Elementary Principal Terry Broberg agreed. "Mary was an inspiration to work with," he said. "She was very skilled at providing guidance in a way that was encouraging and helpful. Wisdom and integrity oozed out of her continually."
Humbly, Severeid said she had been honored to serve with an amazing variety of people and is in awe of the many sacrifices made by the school board to be servant leaders, as well as by Superintendent Johnson.
"Don is a strong leader and he is confident in God's plan," she said. "Every strategic move we have made as a District has been because he knew the right moment to make it."
While she begins her retirement, Severeid said she feels honored that her door with Cascade Christian is not closed.
"This is a strong community and my second family" she said. "You can't break away from something that strong that easily."