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Beloved School Teacher Retires After 53 Years in Education

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Jon Wartes, a well loved and respected teacher at Chrysalis High School, is retiring after 53 years of improving and impacting the lives of those around him. He has not only influenced the students he has taught as both a math teacher and a guidance counselor, but he has affected and even saved, the lives of those in his community through the role of Reserve Deputy in the King County Sheriff’s office. The world is a richer place because of his dedication and service to those around him.

Wartes spent his first 33 years in the education field in the Northshore School District, initially as a math teacher and then 23 years as a guidance counselor at Bothell High School. During those years he and his wife Wendy Wartes, who is also a teacher, homeschooled their three children and were activists in the homeschool movement. Jon was instrumental in convincing well meaning legislators and teaching professionals that homeschooling was a viable means of educating children.

After retiring from Bothell High School, Wartes spent three years as the lead teacher in the Family Learning Center in the Lake Washington school District. Leaving the public school realm, Jon spent another 17 years in the private sector, teaching math, acting as a guidance counselor, and serving as the advisor to National Honor Society at Chrysalis High School. He retired from Chrysalis at the end of this school year after 53 years of enriching the lives of all those around him. 

Not only has Jon bettered and influenced the lives of his students and coworkers, he has done the same for those in his community. He has been a Reserve Deputy in the King County Sheriff’s office for 47 years. As a member of King County Explorer Search and Rescue for 61 years, committing his time and energy, often at a moment’s notice, to be part of volunteer teams who search for missing persons. Wartes has served as an advisor to the Washington State Search and Rescue Planning Unit that assists others in the state to plan major search missions. Jon is retiring and leaving the education world to take on a vital service project for Search and Rescue. He will be chairing a project to select and train some of the best SAR volunteers in King County to serve in upper management positions on large scale search missions.

Wartes is also active in the LGBTQ community. After adopting a young man from Belarus, Jon, and his wife Wendy, became involved in the Gay Pride movement, as well as contributing time and energy to families and individuals in the Pflag organization. When asked about his community service, Wartes stated, “Service is an opportunity to meet interesting people and do fun and interesting things.”

“Knowing Jon for over 40 years has been my great privilege.” Said Karen Fogle, Chrysalis School Founder. “Not only has he bettered the lives of his students, he’s changed and improved the lives of all those around him. We wish Jon all the best with his journey ahead!

Wartes looks forward to continuing his running, serious hiking and travel. He’s happy at age 75 to say he can still climb Mt. Si in just under 2 hours.
The Chrysalis School community wants to thank Jon for his service to the community and for sharing his many talents and caring nature with us.

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