Arlington honors Dick Post for community service

Dick Post accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dale Duskin at the Stillaguamish Senior Center Nov. 12. - SARAH ARNEY The Arlington Times
Dick Post accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dale Duskin at the Stillaguamish Senior Center Nov. 12.
— image credit: SARAH ARNEY The Arlington Times

ARLINGTON — More than 200 people showed up to honor Dick Post, Nov. 12, at the Stillaguamish Senior Center. The award presentation was held in conjunction with a fund-raising breakfast to help the center continue its services to the seniors of north Snohomish County. Attendees enjoyed the new remodel of the gathering place, and the keynote speaker, former county executive and resident of Arlington, Bob Drewel spoke about the importance of community.

“Dick has lived his life with a sense of purpose and a good sense of reason,” Drewel said. He spoke of social foundations, of which Post was famous for building.

“Dick Post is a remarkable individual who always gives back more than he gets,” Drewel said.

Post disagreed.

“Everything I’ve given to this community has been returned two-fold,” Post told the crowd after accepting the award.

Post’s life story was read by Dale Duskin.

Post rescued the Arlington School District from chaos when he arrived in the early 1970s, according to Duskin’s “roommate” and twin brother, David Duskin. When the school board resigned en mass, five new board members were appointed in 1971 by the Educational Service District and they began a search for a new superintendent. Post had just received a master’s degree with superintendent’s credentials from the University of Washington in 1970.

“He was discouraged by some in the industry to stay away from Arlington. Instead, he went to work immediately to build trust,” Duskin said.

His first try at a levy failed, but Post persisted, getting involved with many community organizations.

With a turnaround in school support, a bond was passed for a new middle school and it was named in his honor. After rejecting proposals for a new high school, voters agreed to fund a major remodel instead.

In 1978 Post was chosen as the Washington State Superintendent of the Year by the state association of school librarians.

Post grew up in Everett and graduated from Everett High School in the class of 1941-and-a-half. Congressman Henry M. Jackson appointed Dick Post to the U.S. Naval Academy, but he failed to meet physical requirements due to poor vision. He was, however, able to convince an Army recruiter to accept him and he enlisted in November 1942, serving as an instructor at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland until 1946. After his term, Post studied mathematics and secondary education at the University of Washington. In 1950 he married Dorothy and took a teaching position at Wapato Junior High School. He received his principal’s credentials in 1955 and served as principal of a junior high school in Port Orchard from 1960 to 1971.

Post retired as superintendent in Arlington in 1985, then taught school administration as an adjunct professor at Western Washington University until 1994. He has published several articles and helped districts with labor problems.

“Dick Post was just what Arlington needed,” said David Duskin, a board member of the senior center who co-chaired the school bond committee when a remodel was approved under Post’s leadership.

“When Post arrived in town, the district could not pass a levy, let alone a bond for new school buildings,” he added.

Post accepted the award from master of ceremonies Dale Duskin.

“They said I wouldn’t have to talk,” said Post, but he couldn’t resist. He mentioned his strategy for keeping a sharp wit.

“I understand you get senile if you don’t stay active,” said Post, who continues his service through his participating on several boards, including the Arlington Education Foundation and the Byrnes Performing Arts Center advisory commission.

“His success at Arlington could be contributed to his involvement with the community,” Dave Duskin said. He was active with the Chamber of Commerce, which made him a life-time member after his retirement and he joined the Rotary Club when it was a year old, serving as secretary, president and director.

His service to the community was reflected in the huge turnout at the breakfast.

“I had to give up my own seat to make room for someone else,” Dave Duskin said.

Post was amazed.

“Some fellow high school students from Everett even showed up,” Post said. “They read about it in the paper and decided to attend.”

Previous recipients of the annual award were Howard Christensen, Don Meier, Harry Yost and Ruth Yost.

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