Everett's First Black Principal

Everett’s First Black Principal, Betty Cobbs, Retires After 51 Years of Inspiring Education and Community Leadership

Trailblazing Educator Leaves Lasting Legacy in Everett Schools

Betty Cobbs, a pioneering figure in Everett’s education system, is set to retire this week. Her 51-year career marks a significant milestone in the district’s history. As the first Black principal in Everett schools, Cobbs has made an indelible impact on countless students and educators.

At 73, Cobbs leaves behind a legacy of improved grades, teacher education, and personal connections with students. Her retirement from Woodside Elementary School closes a chapter in Everett’s educational history. However, her influence will continue to resonate for years to come.

From Classroom Teacher to Inspirational Leader

Cobbs began her journey in Everett schools in 1973 as an intern teacher. Despite facing challenges as one of the few Black teachers, she persevered. Her dedication to student success quickly earned her recognition.

“You’re learning how to teach while you’re teaching,” Cobbs reflected on her early years. This experience shaped her resolve to never give up on any student. Soon, children were requesting transfers to her classroom, a testament to her growing reputation.

Breaking Barriers and Setting New Standards

In 1982, Cobbs broke new ground by becoming the principal at Jackson Elementary School. This appointment marked her as Everett’s first Black principal. Throughout her career, she consistently aimed to improve conditions for students.

At Garfield Elementary, Cobbs focused on boosting reading and writing scores. Her leadership extended beyond academics. She spearheaded an environmental project at Jackson Elementary, reviving Pigeon Creek No. 1 as a salmon spawning stream.

Community Involvement and Recognition

Cobbs’ influence reached far beyond school walls. She served on various community boards, including the Everett Youth Symphony and Everett Community College Board of Trustees. Her commitment to education and community service earned her widespread respect.

State Sen. John Lovick praised Cobbs’ approachability: “Everywhere she goes, she will take the time to talk to you.” This personal touch has been a hallmark of her leadership style throughout her career.

A Legacy of Inspiration and Future Plans

As Cobbs prepares for retirement, her office at Woodside Elementary stands as a testament to her impact. Filled with flowers from colleagues and notes from former students, it reflects the lives she’s touched over five decades.

Looking ahead, Cobbs plans to enjoy her retirement but remains committed to learning. Piano lessons and Spanish classes are on her agenda. “If I get bored, I think I can find something to do,” she said, embodying her lifelong dedication to education.