Carl Putnam

Carl Putnam
Posted on 11/12/2018

NEWESD 101 mourns the passing of one of its founding fathers. Carl Putnam, a member of the original NEWESD 101 Board in 1969, passed away November 9 at the age of 101.

When he retired from the board at the end of 1997, he was the longest-serving educational director in the state, completing 50 years of total board service.

Prior to his 28 years on the ESD Board (originally known as ISD 101), Putnam served on the local Covada and Inchelium school boards (Covada later consolidated with Inchelium) and the old Ferry County Board of Education.

Putnam was a thoughtful man famous for his firm handshake and self-deprecating sense of humor. While he often joked that he was only appointed to the Covada seat because he was young enough to cut firewood for the school, peers viewed him in a more serious light.

Indeed, to legions of school administrators and fellow board members, he was a visionary renowned for his wisdom, ethics and insight.

Putnam was a driving force behind the ESD’s successful development of distance learning in the 1980s and its expansion in the 1990s. As former Superintendent Brian Talbott, Ph.D. noted in a 1997 newsletter column, Putnam was ahead of the curve in seeing technology as a “cost-effective equalizer” for students in under-served rural areas.

Before embarking on his professional life in Inchelium, where he and his wife Florence raised three children, Putnam grew up in Spokane. He graduated from Rogers High School, attended Washington State University and served five years in the U.S. Army. Throughout his life and career, his commitment to public service was absolutely unmatched.

While more than 20 years have passed since his service at NEWESD 101, his imprint is still seen today in the attitude, spirit and vision of those he mentored and inspired.

While the term “legend” is not one to be lightly or routinely conferred, there is perhaps no better, more fitting word to describe the thoughtful, deserving man from Inchelium who dedicated his life to serving others.

Story posted: November 13, 2018
For more information:
Steve Witter
(509) 789-3540
switter@esd101.net