When Ann Everett took over the Medical Lake School District’s special education program, she began implementing several changes and brought in new personnel, including a familiar face to the community.
Josh Edmondson, Medical Lake class of 2003, returned to the school district this fall as a special behavior interventionist for the middle and high schools.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Edmondson first moved to Medical Lake with his mother and brothers when he was 2 years old.
During high school, he excelled in athletics, specifically in wrestling where he placed in state all four years — winning a state championship his junior season — and accumulated a 122-9 record. He also lettered in baseball and football
“I was a product of the system here,” Edmondson said. “So many people helped me. Medical Lake has a small town feel. Everyone knew when I was coming back. I love this school district and town so much.”
After he graduated high school, Edmondson attended North Idaho College where he majored in physical education and wrestled at 184 pounds. In his second year he won the NJCAA national championship, which earned him a wrestling scholarship at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). As a Moc, UTC’s mascot, he qualified for the NCAA Division I wrestling championships in 2007 and 2008.
Once he graduated from UTC in 2009, Edmondson stayed in Chattanooga and worked as a paraprofessional educator. He said he knew he wanted to teach special education when he was young.
“Stepping out of college and going right into teaching was such a rewarding experience,” Edmondson said. ‘It helped me for what I’m doing at Medical Lake.”
Edmondson worked in a developmental communications classroom with severely autistic students. He learned how to communicate with his students and understood the meanings of their behaviors.
“When you can’t tell someone what you want, you have to act out,” Edmondson said. “I got to know those kids on another level. I knew what all of their behaviors meant. It was an eye-opener for me.”
While Edmondson was teaching in Tennessee, his former teachers followed his progress. Everett decided to reach out to Edmondson to see if he wanted to come back to Medical Lake.
Since Edmondson came back, Everett has worked closely with him and has watched him work with students.
“He’s been a great resource for students and for parents,” Everett said. “He’s helped them understand behaviors.”
While he is still getting used to calling his teachers by their first names, Edmonson has built a rapport with many of the students he’s worked with. In addition to his role as a special behavior interventionist, Edmondson is an assistant coach for the school’s wrestling team. He was also an assistant coach for the football team.
“I meet with some of the students and I tell them ‘here’s what I did’ and ‘here’s how I became successful,’” Edmondson said. “A lot of people have helped me out and I want to be that for the students.”
Besides working at the middle school and high school, Edmondson has visited Eastern State Hospital and Lakeland Village on a few occasions. He said he would like to build programs to help the people there.
“My goal is to unify the 17-21 year olds (at the hospitals) who still need that education and to have a plan for them,” Edmondson said.