Newsletter of the Association of Alaska School Boards
Our Mission: To advocate for children and youth by assisting school boards in providing
quality public education, focused on student achievement, through effective local governance.

Norm Wooten
AASB Executive Director
Zaretta Hammond
Teacher, Educator, Author
Lon Garrison, AASB School Improvement Coordinator
Time to Stick Together
The session is again upon us. It's worth remembering we have only one agenda: representing the interests of Alaska's public school students.  
Leading Toward Cultural Responsiveness 
Let's not confuse cultural responsiveness by "honoring diversity" rather than building students' thinking skills.
The Practice of Boardsmanship
Good governance helps boards get work done and build stakeholder trust. Most importantly, our children depend upon it.
Visions of Alaska Education
In April of 2017, Education Commissioner Michael Johnson challenged 100 Alaskans representing diverse interests and backgrounds to form into five groups and generate ideas that would transform our public education system into a system that meets the current and future needs of our students and state.  
Seven months and five meetings later, those Alaskans put forth their best transformative ideas. In this edition of the Commentary, we 've asked Alaskans representing each working group to write brief articles or provide infographics to share their group 's vision for the future of education in Alaska.
A VISION: Tribal & Community Ownership Committee 
By Rep. Chuck Kopp (R-Anchorage), Tribal & Community Ownership Committee Member 
Chuck Kopp
State-Tribal Education Compacts - An opportunity to transform education in Alaska
In the 1960s and early 70s, we lived along the shores of Lake Iliamna, where my parents taught school in beautiful Newhalen village. My father commented more than once that he recognized a deep trauma-related sorrow in the area, similar to that of the Chinese people when their children and culture were taken from them by force. He is gone now, but his belief that education must derive from the culture, not brought to it, remains with me. 
A VISION: Student Learning Committee 
By Amy Jo Meiners, 2016 Alaska Teacher of the Year, Student Learning Committee Member 
Amy Jo Meiners
How could Alaska's education system transform to amplify student learning? As a teacher who served on Alaska's Education Challenge 2017 Student Learning Committee, I highlight three critical areas for change targeting student learning success: beyond basics, variety, and customization. I created an infographic to share what I believe are the key elements in need of systemic change.
A VISION: Modernization and Finance Committee 
By Lee Butterfield, Teacher at South Anchorage High School, Modernization and Finance Committee member 
Lee Butterfield (at left)
Good teachers teach content. Great teachers teach students. Fantastic teachers utilize a collection of highly specialized and practiced skills with a deep and researched understanding of how the human brain works to design spaces and experiences which do both. My favorite, my vision of the future, and my proposition for making it all work is simple:  
A VISION: Safety & Well-Being Committee 
By Sana Efird, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development, Safety & Well-Being Committee member 
Sana Efird
Alaska schools are, statistically speaking, very safe places-in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere safer. Moreover, they are filled with caring and knowledgeable support staff and instructors and populated by curious students with young minds developmentally predisposed to learn and grow at a thrilling pace. So schools are safe and students' well-being is all but guaranteed during the school day, right? For 5 out of every 10 students who enter our schools each day this is probably true, but for the other 5, unfortunately, it's not.
A VISION: Safety & Well-Being Committee 
By Pete Hoepfner, Cordova School Board member, Safety & Well-Being Committee member  
Pete Hoepfner
Understanding trauma is about changing the way you view the world. It's about changing the helping paradigm from "What is wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?" Trauma-informed, culturally responsive institutions focus on helping the person who has experienced trauma, rather than removing or punishing them. The idea of a trauma-informed education system takes these ideas one step further, moving beyond the actions of individual professionals to incorporate knowledge of trauma into the policies, practices and "culture" of education. 
A VISION: Educator Excellence Committee 
By Sheryl Weinberg, SERRC Executive Director, Educator Excellence Committee member, and Melissa Griffiths, SERRC Communications Director 
Sheryl Weinberg
& Melissa Griffiths
For some people, the idea of Alaska is endless snow and clips from Alaska-themed reality TV shows. But for educators beginning their career in Alaska, the reality might be beyond what they can imagine. Providing educators with a better understanding of life in the state, especially in rural Alaska, and a strong network of peers to provide support will address significant barriers to educator retention and student achievement.
Guest Columns
The Answer to Alaska's Education Challenge: A workforce that reflects the population at every level, especially at the head of the classroom.
By Joe Nelson, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment and Student Affairs, University of Alaska Southeast,
Chairman of the Board, Sealaska 
Joe Nelson
For good reason, Governor Walker's administration recently set out to transform our educational system in a public process that was marketed as Alaska's Education Challenge. A lot of the right buzz words were on the list of recommendations, but the path forward is anything but clear. In my two decades of schooling and two decades of working in higher education, I have come to rely on a fairly simple formula for student success:
Free Speech Rights of School Employees
By Allen Clendaniel of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC 
Allen Clendaniel
Part three of a four part review of the Freedom of Expression in Schools.
Can a school employee post a harsh critique of a school board's decision on social media? How about a post stating that the school board should not renew the superintendent's contract? Can the employee be disciplined or even fired for such posts? Does the First Amendment protect such speech?
Part one:  "I pledge allegiance to [which?] flag ..." by John M. Sedor 
Part two:  Exceptions to student speech rights under Tinker by Lea Filippi 
Chevak Student's Report to Board on Youth Leadership Institute Experience  
By a YLI student participant from Chevak School
Kashunamiut School Board
After attending the recent AASB Youth Leadership Institute, this Chevak student presented the following report to the Kashunamiut school board:
I have had the honor of attending the 64th annual Youth Leadership Institute program, November 9-12 in Anchorage. We learned many things, such as how to conduct a meeting, and telling a story using technology. We also did workshops where we improved and practiced our public speaking and communication skills.
Copper River School District Board Member and Area Management Biologist  
Each month Commentary will feature a different board member's story, as told in their own words. Many dedicated Alaskans from all walks of life have chosen to support their communities and youth by serving on a local school board. There is inspiration and fellowship in learning how a person's culture, life events, personal philosophies, influential teachers, or career choices have motivated them to serve. This month we profile Mark Somerville of Copper River School District.  
AASB Events
2018 School Climate & Connectedness Survey (SCCS)  
Join 30 Alaska school districts to collect and use school climate data to improve and strengthen your schools' environment, relationships, and connections between students & staff. The 2018 SCCS includes:
  • New Interactive Survey platform  
  • New Family Survey option to see student, staff, and family perceptions side-by-side.
  • Training and Support on how to oversee the survey and use the survey platform
  • Support on how to use survey results
For more information, contact Jenni Lefing   
Attention Students:
Mark your calendar! Registration information coming soon!
Mark your calendar! Registration information coming soon!

Kathleen Plunkett receives MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award
Unalaska Superintendent John Conwell presents the award to Kathleen Plunkett
Kathleen Plunkett, Anchorage school board member and member of the AASB Board of Directors, has received the MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award. The award was presented by John Conwell, Superintendant of Unalaska School District during the annual summer meeting of the Alaska Superintendents Association held in Seward.
Schools Struggle to Keep Pace With Hackings, Other Cyber Threats
By Benjamin Herold, Education Week
Superintendent Steve Bradshaw started sleeping with a shotgun following a disturbing hacking incident
A wide range of cybersecurity threats are sweeping through the education sector, sowing discord and costing public schools significant time, money, and trust.
Criminal hacking groups have terrorized and extorted school communities. Email scams have led to identify theft, fraudulent tax returns, and stolen public funds. Mistakes by district staff, third-party vendors, and other outside groups have left teacher and student information vulnerable.
Legislators, Assembly look forward at school funding
By Kat Sorensen, Peninsula Clarion
The school district is on a mission to make sure that the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and Alaska Legislature are thinking about the Fiscal Year 2019 school budget. At separate work sessions this week, Superintendent Sean Dusek and school board members met with the legislators and the Borough Assembly to set the groundwork for the FY19 budget in hopes of avoiding a repeat of last year, when uncertainty loomed over the finalized budget until the Alaska State Legislature adopted a budget with status quo funding for K-12 education in June, just two months before the start of the school year.
Ilisagvik College waives tuition for Alaska Native students
By Shady Grove Oliver, Arctic Sounder
Alaska Native students from all around Alaska are now able to attend the state's only tribal college tuition-free.
Iḷisaġvik recently announced that starting next semester, Native students who are over the age of 18 will be able to apply for a tuition waiver to attend both distance learning and campus-based classes. "We Inupiat believe in sharing our good fortune. We have been fortunate enough on the North Slope to have an accredited college in a Native community where Native students can feel comfortable and supported as they pursue their post-secondary education," said...
Building the future workforce through career and technical education
By Sharice Walker, FNSBSD Public Relations Director for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner 
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is in the process of developing a comprehensive five-year plan for Career and Technical Education (CTE) across the district. This process includes defining the role of Hutchison High School regarding workforce development. "We want to ensure that every student, when they graduate, has employment or post-secondary training and education opportunities that lead to high wage, high skill and high demand careers," said Daniel Domke, school district CTE director. "We also want to ensure that our district programs align with current and projected economic opportunities."
District releases 5 year enrollment projection
By Kat Sorensen, Peninsula Clarion
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School district is predicting a slow, but steady, decline in enrollment over the next five years. This year, the district's projection of 8,781 students was about 64 students less than the 8,716.34 students reported to the state following the 20-day On-line Alaska School Information System count for Fiscal Year 2018, according to board documents. The state then uses this number, known as the Average Daily Membership, as a factor in determining the school district's funding.
Since the district's projections were off, the funding through the state's Foundation Formula was affected. 
School district asks community for input amid revenue shortfall
By Samantha Angaiak, KTUU Channel 2 
Anchorage community members are being asked to weigh in on which values are most important to them when it comes to education in the Anchorage School District. The survey for 2018-2019 asks participants to rank values including: clean and safe schools, co-curricular activities and sport, class sizes, effective and rigorous course offerings and options in schools and programs. Dr. Deena Bishop, ASD Superintendent, says the district is facing a $9 million revenue shortfall.
School Board sends $50 million bond package proposal to assembly
By Cameron Mackintosh, KTUU Channel 2 
Anchorage school board meeting
A $50 million bond package recently approved by the Anchorage School Board is awaiting consideration by the Assembly to be included in next year's April ballot. The money would go toward a number of capital projects to repair and maintain the district's aging infrastructure. As funding from the state has dried up in recent years, ASD says its had to focus its bond proposals on...
School Board members defend health insurance benefit 
By Amanda Bohman, Fairbanks Daily News Miner 
Photo Credit:
The Fairbanks region has only one local legislative entity offering health insurance to its elected officials - the school board. Most members of the Fairbanks school board said they collect health insurance benefits from the school district in exchange for their public service. Other local legislative bodies long ago eliminated health insurance compensation for their members, many of whom work day jobs and serve part-time in public office. However, the school board has maintained its health insurance benefit. The cost to the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District...
What's Happening In Your District? 
Include Your News in Commentary! 
Superintendent Vacancies & District Openings
Looking for a New Superintendent?
The Association of Alaska School Boards has been conducting superintendent searches for over 20 years.
Learn about our Search Services >

If you would like AASB to conduct a superintendent search for your district, or have questions, Contact Us >
Superintendent Opening
Craig City School District
Craig, Alaska

Closing Date for Applications: January 30, 2018

The Craig City School District Board of Education is seeking a superintendent.

The District is located on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. The Craig City School District consists of about 500 students; half in brick and mortar and half in our unique distance learning program. The District is seeking applicants who have successful experience as a school and/or district administrator and a proven history of improving student achievement. The applicants will have outstanding leadership skills with a strong background in improving student learning. They will demonstrate experience with effective educator recruiting and retention. They will also actively maintain the distance learning program. The Board is especially interested in a leader who has proven experience in budget development and oversight. The successful candidate must respect and work with all constituent groups recognizing the benefit that each stakeholder brings to the District in the effort to meet the needs of the whole child. The District is willing to offer a multi-year contract with a salary of $103,000 to $120,000, with an attractive fringe benefit package.

Application deadline: January 30, 2018
Selection of Finalists: February 6, 2018
Interviews in Craig: February 26 -28, 2018
Employment begins: July 1, 2018

Application materials should be sent to:
Association of Alaska School Boards
1111 W. 9th St.,
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 463-1660
Email: Ryan Aguilar

Lon Garrison and   Timi Tullis will serve as the AASB consultants for the Craig superintendent/CEO search. In their absence please contact Norm Wooten.

Superintendent Opening
Dillingham City School District
Dillingham, Alaska

Closing Date for Applications: January 9, 2018

The Board of Education of the Dillingham City School District, Dillingham, Alaska is conducting a search for a superintendent or district chief executive officer (CEO). The successful candidate will have outstanding leadership skills with a strong background in improving student learning, especially reading and math. Demonstrated experience with effective educator recruiting and retention efforts, and cultural sensitivity and responsiveness will enhance a candidate's potential for selection. The board is especially interested in a leader who has proven experience in budget development and oversight, and human resources. The successful candidate must respect and work with all constituent groups recognizing the benefit that each stakeholder brings to the District in an effort to meet the needs of all children.

The Board is willing to offer a competitive salary in the $120,000 - $130,000 range (DOE) for a 260-day contract. A comprehensive benefit package with 30 days of paid vacation, family medical insurance, life insurance and a relocation package are available.

Application deadline: January 9, 2018
Selection of Finalists: January 15-16, 2018
Interviews in Dillingham: Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2018
Employment begins: July 1, 2018

Application materials should be sent to:
Association of Alaska School Boards
1111 W. 9th St.,
Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 463-1660

Lon Garrison and Timi Tullis will serve as the AASB consultants for the Dillingham superintendent/CEO search.

Superintendent Opening
Haines Borough School District
Haines, Alaska

Closing Date for Applications: January 15, 2018

Haines Borough School District is happy to announce the job for Superintendent. Applicants must hold, or be eligible for, a Type B administrative certificate from the State of Alaska.

Salary range: $110,000 to $120,000.

Superintendent Opening
Valdez City Schools
Valdez, Alaska

Closing Date for Applications: December 11, 2017

The Valdez City Schools, Valdez, Alaska, Board of Education, is seeking a highly qualified and fully certified Superintendent. The Board wishes to have the successful candidate assume the responsibilities of the position July 1, 2018.
Apply to:

Contact information:
McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C.
7905 L St., Suite 310
Omaha, NE 68127

Superintendent Opening
Chatham School District
Angoon, Alaska

Closing Date for application: January 8, 2018

Superintendent Opening for 2018-2019

For more information please contact:
Email: Susan Sciabbarrasi, Superintendent of Schools
Phone: 907-788-3302
Superintendent Opening
Nenana City School District
Nenana, Alaska

Closing date for applications: Applications submitted by regular mail or e-mail must be received by 5:00 pm Alaska Time, Monday, January 15, 2018.

The Nenana City School District is requesting applications for the position of Superintendent. Expected start date: July 1, 2018.

Candidates should send a letter of interest, a CV or résumé, and three professional references to:
Susan Kauffman, Secretary to the Superintendent
Nenana City School District
PO Box 10
Nenana, AK 99760
Phone: 907-832-5464

Applications may be submitted via regular mail or e-mail and must be received by 5:00 p.m. Alaska Time on Monday, January 15, 2018.

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTube  View on Instagram  View our photos on flickr