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.

64th Annual Conference
Group discussion during the Experienced Board Members Academy

Whew! The 64th was one for the books!

New logo, old friends, Alaska's largest talking circle, electric ukeleles, Zaretta truth bombs, hot topics, cool auction items, roundtables, snapshots, celebrations of board excellence, impressive student orators, and more informative sectionals than you could shake a smartphone at!

Too much happened to recount here, but included below are some selected recaps of key presentations you may have missed, or want to remember!

Slideshows & Movies
Wish you could recall what that one amazing and inspirational slide said? Most of the  slideshows and movies you saw during the conference are posted here.

Thanks to our "snap happy" attendees, an impressive pile of crowd-sourced photos documenting many moments from our four days together were posted to the app.
Visit the AASB Flickr page to browse (or download) them all!
Norm Wooten
AASB Executive Director
Lori Grassgreen
Director of Alaska ICE
Michael Swain
2018 AASB Board President
A Short History of Reaching Peak Performance
Every organization must continually examine itself to ensure it is following best practices. To do less is to fail. AASB has long embraced this process. Here's where it took us.
The Whole Child and Whole School: a Trauma Informed Approach
Local wisdom, research, and educational practice indicate that trauma is a significant barrier for students to come to school ready and able to learn. 
Moving Alaska Education Forward with One Unified Voice
I hate the saying "think outside of the box." I'm over it. Instead, I think it's about time we smash the box and give it a swift kick down the road.
Zaretta Hammond:  Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain  
By Lori Grassgreen, Director of Alaska ICE
Zaretta Hammond
The Association of Alaska School Boards had the great privilege to welcome Zaretta Hammond as keynote speaker at our annual conference. Zaretta Hammond is a long-time educator in the Oakland Unified School District and author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. She began her presentation reminding the audience that "The burden is on us to create systems for students and families to be successful."
Zaretta's PUMP ME UP Playlists 
This is your brain on music
Following her keynote address, author and educator Zaretta Hammond devoted a portion of her followup sectional presentation to discussing the effects of music on the brain, and how music can be used effectively to engage students. She led a spirited group activity in which she challenged attendees to develop playlists of their favorite songs in three categories: 1) Pump Me Up, 2) Its Gonna Be Alright, and 3) Walking On Sunshine. Here are the song lists the groups came up with:  
Youth Leadership Institute Students Bring Experience and Strength
By Konrad Frank, AASB Community Engagement Educator 
YLI students perform at the Saturday Awards Banquet
Gunalchéesh, thank you to everyone who attended and gave us support for another successful year at the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI). YLI is successful due to the collaboration with students, school districts, Elders, community partners, and of course the coordination of AASB staff. We greatly appreciate the time and efforts that came from both our students and presenters. In our short, but productive time together, the Initiative for Community Engagement team and chaperones had the opportunity to watch our youth grow socially and produce great work. 
AASB Membership Defines Where-We-Stand in 2018
By Lon Garrison, School Improvement Coordinator  
Resolutions process in action
The AASB resolutions process culminated on Sunday, November 12th at the Anchorage Hilton hotel when the membership, after some slight amending, voted to adopt the 129 resolutions, which define the positions and primary concerns of the Association of Alaska School Boards regarding education. All 35 sunsetting resolutions were approved to continue for another five years. The following ten new resolutions were approved for 2018: 
The East High School Orchestra performs at the Saturday General Session
Thanks to all who participated in this year's conference. We really enjoyed getting together with everyone to share information, ideas, and professional collegiality, and look forward to next year's gathering!

To keep the energy, learning, and involvement going between now and the next annual conference, AASB has a bunch of other great events coming up soon, including:
  • Executive Administrative Assistant Workshop, December 7-8
  • Winter Boardsmanship Academy, December 8-9
  • Leadership Fly-In, February 10-13
  • Spring Academy Fly-In, March 24-27
We hope to see you at the 65th!
Board Excellence Awards
Cordova City School District

Understanding that the strength and quality of life in a small community is directly related to the strength and quality of the public education system, the board has actively worked to enhance student success in their strategic plan and in the district. This has resulted in investments in technology, human resources, community partnerships, and innovative non-traditional measures of achievement to better meet the needs of students. These efforts have paid off. Cordova students have consistently outperformed statewide ACT averages, and Cordova was named the #1 high school in Alaska by US News and World Report. Congratulations CSD!  
Vern Carlson, Denali Borough District 
Mr. Carlson is a lifelong Alaskan from Cantwell who has continuously served on the school board since 2006, currently as president. His strong leadership and advocacy efforts are driven by two fundamental ideas: "Is it good for kids?" and "Does it support our strategic plan?" Mr. Carlson is a dedicated public servant with a passion for family, community and kids. He is a model for what it means to give unselfishly of one's time in the service of others. For his consistent efforts to make public education in Alaska a top priority, AASB is pleased to congratulate Vern Carlson for being honored as our state's school board member of the year.  
Welcome New AASB Board Members!
Josh Keaton
Lawrence Jones, Sr.
Northwest Arctic
Trevor Shaw
Your 2018 AASB Board of Directors represent school districts from across Alaska!
Guest Columns
Exceptions to student speech rights under Tinker
By Lea Filippi of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC 
Lea Filippi
Part Two of a four part review of the Freedom of Expression in Schools.
The government can limit false advertising and criminalize publishing obscene materials. But the First Amendment keeps adults mostly free to spread the news (both real and "fake"), share bad ideas, and even say mean things to each other.  
Things are different at school.
Board Member Profile: Silas Paniptchuk
Bering Strait School District Board Member and Head Start teacher from Shaktoolik 
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 Silas Paniptchuk of Bering Strait School District.  
Coding Creates Student Success Through the Process of Failure
By Eric Rush, Alternate 2018 Alaska Teacher of the Year
3rd Grade Teacher, Ticasuk Brown Elementary School, Fairbanks North Star Borough District 
Eric Rush
Coding has been an "icebreaker" of sorts for my classroom, and using it has really made a positive difference in my lessons and in my students. Students can develop reading and writing skills by organizing algorithms into precise and accurate sequences, and improve their math reasoning and problem-solving skills through the use of looping, repeating, and directional algorithms. Students can fail and restart many times with coding (this builds critical thinking skills), a part of the learning process! 
'Alaska Week of Code' Aims to Expand Computer Science in Schools 
By Samuel Jordan, Education Technology Coordinator, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Social Media Hashtag: #AlaskaWeekOfCode
The Alaska Week of Code, December 4-8, 2017, has one aim: to introduce more Alaskan students to computer coding. Through a partnership with , students, teachers, administrators and parents have access to a wide variety of activities that introduce the basic principles of coding.

Why Coding? Computer science informs almost every aspect of our lives, from communications to shopping to national security and government. Computer code is the basic language of computer science. Students are growing up with technology driving almost every aspect of their lives, and will benefit from understanding how to be critical thinkers about and creators of technology. Not only that, it's fun! 
AASB Events
Now Available on Amazon: Helping Kids Succeed - Alaskan Style   
This inspiring, practical and easy-to-read handbook spells out 40 developmental assets young people need to shape their own success. We're pleased to announce that it is now available at as an ebook for the Kindle reader or the Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer (no Kindle device required). The all-new digital edition has been edited to include Alaska-style suggestions and practices to help kids build assets at home, at school, and in the community. These assets are grouped into eight main categories: (1) support; (2) empowerment; (3) boundaries and expectations; (4) constructive use of time; (5) commitment to learning; (6) positive values; (7) social skills; and (8) positive identity. Get your copy now!
Attend the 2017 Executive Administrative Assistant Workshop to learn about:
  • New laws and regulations;
  • Tips on Robert's Rules and Parliamentary Procedure;
  • Conducting Background Checks;
  • A review of the I-9 Form
  • Policy Tracking;
  • Taking the Mess out of Minutes.
Attend the 2017 Winter Boardsmanship Academy to:
  • Get a better understanding of negotiations;
  • Gain insights into communicating with the Legislature;
  • Overall preparation for the upcoming Legislative Session.
PLEASE NOTE: The 2nd day of Winter Academy will be our Equity in Education Summit.
There's Still Time to Register!
2018 School Climate & Connectedness Survey (SCCS)  
Registration Deadline: December 20 at 5:00 pm
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   
LPSD Students and Teachers Get Creative to Meet Requirements in a Condensed School Year
By Avery Lill, KDLG, Dillingham
Tyler Croom polishes the caribou antler he is turning into a cribbage board.
Students in the Lake and Peninsula School District have less time to complete the same number of requirements this year. To meet the challenge, they are working on projects that fulfill a variety of school standards. One Port Heiden seventh grader will get credit for writing, science, art and culture for making a cribbage board out of a caribou antler.
Ryan Assistant Principal Petra Timmons Wins Statewide Recognition
By Sharice Walker, for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 
Petra Timmons
The National Association of Secondary Principals has selected Petra Timmons as the Alaska Assistant Principal of the Year. Timmons is in her fourth year as assistant principal at Ryan Middle School, but there was a time she wasn't sure if she would finish high school. "My grades were poor, my behavior was poor, my attendance in some classes was terrible. I had a lot of family support but I just was not relating to school," Timmons said. Her freshman year, Timmons encountered a school administrator who intervened in an unconventional way.
Career Tech Hosts Alaska Association of Student Governments Fall Conference 
By Jacob Mann, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman  
AASG VP Kyle Hasse speaks at the conference.
Inside the Mat-Su Career Tech High School cafeteria, more than 500 students from across the state gathered for the Alaska Association of Student Governments (AASG) Fall Conference. All students present were active representatives for their regional student governments. Some 47 schools made an appearance, from big, small, private, spiritual, charter and public. From as far as the Aleutian Islands, students, parents and advisers all traveled by boat, air and road to convene for the largest function in the association's history.
Alaska Native Graduation Rates Rise 
By Kat Sorensen, Peninsula Clarion 
Graduation rates for Native Alaskan students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District continue to rise, with 91 percent of Native students graduating in fiscal year 2017, said Native Education Program Coordinator Conrad Woodhead at the Native Leaders Gathering on Friday.
The Native Alaskan graduation rate has risen to surpass the overall district graduation rate, which was at 84 percent in FY17. In comparison, the district graduation rate in FY15 was 82 percent and the Native graduation rate was 80 percent, according to Woodhead.
Ketchikan School Board Challenged to Improve Native Education 
By Leila Kheiry, KRBD  
Haida Descendant Dancers sang and danced during Ketchikan Board meeting
The regular Ketchikan School Board meeting wasn't all business as usual. It included a celebration of Native culture and traditions, a history lesson of integration in the local school district, and a challenge to improve how Ketchikan's schools educate its Native students. November is Alaska Native Heritage Month, and for the past few years the Ketchikan School Board has recognized that by holding its November meeting in the Native Village of Saxman.
Over $1 Million in Federal Grants Awarded to KIC's Education & Training Dept.
By Mary Kauffman, SitNews, Ketchikan 
Ketchikan Indian Community's Education and Training Department has been awarded two new federal grants to improve educational outcomes for Native students in the Ketchikan area. According to Katie Jo Parrott, KIC Education and Training Director, Ketchikan Indian Community received a 4-year US Department of Education Discretionary grant to address higher levels of professional, vocational, and educational achievement for youth ages 12-21.
Report Finds Potential for Insurance Savings Under Consolidated Coverage
By Naomi Klouda, Alaska Journal of Commerce 
Mark Foster of Foster & Associates speaks to Commonwealth North
The state or federal government covers 340,000 people in Alaska and retirees out-of-state, spending $3.5 billion per year between Medicaid and federal and state employee groups. Currently a patchwork of policies divide the state pie this way: $615 million per year for Medicaid recipients; $546 million for retired public employees; $307 million for State of Alaska employees; $315 million for school districts, $65 million for University of Alaska employees; and various political subdivisions at $216 million.
No More Cross-Town Rivalry: Juneau to Have New District-Wide Football Team
By Adelyn Baxter, KTOO  
TMHS Falcons and JDHS Crimson Bears fight it out in the 2011 Glacier Bowl.
Instead of consolidating Thunder Mountain High School's football team and cheer squad into Juneau Douglas High School's as planned, the Juneau School District will create a completely new team. In a statement, district Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett said the new football team will not sport the name, colors or mascot of either school. Instead, Juneau students will play on a team representing the entire district.
Governor Walker Lowers Flags in Honor of Former Representative Dr. Joshua Wright
Katie Marquette, Office of the Governor / Alaska Native News 
Representative Dr. Joe Ryan
Governor Bill Walker ordered all Alaska State flags be lowered in honor of former Alaska State Representative Joe Ryan, who passed away in Fairbanks on November 7th at the age of 80. Representative Ryan served in the 20th Alaska State Legislature, from 1997-1998. "Representative Ryan was a passionate advocate for our state. His love of the outdoors and commitment to public service truly embody what it means to be Alaskan," Governor Walker said.
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 >
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
Send application materials 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 Dillingham superintendent/CEO search.
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.

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
Chatham School District
Angoon, Alaska

Closing Date for application: January 8, 2018

Superintendent Opening for 2018-2019

Please contact:
Jim Nygaard, Superintendent of Schools for more information.
Phone: (907) 835-4357
Nenana City School District
Nenana, Alaska

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.
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