Education Bulletin
November | 2022
Mission: Leadership, Unity, and Advocacy for Public Education
2022 Theme:
Persevering Together
A message from ACSA President
Brendan Wilson
"Persevering as a Community of Educators"

Brendan Wilson

President, Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) and President Alaska Association of Secondary Principals (AASSP)

Principal, Begich Middle School

Last year, "persevering together” meant supporting each other as we endeavored to keep our schools open through staffing and student attendance challenges caused by variant waves of Covid-19. The challenges have changed as we’ve learned to live with the virus. Staffing is still an issue for most of us, but now it’s not as much about attendance as it is about finding employees. Turnover isn’t unique to school districts; many legislative seats will change with the coming election. This compounds the funding issues many of us face as federal pandemic-relief phases out. 
A message from ACSA Executive Director
Dr. Lisa Parady
"Persevering Together in Advocacy for Public Education "

Dr. Lisa S. Parady
Executive Director

Public schools across Alaska are heading toward the fiscal cliff, and their leaders must make tough decisions that won't be popular in their communities. While the media tends to cover the significant budget cuts by urban school districts, a recent article in the Alaska Daily News reminds us that flat funding for the last seven years is taking a toll on all of Alaska's public schools. 

We now have a much clearer picture of who will represent our communities in Juneau during the Legislative session in January. Now is the time for you to share the challenges your district and schools face with your legislators, both new and returning. If you aren't having this dialog, who will control the narrative for public education in Alaska? 
A message from ASA President
Dr. Bridget Weiss
"Persevering with Joy"

Dr. Bridget Weiss

President, Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)

Superintendent, Juneau School District

ACSA Members Unite! How do we “persevere together” and why is “together” an important factor? I have always found greater strength and success when I had the opportunity to be “together” and now, more than ever, our students and families need us to come together and ensure resources and solutions that support their academic and social and emotional needs. I can’t do that alone…YOU can’t do that alone…but together, I have great hope for what the future holds.  
 
As a kindergarten student, much longer ago than I care to admit, my teacher wrote on my report card “Bridget relies too much on her peers”. When I found that old report card and began reflecting on that comment, I decided to take it as a compliment.
A message from ASA President-Elect
Dr. Roy Getchell
"Leaders help their teams and students persevere"

Dr. Roy Getchell

President-Elect, Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)

Superintendent,
Haines Borough School District

Some of the best memories of my youth are of participating on a team with my friends.  Whether it was athletic or academic, we all had the same goal of winning and the older we got, the more we were satisfied by not only doing well ourselves, but in celebrating the success pf our teammates.  Good things happen when teams work together.

As educational leaders I think we can all points along the way as we work on behalf of our students.  My guess is that highlights are always times when we participate in and hopefully facilitate an environment where teamwork and collaboration lead to the synergy required to help good things happen, especially when things are difficult.   Good things happen when we persevere together.
A message from Special Education Service Agency (SESA) ASA Representative Clayton Holland
"Special Education Service Agency: Fall Update"

Clayton Holland
SESA Representative
Superintendent, Kenai Peninsula School District

With Olivia Yancey as the new executive director, Special Education Service Agency (SESA) continues to operate the Low Incidence Disabilities (LID) Program, The Anne Freitag Library, Alaska Autism Resource Center (AARC), Alaska Center for Accessible Materials (AKCAM), and the Alaska Deaf-Blind Project. 

SESA provides qualified low incidence education specialists to Alaska’s 54 school districts in need of professional development and training.
A message from AAESP President
"Alaska's Principals: Better Together"

Josh Gill
President, Alaska Association of
Elementary School Principals

The first quarter has flown by, and the winter season is now upon us. Looking back at the first quarter, one of the most memorable experiences for me was attending the 56th Annual Principal conference. Adam Welcome's keynote about challenging students and making decisions to ensure students are put first has inspired me to look at my professional practice. After much thought, I began with my approach to the curriculum and enriching instruction.

As part of this reflection, Code.org will visit our staff in December to share how coding across the grades is possible. It is exciting to know that staff will be equipped with the tools to teach our students the ins and outs of coding, allowing them to take their learning to a higher level.
A message from AAESP Executive Director
Jennifer Schmitz
"Navigating and Persevering through new challenges"

Jennifer Schmitz
Executive Director,
Alaska Association of Elementary Principals

I remember back in 2020 as the Covid Pandemic was in full swing and thinking that as soon as Covid was somewhat under control, things would go back to “normal,” and the more-than-challenging times would be behind us. As we approach 2023, I have realized that although some challenges aren’t as significant, new ones are taking their place. Although schools may not currently be facing shutdowns due to illnesses, we are now facing schools closing permanently due to a budget crisis in our state. We may not be trying to teach via Zoom daily, but we are struggling to help students catch up with their academic skills after some inconsistent learning over the past two years. We may not be as worried about students’ safety since they are back in our schools, but we are seeing mental health issues related to the past couple of years.
A message from ALASBO President Andy Ratliff
"Raising Awareness of the Upcoming Fiscal Cliff"

Andy Ratliff

President, Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO)

Hello all, and welcome back to a new school year! I hope everyone was able to get some much-needed rest over the summer and take some time off to spend enjoying some of the adventures that our great state has to offer. As I write this article, my own children are finishing up their first quarter of school, and while they are still sad to see summer come to an end, they are getting into their routine and excited to play in the snow again. 

Just like clockwork, along with the new school year comes a new crisis. For this year’s main crisis, our district, like many others, has been beleaguered by staffing shortages causing some suspended bus routes and hot lunch service, among other issues.
A message from ALASBO Executive Director
Darcy Carter
"Persevering together for a common goal"

Darcy Carter

Executive Director, Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO)

Persevering can mean carrying on even when it feels overwhelming. We take the first step, then we put one foot in front of the other and continue forward down paths even if they have obstacles. When we persevere in helping others, it is easier to feel positive about tasks that can sometimes involve hardships.

Togetherness is what gives us the support and energy to take that first step and keep persevering. By acting together, we can often learn of and let go of boundaries we have created, and we can grow. 
A message from NASSP Region VII State Coordinator Robyn Taylor
"Persevering for Better Education Outcomes"

Robyn Taylor

NASSP Region VII State Coordinator

Just when I felt we were through the covid struggles of turning on a dime to provide education for students, our building was hit with another whammy causing us to brainstorm, respond, and figure out how to function while trying to start the school year. After officially returning from summer break for two days, our building had an electrical failure and lost power. The power outage resulted from the failure of an obsolete part with the hope a replacement could be located somewhere in the U.S. and installed in working order to get the building open to start school. Through collaborative work between our district office, maintenance, teachers, staff, etc., we persevered together, maintaining our respective roles and developing a plan. 
Congratulations to the 2023
ASA Superintendent of the Year
Bill Hill, superintendent of the Bristol Bay Borough School District, was named 2023 Alaska Superintendent of the year by the Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA). 

Bill Hill, an alumnus of the school district, has served as their superintendent since 2013. During his tenure, he has focused on improving the education system, implementing early literacy programs, developing Career & Technical Education programs, and implementing Alaska Native Science and Engineering programming while fostering relationships with the community. 

Michael Swain, Bristol Bay Borough School District Board President, said, “Bill’s ability to communicate and establish relationships is one of his greatest strengths and benefits our district immensely.”
Superintendent of the Year Profile Video
Congratulations to the 2023 AASSP
Assistant Principal of the Year and
Regional Assistant Principals of the Year
Karen Bloxsom has been named the 2023 Assistant Principal of the Year by the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP). She is also recognized as the 2023 Alaska Region VIII Assistant Principal of the Year.

The AASSP Assistant Principal of the Year program annually recognizes outstanding middle level and high school assistant principals who have successfully provided high-quality learning opportunities for students. In addition, these assistant principals are acknowledged by their peers for the exemplary contributions they have made to the profession.

AASSP President Brendan Wilson said, “Karen Bloxsom is an extraordinary leader who has created a school culture where students thrive. It is the distinct privilege of the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals to announce her as the 2023 Alaska Assistant Principal of Year!”
New and Incoming Superintendent Support Program
"Creating Strong Leaders for Alaska's Schools"

Sean Dusek

Superintendent Support Services Coordinator,
Alaska Superintendents Association

Leadership development has been a deeply held priority for the Alaska Superintendents Association for many years. This forward-thinking approach has evolved into supporting several programs to combat superintendent turnover and prepare the next generation to lead our school districts.

Our association has invested in our new superintendents through a high-quality transition program incorporating executive-level coaching throughout the process. This year twenty-one first- and second-year superintendents are participating in monthly webinars focused on just-in-time professional learning about pertinent issues.
A message from
the Consortium for School Networking
"EmpowerED Superintendent edLeader Panel Series"


The Consortium for School Networking

The next live broadcast of the CoSN / AASA EmpowerED Superintendent edLeader Panel Series, Planning and Sustaining Technology Innovations: Aligning Priorities, Costs, and Outcomesairs on Monday, December 12, 2022, at 1:00 pm Alaska Time. Dr. Chris Gaines, Superintendent, Mehlville School District, MO, along with Dr. Kelly May-Vollmar, Superintendent, Desert Sands Unified School District, CA, and Dr. Aaron Spence, Superintendent, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, VA, share the strategies they lead in their school districts to evaluate, rethink, and strengthen district technology decision making
A message from the
Alaska Staff Development Network
"Alaska Staff Development Professional Development Offerings"

By Doug Gray, ASDN Professional Development Director

Greetings! It is hard to believe that fall is already starting to fade, and winter will soon be upon us. As the year progresses, it is easy to lose track of those professional development opportunities that enhance our practice. Don’t forget that much of that PD can earn credits towards recertification and even salary advancement. Please take a look at our website www.asdn.org for unique workshops, classes, and webinars. We have self-paced courses, webinars, and face-to-face classes.

Our largest professional development conference is just around the corner. Preparations for the 12th Annual RTI/MTSS Effective Instruction Conference are underway and many nationally recognized presenters will share research-based strategies to build upon your educational practices.
A message from the
Alaska School Leadership Academy
"ASLA Begins Semester with Record Participation"

By Jennifer Rinaldi, ASLA Principal Lead

The Alaska School Leadership Academy (ASLA) has successfully kicked off their year with a record 57 participants in both Cohort 4 and Cohort 5! Participants in the program represent new administrators across the state, and each new principal is partnered with an experienced mentor who provides support throughout the first two years of their leadership experience. 

Our ASLA participants were very excited to meet in person at the recent Alaska Principal’s Conference held in Anchorage last month, and had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Sue Alborn-Yelik who spoke to mentees on the following four pillars of successful school leadership.
Our Alaskan Schools Blog
"Passing on Knowledge and Wisdom Through the Qaspeq"

By Nikki Corbett

I made my first qaspeq when I was around 10 or 11 years old with my sister/cousin/aunt. And then I didn’t pick up sewing a qaspeq again until I was in college in my mid-20s. As a kid I would watch my auntie sew qaspeqs and would just be in awe of her beautiful creations. I longed to be able to sew. The sewing skills I learned at school thanks to my amazing Yup’ik teachers. I am forever thankful for their teachings and it has been a dream of mine to be able to teach and share the knowledge that I learned from grade school, my aunt, and my college qaspeq teachers.
From our Diamond Sponsor
"Speech-Language Pathologists and Telehealth"

Imagine Learning

For all its literal and figurative closures, the Covid-19 pandemic has also opened possibilities. Rules and regulations around everything from dining and delivery to medicine and (of course) education have been scaled back or shifted, allowing innovation and creativity to shape new routines. 

Just ask the speech-language pathologists (SLPs). 

Telemedicine and teletherapy were already gaining traction before we all started masking and counting variants, but the school shutdowns of spring 2020 propelled SLPs into the virtual therapy world with little to no preparation. 
From our Platinum Sponsor
"Don’t Discount the Power of Relationships"

Michael Lopes Serrao
Superintendent of Parkrose School District in Portland, Oregon,
An AVID National Demonstration School

Leading a school district through a pandemic has reaffirmed my belief in prioritizing relationships as the foundation for instruction, culture, systems, and leadership. Like so many other school districts throughout the country, Parkrose School District 003 in Portland, Oregon was hit hard in the early days of the pandemic. Not only was learning disrupted for everyone, but many of our families were also grieving the loss of loved ones or navigating serious health complications because of the COVID-19 virus. 
Upcoming Events
December 5-7 - ALASBO Annual Conference, Anchorage

January 28-29 - Alaska RTI/MTSS Effective Instruction Conference, Anchorage

February 25 - March 1 - ACSA Legislative Fly-In, Juneau
ACSA Board of Directors & Staff
Board Members and Affiliated Staff
Brendan Wilson, ACSA President & AASSP President
Begich Middle School
Dr. Bridget Weiss,
ASA President
Juneau School District
Dr. Roy Getchell,
ASA President-Elect
Haines Borough School District
Rick Dormer, AASSP President-Elect
Petersburg High School and Mitkof Middle School
Robyn Taylor, NASSP Alaska State Coordinator
Hutchison High School
Josh Gill,
AAESP President
Gladys Jung Elementary School
Lori Rucksdashel,
AAESP President-Elect
Chinook Elementary School
Jennifer Schmitz
AAESP Executive Director
Andy Ratliff
Andrew Ratliff,
ALASBO President
Anchorage School District
Yodean Armour,
ALASBO President-Elect
Klawock School District
Darcy Carter
ALASBO Executive Director
ACSA Team
Dr. Lisa S. Parady
Executive Director,
ACSA/ASA/AASSP
Dominique Johnson
Public Information Officer, ACSA
Sam Jordan
Grant Director, ACSA/ASDN
Chalalin Giron
Development & Membership Services Manager, ACSA
Doug Gray
ASDN Professional Development Director
Kathy Blanc
ASDN Support
Nicole O'Donnell
Grants Manager, ASDN
Natalie Troy
ACSA Fellow
Sean Dusek
Superintendent Support Services Coordinator, ASA
Geri Mata
ACSA Program Support
Cheryl Bobo
Alaska Regional Program Manager Code.org
Tammy Morris
Engagement Manager,
AkPLN