Education Bulletin
May | 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

The transition from spring to summer is usually my favorite time of the year in Alaska. The snow is disappearing as buds on trees are developing, and the promise of a beautiful summer season lies ahead. It’s also an excellent time for reflection on education. When I chose “persevering together” as this year’s theme, I was inspired by how education leaders in our state have come together over the last two years amid the many challenges we have faced.

Life events often put things in proper perspective for us. Seven days before I typed this, one of my teachers unexpectedly passed away. He was young, vibrant, and likely a future educational leader. His students loved him and sharing this news with them was devastating.
A message from ACSA Executive Director
Dr. Lisa Parady
"Progress for Education through Perseverance "

Dr. Lisa S. Parady
Executive Director

Over the last two and half year’s education leaders in Alaska have persevered through the many challenges of the pandemic together. As we cautiously look forward to a school year without mitigation plans at the forefront, I am asking that we come together again as leaders who put our students first, as important education legislation needs our support to reach the finish line during the final days of session. Things can shift quickly - so stay tuned!

Members of the legislature have heard your testimony and your stories have resonated with them. The operating budget, HB 281, that has been adopted by Senate Finance includes:

  • Full funding for the BSA and pupil transportation
  • Full forward funding of the BSA and pupil transportation for FY24
  • $60 million in one-time funds outside the BSA (Added through an amendment by the Senate Finance Committee on 4/21. If a BSA increase bill passes, this money will be removed from the budget.)...
A message from ASA President
Dr. Bobby Bolen
"Be an example of Persistence and Perseverance"

Dr. Bobby Bolen

President, Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)

Superintendent, Bering Strait School District

Educators strive to encourage and ensure students' well-being and assist them in their educational efforts to never give up on their dreams. Just as some students are excited by new and challenging tasks, superintendents must also attack new challenging tasks as a mountain summit they must reach. This requires taking that first step up the mountain by starting small and remaining constant throughout the endeavor. The summit may seem more than can be handled and often insurmountable in today's educational environment. Unfortunately, the hesitation sometimes prevents districts from even taking the first step.

Just as educators believe that all students can learn, superintendents must also believe that all districts can overcome their challenges through persistence.
A message from Special Education Service Agency (SESA) ASA Representative Clayton Holland
"Year End Update: Special Education Service Agency"

Clayton Holland
SESA Representative
Superintendent, Kenai Peninsula School District

With the support of superintendents and communities across Alaska, and an Alaska Division of Legislative Audit recommendation for maximum extension, SESA was successfully reauthorized for another eight years beginning July 1, 2021. SESA also received a funding increase to sustain the agency until the next sunset date of June 30, 2029.

With expiration of the current facility lease on June 30, 2022 and the changing work conditions as a result of the pandemic, SESA actively researched alternate premises to save on rent and cater to alternate work locations. The SESA Board has approved a new lease with reduced rent at Suite 2, 2600 Denali Towers in Anchorage. Occupancy is projected to be September 1, 2022.
A message from Professional Teaching Practices Commission (PTPC) ASA Representative
 Jamie Burgess
"It's Hiring Season! Ethic Considerations for Principals and Superintendents"

Jamie Burgess
PTPC Representative
Superintendent, Nome School District

Break-up season is upon us once again, and we are all very busy recruiting new teachers for our schools for the coming year. With the job market in education becoming more challenging than ever, principals and superintendents often face some unpleasant situations during the hiring season. Sometimes a returning teacher will sign a contract, then later present their supervisor with a resignation letter, creating an unexpected vacancy often accompanied by hard feelings on the part of the supervisor. Or a new hire will accept an offer but then want to back out in favor of a better offer elsewhere. Supervisors sometimes want to consider filing a complaint with the PTPC to remedy the situation.
A message from AAESP President Jennifer Rinaldi
"Education Leaders: A model of consistency and perseverance"

Jennifer Rinaldi 
President, Alaska Association of Elementary Principals

Greeting, ACSA Members!
The sun is shining, and the days are getting longer here again in our great state! Along with this increased, and very much welcome daylight, comes the time to celebrate all the wonderful things that have transpired in our schools and communities over the course of the last year. There is so much for Alaskan educators at all levels to be proud of throughout our state, and there is a definite air of excitement as we look back on all the growth that has occurred in our students and staff despite the challenges and roadblocks that have required enormous amount of skill to navigate. 

Through it all, our members have embodied the ACSA theme of “Persevering Together” by continually providing strong leadership and collaboration focused on what matters most: Our students and families.
A message from AAESP Executive Director
Jennifer Schmitz
"Principals show unwavering leadership for Alaska's Students"

Jennifer Schmitz
Executive Director,
Alaska Association of Elementary Principals

What do a Sourdough from 1895, a sailor from Shackleton’s Endurance, a Navy SEAL, and a modern-day principal have in common? They all share a deeply rooted, unshakable belief in their ability to attain a goal. Their goals are varied: riches and a better life; survival; prestige; the ability to improve the lives of children, among others. 

What is common amongst them is an unwavering belief that gave them (or gives them) the fortitude to endure significant pain, suffering, and setbacks as they strive to reach their goals.
A message from ALASBO President Andy Ratliff
"Sharing Success Stories to Advocate for Public Education"

Andy Ratliff

President, Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO)

Greetings, ACSA members, and happy Spring! The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and budget season is in full swing. It was great to finally see many of you in person at the legislative fly-in, and I feel like we made a lot of progress in our advocacy efforts. Reflecting on the many conversations that I had with legislators on both sides of the aisle, a recurring theme kept coming up; districts need to be able to tell their success stories and show the value of public education and ensure that we are being efficient with the dollars provided. 

As we prepare our respective budgets and hope that we are funded enough to, at the very least, continue current levels of service to our students, it will be as important as ever to continue advocating for education and detail the impact that inflationary pressures have put on all our finances. 
A message from AASSP Assistant Principal of the Year Will Chervenak
"Becoming resilient through perseverance"

Will Chervenak 
AASSP Assistant Principal of the Year
Kenai Central High School

It is hard to believe that it is already April and summer will soon be upon us. As I compose my thoughts, I glance outside my office window and look fondly upon the receding winter snow and the emerging grass slowly taking its place. I also notice the birds pairing up, the young moose that populate the school grounds and nearby neighborhood, and the daylight that now pervades my morning and afternoon commutes to school. The signs of breakup are firmly upon us, and with this season of change, I am reminded of the many changes that have occurred over this semester – both good and difficult alike. 

I am also encouraged by the resiliency of our kids and their families and the love of our staff for all of our students. It is nothing short of remarkable to think about all we have endured and persevered through together. 
Congratulations to the 2022 AASSP Principal of the Year and Regional Principals of the Year
The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP) is proud to announce our Alaska Principal of the Year for 2022 is Mary Fulp, principal of Colony Middle School in Palmer, Alaska. 

Principal Fulp is a lifelong Alaskan who received her Bachelor's in Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She also completed her Master's in Educational Leadership, with a Superintendent Endorsement from UAA. Fulp has spent 24 years working in education in Alaska and 17 years as a principal in the Mat-Su School District. 

Principal Fulp has been an advocate for education throughout her career, serving as Past-President of the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) and the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals. She also serves as a principal mentor for the Alaska School Leadership Academy. She was selected by her peers as the AASSP Region 8 Principal of the Year for 2022.
Sterling Elementary School, Principal Denise Kelly, named Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals National Distinguished Principal for 2022.

The Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals is proud to announce our National Distinguished Principal for 2022 is Denise Kelly, principal of Sterling Elementary School in Sterling, Alaska. The 2022 National Distinguished Principal Celebration marks the 38th year that the National Association of Elementary School Principals has presented this prestigious award.

Denise Kelly was nominated and selected by her fellow principals through a statewide search process conducted by the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals. She was presented with the award at a surprise assembly this morning with her family, school community, AAESP board members and Kenai Borough School District leaders in attendance. 
Congratulations to the
2022 AAESP National Distinguished Principal
New and Incoming Superintendent Support Program
"NISS Mentor Program Continues to see Successful Results"

Sean Dusek

Superintendent Support Services Coordinator,
Alaska Superintendents Association

This year, as an organization, we were able to support several leadership programs to find strength through ongoing difficulties at all levels of our communities. The new superintendents, district-level leaders, and aspiring superintendents focused on perseverance, balance, and improving student learning despite the local, state, and national politics while implementing a bumpy return to “normal.” Overall, these programs served 48 professional education leaders around Alaska to prepare for and grow into their roles. 

The new superintendent program will see nine second-year superintendents and 17 first-year (new to the profession and/or new to the district) superintendents next year.
A message from
the Consortium for School Networking
"CoSN 2022 Annual Report and The EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar Series"

The Consortium for School Networking

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) in partnership with the Alaska Superintendents Association, is pleased to continue to support the work of current and aspiring superintendents and district leadership teams in leading all aspects of digital learning transformations. 

CoSN Annual Report: “Onward – CoSN from 2020 to Now”
During the recent CoSN 2022 Annual Conference in Nashville, TN, CoSN released its annual report. This very special report shares the story of CoSN over the past two years. You are invited to read how the CoSN leadership, staff and members responded to the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. Learn how CoSN found innovative ways to stay committed to the association’s strategies and goals within the context of multiple new challenges.
A message from the
Alaska Staff Development Network
"14th Annual ASLI Conference: 'Preparing for the Fall Forecast'"

By Sam Jordan, ACSA/ASDN Grant Director

After two years online, the 14th Alaska School Leadership Institute (ASLI) returns as an in-person conference on May 25-27, 2022. At ASLI, school district teams gather a team together to get inspired, reflect on what worked this year, learn from other education leaders, and gain a head start on organizing for the next school year. 

ASDN is delighted to welcome back international education researcher Dr. John Hattie for another virtual keynote address and Q&A this year. Also joining us is national leadership trainer Jimmy Casas to facilitate the conference over the first two days, and work with us on how to manage difficult situations in schools with dignity and respect. 
Our Alaskan Schools Blog
"Alaska Alexander Archipelago Tongass to Tidal Science Academy, Port Alexander, AK"

By Julia Trischman

Have you ever heard of AAATTSA? Alaska Alexander Archipelago Tongass to Tidal Science Academy is a magnet program in the Port Alexander School within the Southeast Island School District. Six high school students from all over the nation flew to Sitka, Alaska, then took an adventurous float plane ride to remote Port Alexander to find themselves fully embracing nature in an off-grid community. 

While living in Port Alexander and attending the Port Alexander School, students were also enrolled in a rigorous 9-week Environmental and Ecological elective course. This course allowed students to dive deeper into the understanding of the Tongass and marine ecology through weekly units and weekly field studies. 
Thank you for making the
2022 ACSA Legislative Fly-In a Success!
The Alaska School Leadership Academy Seeks Applicants for the 2022-23 School Year
ASLA is a unique program designed to support early career principals in Alaska by connecting them with a collegial cohort engaged in networking, skill building, and mutual support. The program is available to principals in all districts across the state. 

Participation includes: 

  • Monthly mentoring - Each participant is paired with an Alaska-based, seasoned principal who will serve as a professional mentor. 
  • Face to Face Meetings - Program participants take part in three in-person meetings throughout the year: The Alaska Principals Conference (October). RTI MTSS Effective Instruction (January), and the Alaska School Leadership Institute (May)
  • Topical Webinars - Opportunities throughout the year to join webinars on 'Hot Topics' in education, K-12 advocacy and data driven instructional leadership
  • Book Study and Ongoing Discussion Group - Facilitated online discussions focused on school leadership

Please help us spread the word and pass the application along to principals you think might be interested. Applications close on September 1. If you have questions, please email Nicole O’Donnell at
After two years online, the 14th Alaska School Leadership Institute will be back in-person again! Gather a team together to get inspired, and to gain a head start on organizing for fall. Reflect on what worked this year and learn from other education leaders.

We are delighted to welcome back Dr. John Hattie for another virtual keynote address and Q & A this year. 

Jimmy Casas will facilitate the conference over the first two days, and work with us on how to manage difficult situations in schools with dignity and respect. Sarah Johnson will address systemic trauma and how to get back the necessary time to work on things that matter most, Janelle Vanasse will share tools and strategies to support schools in becoming more culturally responsive in college readiness practices, and Tammy Van Wyhe will bring educators up to date on leading literacy improvement efforts next year.
From our Platinum Sponsor Curriculum Associates
"The Science of Reading: Getting it Right This Time"

Elizabeth Bassford
Vice President of Content and Implementation,
Curriculum Associates

I’m becoming one of those people: in the throes of conversation, I assert music from the 60’s or 70’s people will not know, or reference television shows from my ‘tween years like Mod Squad or Adam 12. There is always a collective blank look and a couple of beats before the chatter picks up again and the train that carries the future slowly pulls away…

I get that same stare when I am speaking to a large group of educators and ask-- was anyone teaching during the Reading First years?  Polite silence; maybe a little shifting. If there are a few remaining administrators from my era in the group, the hands go up slowly as if admitting to it is an embarrassment equivalent to having fallen for the Fyre Festival.
Upcoming Events
May 25-27 - Alaska School Leadership Institute, Anchorage

July 15-17 - ALASBO Summer Leadership Conference, Fairbanks

July 24-26 - ASA/DEED Joint Summer Meeting, Juneau

September 28-October 1 - ASA Fall Conference, Homer

October 14-15 - Alaska Principals' Conference, Anchorage

December 5-7 - ALASBO Annual Conference, Anchorage

January 28-29 - Alaska RTI/MTSS Effective Instruction Conference, Anchorage
ACSA Board of Directors & Staff
Board Members and Affiliated Staff
Brendan Wilson, ACSA President & AASSP President
Begich Middle School
Dr. Bobby Bolen,
ASA President
Bering Strait School District
Dr. Bridget Weiss,
ASA President-Elect
Juneau School District
Rick Dormer, AASSP President-Elect
Petersburg High School and Mitkof Middle School
Robyn Taylor, NASSP Alaska State Coordinator
Hutchison High School
Jennifer Rinaldi,
AAESP President
Willow Elementary School
Josh Gill,
AAESP President-Elect
Gladys Jung 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
Dr. Lisa S. Parady
Executive Director,
Dominique Johnson
Public Information Officer, ACSA
Sam Jordan
Grant Director, ACSA/ASDN
Chalalin Giron
Development & Membership Services Manager, ACSA
Heather Johnson-Smith
Special Projects, ACSA
Kathy Blanc
ASDN Professional Development Director
Kelly Tonsmeire
Grant Program Manager, ASDN
Ceann Murphy
Office Manager, ACSA
Program Coordinator, ASDN
Noelle Derse
Grants Manager, ASDN
Nicole O'Donnell
Grants Manager, ASDN
Patrick O'Connor
ACSA Fellow
Sean Dusek
Superintendent Support Services Coordinator, ASA
Cheryl Bobo
Alaska Regional Program Manager
Tammy Morris
Engagement Manager,