Education Bulletin
October | 2021
Mission: Leadership, Unity, and Advocacy for Public Education
Leading Together for Alaska's Students (2021 Theme)
A message from ACSA President
Kerry Boyd
"Taking time to reflect"

Kerry Boyd

President, Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) and Past-President Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)

Superintendent, Yukon-Koyukuk School District

Reflection. As we work with our students, our teachers, our colleagues, our communities, we often engage them in reflection. We reflect as a tool to problem solve, process where we have been, and determine where we want to be. We look for ways we might improve and celebrate our accomplishments.

As I reflect, I take a deep breath. This past year was tough. We faced challenges like no other.  
A message from our Executive Director
Dr. Lisa S. Parady
"Taking care of each other, showing appreciation"

Dr. Lisa S. Parady
Executive Director

As we celebrate National Principals Month, I want to express my gratitude to all our principals and assistant principals for their leadership on behalf of the students, staffs and communities in our state. It has not been easy during these challenging and unprecedented times. During this month of recognition and appreciation, I hope that your staff and communities have shown you the support and gratitude you deserve for the great work you continue to do.

As I think about the critical importance of showing appreciation, my mind turns to the pandemic which has continued longer than many of us could have imagined, and as it continues, I have noticed the toll it has taken on many of our education leaders. Superintendents, elementary and secondary principals, business officials and all hard-working administrators at the district and school levels have supported their teachers and staff members tirelessly often at the expense of their own self-care. 
A message from ASA President
Dr. Bobby Bolen
"Stronger & Better Together"

Dr. Bobby Bolen

President, Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)

Superintendent, Bering Strait School District

It is October, and unfortunately, the tiresome coronavirus is still hanging around. I know you all joined me in wishing and hoping that by this time in 2021, we would be past this pandemic, and all our schools would be open for face-to-face instruction and seeing students roaming the halls of our schools every day. The superintendent job has been one of many trials and tribulations over the last two years. The position is unique when compared to other jobs in the country; often, superintendents have been locked in isolation with the responsibility of making the ultimate call surrounding the safety of our students, staff, and communities. This has weighed heavily on the mental health and well-being of all of us. In addition, superintendents are faced daily with making decisions to please multiple constituents, including our boards, staff, students, and communities.

During this pandemic, there have been four emerging global trends in education.
A message from our AASSP President
Robin Jones 2021
"Lessons Beyond the Classroom"

Robin Jones

President, Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals, Past President ACSA

Principal, Chief Ivan Blunka School
Southwest Region School District

I was recently down at the beach preparing to launch our boat for an evening moose hunt when I had the opportunity to connect with three brothers, two former students, and one current student, who were headed out for a week of camping. This was on a school night in a community that has recently been afflicted with a significant number of positive COVID-19 cases, which prompted our school to go remote. With the lack of infrastructure needed to support online learning, going remote has meant providing the students with paper packets for each subject that covers content a week at a time. This modality is far from ideal, as is the situation we find ourselves in once again this year as we navigate the unexpected twists and turns brought on by the pandemic. 

Our conversation with the brothers was so genuine and fun as we recounted crossing paths with them a few days before about four hours upriver in a creek only accessible by jet boat. 
A message from AAESP President
"Finding the brightness during challenging times"

Jennifer Rinaldi

President, Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals

Principal, Willow Elementary and Beryozova

Happy fall to all of Alaska’s outstanding principals who are working tirelessly to support education in Alaska! 

As we enter into the season of celebration, which in Alaska also coincides with the season of darkness, I want to encourage you to find the light that shines brightly within each of us, our staff, and most certainly our students. Once again, we are faced with another year of challenges and unknowns, and once again, we are going to reach deep to support our faculty and students every day. Therefore, it is now more important than ever to focus our attention on the positives happening every day within our schools. 
A message from ALASBO President-Elect
"Leading Together for Alaska’s Students"

Andy Ratliff

President-Elect, Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO)

Office of Budget and Management Senior Director, Anchorage School District

On behalf of ALASBO, I hope you all had a great summer and got some well-deserved time off! As we wind down the first academic quarter, many of us are starting to lay the groundwork to prepare the FY23 budgets, even though it still seems far away. The last two budget cycles have been supported by Federal Relief funding and this one is shaping up to be the same. While I build charts and graphs to illustrate increasing Federal funding on top of flat State/local revenue, I am reminiscent of The Price is Right’s Cliffhanger game. The game where the little lederhosen-clad yodeling guy would ascend the mountain of ever-increasing prices only to fall off the edge if certain financial decisions were not made correctly.
A message from NASSP Region 7 Representative
"Bring a Policy Maker to School"

Brendan Wilson

NASSP Region 7 Representative

Principal, Begich Middle School

Happy Principals’ Month! A great way to celebrate while also honoring our theme of leading together is to invite an elected official to spend some time with you in your buildings. Whether a state legislator or school board member, bringing policy-makers into school allows them to engage with our students and see firsthand how their decisions impact their constituents. Here are a few tips for a successful visit.
New and Incoming Superintendent Support Program
"Helping New Superintendents Thrive as Education Leaders"

Sean Dusek

Superintendent Support Services Coordinator,
Alaska Superintendents Association

A key component of what the Alaska Superintendents Association provides to members is personalized support. This is especially true for early career superintendents, potential superintendents, and district-level leaders. This past year saw 15 districts hire a new superintendent for the 2021-22 school year, with over half of those openings created by retirements and most others made by the movement of veteran superintendents to another district. While 15 openings may seem like a lot of change in one year at the superintendent level, we saw an increase in retirements and more continuity within districts participating in the ASA support programs.
Alaska School Leadership Academy
"Strengthening early-career principals through a network of support"

Sam Jordan

Grant Administrator for the Alaska School Leadership Academy

The month of October is National School Principal month. It is the perfect time to both celebrate the huge positive impact of principals on the lives of students, school staff, parents, and communities as well as discuss the need to expand our support for this unique profession. With an expanding national shortage of educators, supporting the recruitment and retention of new high-quality principals is critical to maintaining stable school communities and increasing student success. 
A message from our
Superintendent Representative on the Alaska Professional Teaching Practices Commission

"Due Diligence in Hiring"

Jamie Burgess

Superintendent of Nome Public Schools, Superintendent Representative on the Alaska Professional Teaching Practices Commission

Alaska’s Code of Ethics of the Education Profession serves as a guiding document for everyone in the state holding a teaching, administrative or special services certificate with respect to professional behavior and conduct. One of the particular responsibilities of Alaska Superintendents is to ensure that every teacher and administrator within their district is aware of the Code of Ethics. We are to hold staff members to those standards to ensure students are safe from harm, our staff have respectful and positive relationships with each other, and administrators treat those they supervise in a just and equitable fashion.
Alaskan Schools Blog
"Alaska’s Momentum in Teaching Computer Science: Looking Forward"

Sam Jordan

ACSA/ASDN Grant Coordinator

Alaska’s PK-12 school system is embracing the teaching of computer science like never before. Educators across the state, and their students, have recognized that navigating the digital world is not just about being a consumer of digital content, it’s about the skills needed to create that content. And to become a creator means knowing the building blocks of how digital content is made using computer science. 
Alaska Staff Development Network
"ASDN Offerings Meet the Learning Needs of Alaska's Educators?"
These are busy times in education, and for ASDN things are no different! With our Fall Webinar Series underway we are busily planning January’s 11th Annual RTI/MTSS Effective Instruction conference and all our spring professional learning offerings. If there is a topic that you or your district are wishing to explore more deeply, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. At ASDN, educators drive our work. We offer a wide variety of learning opportunities to meet the needs of Alaska’s teachers and administrators.
The Alaska Superintendent Association Champions for Children program is wholly supported by our generous sponsors!

This year, thanks to our sponsors, we awarded THREE graduating seniors a $1,000 scholarship each.

We received updates from two of our Champions for Children scholarship recipients on their first semesters of college.
Jade Balansag

Jade graduated from Wrangell High School and is attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She shared that "college is a lot of hard work, but being able to find the joys in the little things makes everything so much better." She has kept herself occupied by joining a few student organizations and enjoying the sites of the nation's capital. 
Kathryn McGee

Kathryn graduated from Tanalian School in Port Alsworth and is attending Calvary University in Kansas City, Missouri. She shared that she has made great connections with the people on campus and has enjoyed being on the basketball team. Currently, her major is Worship Arts/Youth Ministry. However, she plans on changing her area of study to Sports Management. 
Dion Pleasant

Dion graduated from Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat in Quinhagak and is attending the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. He is studying education and has a desire to return to the village and the his former school as a teacher.
Upcoming Events
  • AASSP Membership Meeting, Following Virtual Principals' Conference, December 3, 2021. Register here.

  • ALASBO Annual Conference, Together Toward Tomorrow, Anchorage, December 6-8, 2021. Register here.

  • ACSA Legislative Fly-In, Juneau, March 6-9, 2022 email for more information.
ACSA Board of Directors & Staff
Board Members and Affiliated Staff
Kerry Boyd, ACSA President & ASA Past-President
Yukon-Koyukuk School District
Dr. Bobby Bolen,
ASA President
Bering Strait School District
Dr. Bridget Weiss,
ASA President-Elect
Juneau School District
Robin Jones, AASSP President & ACSA
Chief Ivan Blunka School
Brendan Wilson, NASSP Alaska State Coordinator
Begich Middle School
Jennifer Rinaldi,
AAESP President
Willow Elementary School
Heather Jones,
AAESP Treasurer
Trailside Elementary School
Jennifer Schmitz
AAESP Executive Director
Jimmy Love,
ALASBO President
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Andrew Ratliff,
ALASBO President-Elect
Anchorage 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
Kelly Tonsmeire
Grant Project Director, ASDN
Ceann Murphy
Office Manager, ACSA
Program Coordinator, ASDN
Noelle Derse
Noelle Derse
Grants Administrator, ASDN
Nicole O'Donnell
Grants Administrator, ASDN
Patrick O'Connor
ACSA Fellow
Sean Dusek
Superintendent Support Services Coordinator, ASA
Cheryl Bobo
Alaska Regional Program Manager
Tammy Morris
Engagement Manager,