Education Bulletin
February | 2022
Mission: Leadership, Unity, and Advocacy for Public Education
Persevering Together
A message from ACSA President
Brendan Wilson
"Overcoming Challenges to Thrive as Educators"

Brendan Wilson

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

Principal, Begich Middle School

Our theme for this year is persevering together. I struggled to choose the word "perseverance" for several days because it brings to mind challenges that sometimes cannot be overcome. Still, it kept resonating with me because it also brings to mind synonyms such as determination, persistence, and grit.

As we enter the second semester and start a new calendar year, many of us have grown accustomed to adjusting our goals for this school year. However, we likely started out justifiably worried about learning gaps exacerbated by extended periods of online instruction last year. Our 2022 Joint Position Statements (JPS) were recently published (thank you to our chair, Deanna Beck and the JPS committee), and we proudly stated that student achievement is our number one priority. I know I’m not the only leader who would love nothing more than to make that the first thing on my mind when I start thinking about work each day. But, instead, I maniacally check my e-mail on my phone several times during breakfast, watching staff absences pile up and worrying about keeping my school open for my community. Most of the time, it now feels like my number one goal is keeping school open, so my New Year’s resolution is to halt negative thinking and reframe.
A message from our Executive Director
Dr. Lisa S. Parady
"Advocating together for our students"

Dr. Lisa S. Parady
Executive Director

Winter in Alaska has had its usual (and numerous!) weather-related crises. We have seen communities and neighbors band together to help one another through these different events. 

Throughout the pandemic, school leaders in our state have also persevered together. We've seen creativity in classrooms to accommodate distancing, schools working with their local governments to provide Covid testing, and school leaders making difficult decisions with their staff and students' best interests in mind. We have been able to lean on our colleagues through these unprecedented times when stress seemed to overwhelm us and receive support from others going through similar situations. 
A message from ASA President
Dr. Bobby Bolen
"Success through Flexibility and Trust"

Dr. Bobby Bolen

President, Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)

Superintendent, Bering Strait School District

Welcome to the new year. It seems every month that goes by, we educators hope and pray for an end to the COVID pandemic. It seems as if it has gone on way too long, yet we are in February 2022 still searching for answers and solutions. The uncertainty persists as the different variants continue to spread through our schools and communities.

These times have no doubt been challenging and, at times, frightening. We mobilized staff to get devices into all our student’s hands. We created online learning resources that were readily available for students. We continued to ensure all our students had meals to eat. We strived to make sure all our stakeholders knew we were here for them during these uncertain times. While we may not know for sure what the future will hold, we know that the past two years have proven one thing – by working together and supporting each other, we can handle anything that comes our way.
A message from AASSP Assistant Principal of the Year
"Persevering for our Students"

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

As we enter the beginning of the end – of the school year – it is interesting to reflect on where we are and where we have been in the last year. First, we learned from a surprising gubernatorial declaration that schools would go to remote learning immediately. Then, we endured changing COVID protocol after changing mandate after changing policy after changing quarantine periods, after changing testing requirements, etc., only to have it all change over and over again. We have gone from no masks to masks and now back to choice masking (depending on your borough). We have seen our communities suffer from job loss, restriction to public services, and loss due to death and illness. Worst of all, we have watched our kids suffer and struggle due to the pandemic.

It is important not to ignore the past year's difficulties because it puts into perspective all of the positives in our present day. 
A message from AAESP President
and Executive Director
"Moving forward for our students"

Jennifer Rinaldi 
President, Alaska Association of Elementary Principals

Jennifer Schmitz
Executive Director, Alaska Association of Elementary Principals

The past two years have certainly posed a challenge to people in all leadership positions. Companies have had to adapt to allowing people to work from home and to a shortage of workers. Restaurants and stores have struggled due to closures, lack of supplies, and staffing issues. Then there are schools! The challenges faced by school leaders have to be unmatched in the level of perseverance and grit it takes to keep moving forward to provide the best education possible to students across the globe. 

As leaders in the Alaska Association of Elementary Principals, we are in awe of the things our members are accomplishing on a daily basis despite a worldwide pandemic. We are absolutely “Alaska Strong" and “Principal Strong.” Instead of hearing from us this time, a few of our members have contributed their thoughts. We appreciate each of you and the work you are doing for education in Alaska. Enjoy!
A message from AAESP Vice President
"Perseverance and Purpose"

JJ Hinderberger

Vice President, Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals

Principal, Mendenhall River Community School, Juneau School District

When I think of perseverance, the first thing that comes to mind is purpose—being a principal requires a strong connection to our why to continue doing our work. For example, I was recently asked why I work in education. My answer is simple: I want to make the world a better place. That purpose is what grounds me in the work I do. 

I ran competitively in college, and my coach said the most important part of running was the “8-10 inches above your shoulders.” In a race, you can fret about the better training the person did in front of you or the pain you feel as the lactic acid settles in your legs. However, you can also shift that mindset to believe that everything you have done has prepared you for the moment. Likewise, to be an effective school leader, you have to believe that what you do has prepared you for this moment, like it or not. 
A message from National Association of Elementary Schools - State Representative
"Working through Adversity"

Doug Gray

National Association of Elementary Schools - State Representative

Principal, PAIDEIA Cooperative School, Anchorage School District

I have been in education for over 27 years, and I cannot think of a more challenging time than what we face today (and when I say today, I really mean over the past two years). All educators are faced with having to follow decisions that may not make sense, rationalize expectations that seem beyond our scope, calm and ease the concerns of others, all while fulfilling our pre-pandemic responsibilities. I believe that the phrase “educating through adversity” works well to succinctly capture what we all have been doing…and it feels as though we may be doing this for quite a bit longer. 
A message from ALASBO Executive Director
"Lessons from Enzo and Ensō "

Darcy Carter

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

As you consider the theme of this ACSA bulletin, Persevering Together, please be sure you start with taking care of yourself. With the added stress of COVID-19 protocols and challenges on top of our already busy and stressful lives, it is important to take care of your physical and mental health. So here are some lessons from two very different sources whose names sound the same.
A message from
the Consortium for School Networking
"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. 

Leadership Strategies to Assure Student Data Privacy: The Trusted Learning Environment Seal

The next episode of Season 4 of the EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series airs on Monday, March 14, 2022, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time and is titled, “Leadership Strategies to Assure Student Data Privacy: The Trusted Learning Environment Seal”. The concerns and challenges involved in protecting student data privacy have always been critically important to school operations. However, as schools today increasingly rely on digital tools for teaching, learning and school administration, assuring student data privacy is now more urgent than ever. One strategy many school districts have used is successfully completing the process of earning The Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal. The TLE Program is the nation’s only privacy framework designed specifically for school systems.
A message from the
Editor of the Our Alaskan Schools Blog
"Building a Space for Teacher Voice: The Our Alaskan Schools Blog in its Third Year"

By Sam Jordan, ACSA, Writer and Editor of the Our Alaskan Schools Blog

As a longtime educator, one of the things that keeps me amazed and engaged in the field is observing the unending creativity of my colleagues. Teaching is an art – the molding together of elements -facts, opinions, tools – into a creation that can challenge students to take that next leap in understanding and expanding their world. And as with any art, no matter what common elements are available, each educator will create something new and unique. When you see that individual spark and how it inspires students, it is a daily reminder of how special our work is.
Alaskan Schools Blog
"Growing Everyday Leaders at Colony Middle School"

Lindsay Jack and the CMS Leadership Classes

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” -Nelson Mandela

This quote was chosen by a Colony Middle School Leadership student to begin their final speech and perfectly sums up the goal of leadership. Leadership class is not a new idea in schools, but it is a new addition at Colony Middle School this year and students reaped the benefits. In this class, students learned how to be the best version of themselves in order to be everyday leaders in their school and community.
Alaska Staff Development Network
"ASDN Spring Catalog Offerings"
The Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN) is excited to announce its spring 2022 professional learning offerings. We are very pleased to be hosting five unique webinar series: 
  • “PrincipalED: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve” with Kate Barker 
  • “Science of Reading – Comprehension” with Lexie Domaradzki & Shelby Skaanes 
  • “Visible Learning in Mathematics” with Yana Ioffee 
  • “Visible Learning for Inclusion in Special Education” with Heath Peine 
  • “Learning is NOT a Spectator Sport: Increasing Student Engagement” with Anita Archer 
Principal of the Year Nominations
The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP) is accepting nominations now for 

2022 Regional 
Principal of the Year

Nominations are due by 
Friday, February 25, 2022
AAESP is accepting nominations for Alaska's Elementary Principal of the Year for 2022. 

 Nominations are due on Friday March 4th.

Submit your nomination to

JJ Hinderberger at:

Upcoming Events
ACSA Legislative Fly-In, Juneau, March 27-30, 2022 - Click to register
Spring Virtual Computer Science Workshops for Elementary Teachers
  • March 30, April 6 and April 13 4:00-6:00 p.m.- An online training for beginners. This course is designed for K-5 elementary educators new to teaching computer science who want to explore how to begin teaching the CS Fundamentals curriculum. One optional credit available. Enroll here
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
Kelly Tonsmeire
Grant Project Director, ASDN
Ceann Murphy
Office Manager, ACSA
Program Coordinator, ASDN
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,