Voices of Alaska Education
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.

Norm Wooten AASB Executive Director

Timi Tullis, Director Board Development and Field Services
Claudia Plesa, Alaska ICE Community Engagement Educator and Coordinator
Board Members Are the Best Political Advocates
When a person decides to run for election to their local school board, they're likely aware of budget responsibilities, regular meetings, work sessions, and policies. But seldom is one aware of their new responsibility.
Standards Increase Outcomes
Student standards have been around for years in the form of grades, report cards and assessments. Teachers, administrators, and support personnel live by annual evaluations, classroom observations and peer monitoring.  So why not school boards?
Family Engagement Conversation Continues at AASB March Fly-In
The Fly-In was an opportunity for school board members and superintendents to come together and discuss policy, best strategies for advocating with policymakers, and learn from each other.
Diana Miller Celebrates 30 Years with AASB 
Chocolate lover Diana Miller peers from behind a tower of treats presented by AASB staff to commemorate her milestone.
Diana Miller joined the Association of Alaska School Boards on Monday March 14, 1988 as a secretary. Her numerical acuity enabled her to quickly ascend to Business Manager, a position she has held for nearly her entire 30 year tenure at AASB.

For over three decades, Diana has steadily guided all aspects of AASB's finances. She is responsible for preparing and implementing the budget, coordinating the annual financial audit, and preparing and reviewing monthly financial statements. She monitors grant specific budgets, reconciles expenses, fills requests for grant funding reimbursements, provides reports to granting agencies, prepares grant-specific financial statements, acts as a payroll officer, coordinates employee benefits plans, and supervises accounting staff. Diana also oversees all the corporate and employee insurance programs as well as serving as the Human Relations Officer, and is the point of contact for all technology, equipment and building maintenance issues, e.g., snow removal, janitorial, repairs, etc. Whew! Oh, and she's also a certified notary!

Thanks Di, for keeping AASB running smoothly all these years, and into the future!
AASB's Lori Grassgreen Receives "Resilience Hero" Award 
Alaska ICE Director Lori Grassgreen is honored as a Resilience Hero at the  
Lighting the Way to Resilience conference.
Lori Grassgreen (at left) with other Resilience Hero recipients at the award ceremony.
Alaska ICE Director Lori Grassgreen has been honored as a "Resilience Hero" for her work on winning the STEPS grant and facilitating the STEPS Alaska project. She was one of ten award recipients who received professional recognition at the "Lighting the Way to Resilience" conference organized by the Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children and the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition.

STEPS Alaska (Supporting Transitions and Educational Promise in Southeast Alaska) is a collaborative project between 29 partners throughout Southeast Alaska, with emphasis in seven communities: Klukwan, Juneau, Sitka, Angoon, Hoonah, Kake, Hydaburg. The partners compiled cradle to career solutions specific to these sites to increase full access to services and solutions proven to improve academic, health, and safety outcomes.

Spring Fly-In Highlights
40 board members from 18 school districts across Alaska were in Juneau this week to attend AASB's annual Spring Fly-In. For four days attendees heard presentations, met with the Governor, Lt. Governor and legislators, provided testimony to House and Senate committees, and received briefings from state officials on a variety of topics including the need for a state fiscal plan, a new computer science curriculum under development, and special education services available. For many attendees, being able to connect with other districts was a valuable experience. One member commented that the best part of the Fly-In was "meeting with other boards and superintendents to find new ideas and commonalities." Following are highlights and links to resources, presentations and photos.

Fly-In attendees met with Governor Bill Walker, Lieutenant Governor Mallott and DEED Commissioner Johnson to discuss education issues and legislative priorities. 

Jerry Covey (above) Barb Adams and Sarah Sledge presented the results of the
Research-based Educator Systems Support (RESS), a project to reduce teacher turnover.
Board president Vern Carlson of Denali Borough School District adds his thoughts to an interactive group conversation on the topic of Board Standards and Beliefs and Expectations of Boards, led by Timi Tullis and Lon Garrison.

School board members attended a presentation by House Finance Co-Chair Paul Seaton on the Operating Budget and how Permanent Fund earnings could be used to finance state government. "K-12 is one of the highest priorities we have," said Seaton. He did not think a BSA increase would make it through the Senate, but was hopeful that a "static" education budget would, which could help school boards with planning and budgeting. The House and Senate "are playing a game that leaves you guys in the balance," Seaton said.

Representative Dan Ortiz gave an update on education issues before House Finance: early school funding (HB287) BSA increase (HB339) and a long-term state fiscal plan.
Senator Click Bishop talked about workforce development and his bill SB78 that would use donations from the Permanent Fund dividend for educational purposes.
DEED Education Technology Coordinator Sam Jordan discussed creating an Alaska computer science curriculum.  
AASB Executive Director Norm Wooten discussed legislative priorities, the status of current bills and forces driving the legislative session. View the presentations:
Legislative Priorities and Bill Review > 
Board member Kathleen Plunkett from the Anchorage School District testified before the Senate Education Committee on SB 216, School Consolidation Transition.

Fly-In Focus: Alaska's Economy-A bright future but are we prepared?
Presenter: Commissioner Mike Navarre, Dept. of Commerce, Community & Economic Development
Mike Navarre
In his Sunday luncheon presentation, Commissioner Navarre stressed the need for a state fiscal plan to lessen dependence on oil revenue. "We have diversified our economy, but we have not diversified our revenue base," he said. "A great education is an incentive for economic development." 
10 Minute Read >
Fly-In Focus:  Accessing Your Legislative Information 
Presenter: Shana Crondahl, Alaska Education Update
Shana Crondahl
BASIS Navigation Tips: The Legislature's website has a wealth of information, and with just a little bit of exploration it's not too difficult to find your way around. The homepage has tabs at the top for floor calendars and a daily schedule of committee hearings. 
3 Minute Read >
Tracking Legislative Information guidebook >
Fly-In Focus: Special Education Update 
Presenters: Donald E. Enoch Jr. and Colleen Shivers, DEED Special Education
Donald E. Enoch Jr. and Colleen Shivers
The State Education and Early Development's Special Education team, Don Enoch, State Administrator for Special Education and Colleen Shivers, Program Manager, briefed Fly-In attendees on the many facets of the SPED team's responsibilities and how they support the duties of school board members. Topics included student services, staff training, and legal issues involved with disciplining students with disabilities. 
2 Minute Read >
Guest Columns
Vision to Action: How to Change the System  
By Jerry Covey, Managing Partner, JSC Consulting 
The priorities of Alaska's Education Challenge - Increasing Student Success, Cultivating Safety and Well-Being, and Supporting Responsible and Reflective Learners in every classroom, school, and district every day - can only be realized by ACTION. The VISION set forth by the State Board of Education and Commissioner Johnson has provided the stimulus we need to improve our public education system. The opportunity before us now is to transform Alaska Education Challenge priorities to ACTION that translates to improved student success across the education system.  
"I Support What??" - Union Membership, Compelled Speech, and the First Amendment
By John Sedor of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC 

John Sedor
Part two of a five-part part series on union issues in schools.
In 2015, Governor Rauner of Illinois filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of an Illinois statute. Why, you might ask, could that be relevant to Alaska's educational community?  
More from Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC:
Meeting minutes record what is DONE, not what is SAID   
By Ann Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, Jurassic Parliament  
The Town of Groton, Connecticut had an interesting kerfuffle this winter, when the Town Council voted to remove a statement from the November 14, 2017 minutes. In our view, the statement should never have been included in the first place.  
Opinion: The Three Buckets of Alaska Education Funding 
By Deena Bishop, Superintendent of the Anchorage School District, for Anchorage Daily News 
Deena Bishop
The ASD School Board established "Three B's" as its legislative priorities to speak to the Legislature as we seek funding for education. The first "B" is the Base Student Allocation, in which we ask the Legislature to adequately fund districts through adjustment of the BSA. Stagnant BSA funding has caused ASD to increase class sizes. The second "B" in the ASD priorities is busing. Transportation is funded separately from the operational revenue from the state; without inflation-proof levels of revenue, ASD must reduce classroom funding because we are forced to supplement all transportation funding with operational dollars. The third "B" is bond debt reimbursement. Restoring the state's funding reimbursement to the former limits of 70/30 or 60/40 for cities and boroughs would help ASD plan for the future.  
Board Member Profile: Eunice Hadley  
Northwest Arctic School District Board Member and Kotzebue Housewife 
Eunice Hadley
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 Eunice Hadley from Northwest Arctic School District. 
Update on E-rate Requests for Next Year   
Valerie Oliver, Alaska State E-rate Coordinator for Schools and Libraries 
Alaska's School Districts have completed applications for the 2018-2019 school year's E-rate Support. E-rate is the schools and Libraries support mechanism established by the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund (USF) and it pays between 60-90% of a districts Broadband costs each year. 

For the upcoming year Alaska's applicants requested more than $128M in E-rate Broadband Support on their estimated $149M in costs, leaving them to pay $21M from district operating funds. Over the next few months E-rate applications will be reviewed and funding will be committed to districts under the FCC's USF guidelines.
Coaching Boys Into Men Statewide Training 2018

Save the Date

June 4-5, 2018
Registration: April 1 through May 4
This year the Alaska Department of Public Safety is coordinating the 2018 statewide Coaching Boys Into Men training with the Anchorage School District Academy. Joining with ASDA provides attending coaches the opportunity to earn one professional development credit through UAA. This opportunity is open to all coaches who have attended CBIM in the past and have implemented in their home communities at least once.
Linda Brown, center of Brown v. Board case, dies at 75     
By Katie Moore, Topeka Capital-Journal
Linda Brown at Sumner School in Topeka, May 8, 1954
Friends of Linda Brown recalled a quiet girl thrust into prominence who persevered to become a focal point of the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision ending school segregation. The refusal of a public school to admit Brown in 1951, then 9 years old, led to the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. In 1954, the U.S. supreme Court overruled the "separate but equal" clause and mandated that schools nationwide must be desegregated. Brown has died at the age of 75.
Elizabeth Peratrovich, Alaska's Civil Rights Hero 
Elizabeth Peratrovich
Elizabeth Peratrovich was a civil rights activist who worked on behalf of equality for Alaska Natives . She was born on July 4, 1911 in Petersburg , Alaska , and was a member of the Lukaax̱.ádi clan, in the Raven moiety of the Tlingit nation. In the 1940s, she was credited with advocacy that gained the passage of the territory 's Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, the first anti-discrimination law in the United States. To honor her contributions, the Alaska Legislature established February 16, the day in 1945 on which the Anti-Discrimination Act was signed, as "Elizabeth Peratrovich Day."
Governor Assembles Working Group to Address School Safety in Alaska after Florida Shooting    
By Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News 
Governor Walker
Gov. Bill Walker has convened a working group to review school safety in Alaska and recommend changes to prevent violence like the shooting at a Florida high school in February that left 17 dead . Walker held a preliminary, hour-long meeting to hear from educators, school security officials, gun rights advocates and others from around the state.
Hundreds of Juneau High School Students Join Nationwide Protest on Florida Shooting Anniversary
By James Brooks, Juneau Empire 
Juneau students participate in a Capitol rally during March 14 National School Walk Out.
Photo: Michael Penn
Inside the Alaska State Capitol, a shout echoed in the stairwell: "The kids are coming!" Outside the building was a louder shout, one that reverberated off the Capitol's Fourth Street facade: "Enough is enough!" With a pair of walkout protests Wednesday, hundreds of students from Juneau-Douglas, Yaakoosge Daakahidi and Thunder Mountain high schools joined a national event intended to mark one month since a shooting killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
3 Minute Read >
Randy Smith Students Protest Gun Violence; School Board Discusses Security
Randy Smith Middle School students participate in walk-out to protest gun violence.
Photo: Eric Engman
Roughly 100 students at Randy Smith Middle School walked out of their classrooms Friday morning and held a rally on school grounds to call on Congress to do something about gun violence. They made speeches. They chanted. They held signs. They held a moment of silence to pay respect to the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting has sparked outcry among youths around the nation. "We want to be part of the movement," Alayna Walker, Randy Smith student council president, said in an interview.
3 Minute Read >
1/5 of Kodiak Students Report Bringing Weapon to High School
Kodiak High School
Twenty percent of high school students in Kodiak reported bringing a weapon to school within the last 30 days, according to an Alaska Department of Health study. The students' responses raised concerns during a school board meeting, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported. The Kodiak percentage was nearly double the statewide average of 10.2 percent.  
2 Minute Read >
Ketchikan School District Leading Way For Public Education Changes
ANB/ANS to Sitka School Board: 'You must protect these programs'
By Robert Woolsey, KCAW   
Tribal elder Grace Larsen addresses the Sitka board.
Photo: Robert Woolsey
Faculty and administrators rallied behind cultural programming in the Sitka School District, during the school board's annual meeting at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founder's Hall this month. As the school district addresses a spending gap of over $2-million, educators stressed that cultural programming was paying dividends for all students. Nancy Douglas oversees cultural programs for the Sitka School District. Five years ago she helped spearhead the creation of the Wooch.een Yei pre-school - a partnership with Tlingit and Haida Headstart housed at Baranof Elementary School. 
3 Minute Read >
Larsen Bay Residents Fear Losing School
By Mitchell Borden, KMXT  
Larsen Bay School could close next year if less than ten students are enrolled by fall.
Photo: Mitchell Borden
In villages across Alaska, schools are the beating hearts of rural communities. Of course, that's where kids are educated. But school sites also often provide the only basketball courts and meeting halls around. And, in the Kodiak Archipelago, at least half of the region's villages are facing losing their schools. Over the last decade, the Kodiak Island Borough School District's student population has shrunk by about 200 kids, and that has hit the region's rural communities especially hard. 
3 Minute Read >
Borough, School District Employees Give Back at Food Bank
By Elizabeth Earl, Peninsula Clarion  
 School District employees gather at Fireweed Diner. Photo: Elizabeth Earl
Every day the door opens at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank's Fireweed Diner, no one can tell exactly who will come through. That applies to both diners and the volunteers behind the counter. Regardless of who they are, they'll get put to work. For at least the last decade, borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District employees have been jumping over to the food bank on Fridays to volunteer their lunch hours serving food and washing dishes in the diner.
Concerned by Potential Slur, Students Oust Thunder Bears as District Mascot
By Adelyn Baxter, KTOO   
J-D High students listen to community testimony on whether to keep their mascot. Photo: Adelyn Baxter
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 >
Nome City School District

The five-member Nome City School District Board of Education is seeking a superintendent. Applicants who have extensive experience as a school administrator and a proven history of improving student achievement are being sought. The compensation package includes a $120,000 salary (DOE) with an attractive fringe benefit package including modern furnished housing and personal/professional use of a district owned vehicle.

The Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) is conducting the search.

Closing date for receipt of all application material: March 23, 2018.
Onsite interviews of successful candidate(s) in Nome: Week of April 16, 2018.
Position Starting Date: July 1, 2018 
The following items must accompany all applications:
  • AASB application form
  • Confidential AASB reference forms
  • Current resume
  • Copy of your superintendent certificate
Candidates who do not possess an Alaska Type B certificate with a superintendent endorsement should begin the process in order to be considered for this position.


Application materials should be sent to:
Association of Alaska School Boards
1111 W. 9th St., Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 463-1660
Email: Ryan Aguilar 
Wrangell Public Schools

The five-member Board of Education of the Wrangell Public Schools is conducting a search for a Superintendent. The board is especially interested in applicants with a strong background in curriculum mapping, alignment, and strong collaborative team building skills. Candidates with successful experience in working with small, rural communities are especially encouraged to apply.

The Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) is conducting the search.

Closing date for receipt of all application material: March 23, 2018.
Onsite interviews of successful candidate(s) in Wrangell: Week of April 9, 2018.
Position Starting Date: July 1, 2018 
The following items must accompany all applications:
  • AASB application form
  • Confidential AASB reference forms
  • Current resume
  • Copy of your superintendent certificate
Candidates who do not possess an Alaska Type B certificate with a superintendent endorsement should begin the process in order to be considered for this position.

More Information:
Application materials should be sent to:
Association of Alaska School Boards
1111 W. 9th St., Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 463-1660
Email: Ryan Aguilar  
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