Voices of Alaska Education
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

Public Input Drives Political Action

The voices of Alaskans had a powerful impact on lawmakers last session. Many legislators remarked that their offices had been flooded with thousands of constituents emails and calls. which helped guide their actions.

The point is, public input matters.

Claudia Plesa, Community Engagement Coordinator

What are the benefits of having youth representatives on your board?

Youth representatives on school boards can boost board performance. Data shows youth representation not only improves the way decisions are made by the board, but also increases the confidence and commitment of members.

Lon Garrison, Director
of Membership Services

Are You Committed?

Are you prepared to be
the best school board member you can be? Dedication requires devoting time to mastering your roles and responsibilities. AASB offers a variety of opportunities for board members to educate themselves and to practice good boardsmanship.
Here are some options:

John Sedor Joins the AASB Team
It is our great pleasure to announce that attorney John Sedor has joined AASB as a Training and Outreach Specialist. We have long been fans of John’s unique brand of enthusiasm, energy, and expert legal and presentation skills, and we're thrilled to welcome him as a member of our team!

Learn more about "the man behind the caricature" and his upcoming schedule of presentations, seminars and training sessions for school districts.

John Sedor
Lon Garrison Promoted to Director of Membership Services
Lon Garrison has been promoted from within the AASB team to Director of Membership Services. For the past four years Lon has served as the AASB School Improvement Coordinator. His new responsibilities will include board development at both in-district workshops and the conference, charter school governance, comprehensive policy services, paperless meetings, and leading superintendent searches.

Lon served nine years on the Sitka School Board, five as board president, and on the AASB Board of Directors for eight years, one year as president.
Lon Garrison
AASB Fourth Annual Partner District 'Champion Gathering' held
The 2019 Champion Gathering was held in Anchorage on September 16-17 as a pre-conference session before the DEED Safety and Wellbeing Summit. The Gathering originated in 2016 with CRESEL partner districts. This year STEPS partner districts were welcomed into the state-wide learning community.

Champion Gathering participants explain the power of relationships.
Q: When do boards have committee and working sessions? How is this different from executive session, as both seem to be private?

Spotlight: Summer Programs
Articles in this section are excerpted from the AASB STEPS Alaska Promise Neighborhood Newsletter that focuses on the work in progress among the Supporting Transitions and Educational Promise Southeast Alaska (STEPS Alaska) grant regional partners, who are striving to improve outcomes for Southeast Alaska’s youth.
Angoon Skate Like a Girl Camp
Both girls and boys in Angoon participated in the Skate like A Girl camp. Kids had a chance to construct their own skateboard, learn a few tricks, and stretch themselves in new ways.

While skate parks are common in urban settings, it was a novel experience for the Angoon students. The camp allowed them to combine STEM skills and physical exercise while developing the grit needed to do something new.
Hoonah Culture Camp

 Hoonah City School students, in partnership with Tlingit & Haida, Sealaska Heritage Institute, and many other community organizations, conducted a culture camp at Kennel Creek Cabin. Students were able to participate in many exciting activities, such as making beaded headbands and necklaces with master craftsmen, harvesting beach asparagus, and processing seal meat/fat.

Read a full description of our STEPS cultural programming, written by Heather Lgeik’i Powell of Hoonah City School.

L atseen Northwest Coast Arts and Leadership Academy

 Sponsored by Sealaska Hertiage Institute, the academy provides an opportunity for Alaska Native high school students to develop leadership and academic skills.

With support from the STEPS grants 28 students had a chance to earn college credit in three courses, putting them one step closer to completing college.

Research shows that students who graduate from high school with some college credit are more likely to enroll and graduate from college.
National research: summer programs are important factors for learners

 Most Alaskan families agree that extra-curricular programs help students become more engaged in the classroom and prepare them for life after school.

 Research suggests that students participating in summer programs have better outcomes than their peers who do not attend. Voluntary summer programs, mandatory summer programs, and programs that encourage students to read at home can mitigate summer learning losses and even lead to achievement gains.
Alaska Politics
The Legislature Needs Your Help to Create a Super Majority
By Mike Bradner, Speaker of the House (1975-76),
House of Representatives (1966-1976), Publisher of
Alaska Legislative Digest and Alaska Economic Report

Our schools are on Governor Dunleavy’s chopping block in 2020. We know this because the governor and his sidekick, OMB Director Donna Arduin, have said so. This is pretty frightening given the governor’s brutal treatment of University funding.
The question is what can “we” do, and how can “we” do it!

Mike Bradner
Constitutional Quiz
Test your knowledge of Alaska's Constitution

Q: At what age can a qualified voter, who has been a resident of Alaska for at least seven years, run for Governor?

  • 25 years old
  • 30 years old
  • 32 years old

Roberts Rules
A genda in Robert’s Rules
Ann Macfarlane, Professional Parliamentarian

Taking the time to construct a powerful agenda will make a big difference to your meetings. Avoid these agenda mistakes:

School Law
The iPhone 11 – Not your Father’s Flip-Phone
John M. Sedor of Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC

Part one of a series on Technology and the Law

“Technology” – the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. A simple and common-sense definition. I remember a technology that was prevalent when I was in school – the mimeograph/ditto machine – that churned out blue ink smeared copies and didn’t generate much controversy or many lawsuits. But today’s technologies seem to be different.

John Sedor
Dr. Barb Amarok hired as UA Northwest Campus Director
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Barb Amarok has accepted the position of Director of Northwest Campus. Dr . Amarok has served on the Nome Public Schools Board of Education since 2010, three years as president and vice president for one. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Alaska School Boards, and received the Alaska Federation of Natives Educator of the Year Award in 2015.

Dr. Barb Amarok
Dr. Elizabeth Siddon Receives Presidential Early Career Award
NOAA Fisheries
Dr. Elizabeth Siddon of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center is a recipient the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Siddon is a nationally recognized expert in Bering Sea ecosystems, a member of the Juneau School District Board of Education, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Alaska School Boards.

Dr. Elizabeth Siddon

Kerry Boyd Named 2020 Alaska Superintendent of the Year
Alaska Superintendents Association
Yukon-Koyukuk School District Superintendent, Kerry Boyd, has been named Alaska’s 2020 Superintendent of the Year by the Alaska Superintendents Association. Ms. Boyd is starting her twelfth year as Y-K Superintendent. ASA will advance Superintendent Boyd’s candidacy to the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year program.

Kerry Boyd
Frank Hauser Named Alaska’s 2019 Principal of the Year
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals
AASSP is pleased to announce that Frank Hauser has been named as Alaska’s 2019 Principal of the Year. Mr. Hauser has been the school principal of Robert Service High School in Anchorage for three years and a school administrator for fifteen years. He is a graduate of the University of Alaska and received his Masters from UAF.

Frank Hauser
Upcoming Events
AASB Maintenance Employee Conference

October 9-10
Lakefront Anchorage

This two-day conference will focus on providing content centered on school district maintenance issues and safety. It’s a great way to learn from experts and your peers, and to network with other maintenance folks from across the state.

Topics may include safety, risk management, Fuel storage, handling and spills, motorized vehicle safety Ice and snow safety, air quality, energy standards on new and remodel projects, standby generators, and more!

AASB Charter School Academy

October 11-12
Anchorage School District

AASB will host our 4th Annual Charter School Academy for school principals and APC members. Come learn about good governance and meet and hear from your peers about best practices and their successes or challenges. The academy is open to all charter school principals and APC members across the state

Topics include roles and responsibilities, principal & APC relationship, policy & bylaws, conducting effective meetings, curriculum, and more!

2020 School Climate & Connectedness Survey
Registration Now Open!
Choose a two-week window
for students and staff between
January 20 - March 20
Join over 30 school districts who measure school climate as a first step to improving and strengthening school environments, relationships, and connections between students, staff, and families.

Coaching Boys
Into Men

October 28
BP Energy Center, Anchorage

CBIM is a comprehensive violence prevention curriculum. Free training for high school coaches of male athletic teams, athletic directors, and school administrators. This one day training is offered as a pre-conference event aligned with the School Health and Wellness Institute (SHWI), October 28-30.

Contact Brian Hosken:

14th Annual School Health
& Wellness Institute

October 28-30
BP Energy Center, Anchorage

Travel scholarships available!

Scholarship Application Deadline:
September 27, 2019

Wendy Hamilton
Alaska School News
The Inside Scoop
Each month Commentary highlights Alaska school and district news to honor student achievements, help promote local events and activities, and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of youth in your district. Add us to your school or district newsletter mailing list.
These Anchorage students skipped school to attend a climate protest. Here’s why, in their own words
Elizabeth Harball, Alaska Public Media
Millions of people around the world joined a protest on Friday to demand action on climate change. Many of the young people who particpated were inspired Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden who became famous for skipping school to sit outside her country’s parliament to demand action on climate change.

Participants in the Sept. 20 Climate Strike hold signs and listen to speeches at Cuddy Park in midtown Anchorage. Photo: Elizabeth Harball
Nome Hosts Largest Cross-Country Meet in Twelve Years
Joe Coleman, KNOM
The largest cross-country meet in Nome in twelve years took place this past Saturday. After a strong showing at the Unalakleet Invitational earlier this month, Nanook Coach Jeff Collins says his team continued its success over the weekend.

Photo: Courtesy of Devin Tatro
Six Alaska Teens Named Local Heroes, Honored for Community Service
Alaska Communications and Boys & Girls Clubs
From helping educate the public about autism, advancing STEM efforts, supporting rehabilitation of juvenile offenders, serving veterans, caring for classmates in need and aiding those who suffer from disabilities, Alaska youth are doing remarkable work to improve lives in our local communities. Alaska Communications is proud to celebrate six youth for their outstanding community service. Congratulations to these youth heroes:

Joycelyn Katcheak, Making BSSD History as First to Receive Four-Year College Wrestling Scholarship
Katie Kazmierski, KNOM
Sixteen-year old Joycelyn Katcheak of Stebbins is the first wrestler ever in Bering Strait School District history to receive a four-year college wrestling scholarship.

Photo: KNOM
‘We All Help Each Other’
David Dodman, KNOM
“You’re really not competing for the medal: you’re really competing to better yourself, to beat your own personal goals, but it’s not really about coming out on top,” explains Nome coach Vanessa Tahbone. In Western Alaska, the school athletics season ends with a highlight for many students and spectators alike: Native Youth Olympics (NYO).

Photo: KNOM
School Newsletters

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Juneau School District

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Wrangell Public School District

Include your school or district news items or newsletter

State Budget News
Alaska Education News
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos talks school choice during Alaska visit
Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos toured several alternative education programs in Alaska. This is her first trip to Alaska as the nation’s education secretary. DeVos, a proponent of school choice, said her mission includes learning about Alaska schools and continuing to “encourage rethinking education.” DeVos was in Wasilla at two public alternative schools within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tours Mat-Su Central School with principal John Brown.
Photo: Marc Lester
Alaska teachers want Secretary DeVos to think about her stance on education
Scott Gross, KTVA
The Alaska Public School system will give U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos plenty to think about when it comes to her stance on education. "In Alaska, we do it right," 2019 Alaska Teacher of the Year Danielle Riha said. "Our charter schools are part of the public school system. There is no fighting over funding going to private schools." Anchorage Education Association President Tom Klaameyer echoed Riha's statement. "I think we do a phenomenal job of offering not only charters but alternative schools," Klaameyer said.

Photo: KTVA
‘We’re in a crisis’: High teacher turnover, huge numbers of UAA education students gone
Sean McGuire, KTUU
The state education board received a stark assessment of teacher turnover.Of the state’s 54 school districts, 25 have had their current superintendents in place for less than two years.

Thirteen superintendents started at the beginning of the school year “We are experiencing a turnover at the teacher, principal and superintendent level at rates we’ve never seen in Alaska before,” said Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, the executive director of Alaska Council of Administrators. Education Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson says the problem in Alaska is more pronounced. “My focus as commissioner is making effective schools because folks want to work in effective schools,” he said.

New workforce development program coming to the Kenai Peninsula
Rene Gross, KBBI, Homer
The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District is creating a workforce training program for peninsula residents. Tim Dillon is the executive director of the economic development district, and he said it’s critical for young residents to learn basic job skills and explore different trades.

Robotics program gets help from school to restart after seven-year absence
Lilly Milman, The Skagway News
The Skagway School will fund start-up of FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a competitive high school robotics program, which will run independently from the school. The school board approved one-time funding of the program. The FTC program is an extension of the existing FIRST LEGO League robotics program, which the school sponsors for junior high students.

Over 60 Alaskan High Schools register for varsity eSports program
Jordan Rodenberger, Webcenter 11
More than 60 high schools in Alaska are currently on a wait list to build an eSports program and compete as an official varsity sport. The Alaska Schools Activities Association has partnered with PlayVS to build an interscholastic electronic sports league with three gaming options: League
of Legends, Smite and Rocket League.

Photo: Webcenter 11
Costly guitars bound for Hong Kong land at Alaska schools
Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage School District received a donation of high-end guitars that were bound for Hong Kong before they were confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, officials said. The district estimated the 10 guitars have a combined value of nearly $54,500, The electric guitars were commercially shipped from the East Coast and declared as clothing.

A Brazilian rosewood veneer is seen on the neck of a custom Paul Reed Smith 24-fret double-cutaway electric guitar at East High School.
Photo: Loren Holmes, ADN
School board votes to examine graduation requirements
Iris Samuels, Kodiak Daily Mirror
The Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education voted unanimously to begin a review of the graduation requirements at Kodiak High School. According to Superintendent Larry LeDoux, the current graduation requirements are outdated and may leave students unprepared for the job market.

Napakiak School Fuel Tanks Transported To Bethel Between Fall Storms
Anna Rosa MacArthur, KYUK
It took a little longer than planned, but a window of clear weather allowed the old Napakiak school fuel tanks to be moved to Bethel. The U.S. Coast Guard ordered the Lower Kuskokwim School District to empty the tanks to prevent an environmental disaster as the eroding Kuskokwim riverbank advanced towards the fuel site.

Photo: Katie Basile, KYUK
After Fears Of Closure, Atka's School Is Back To 10 Students And Staying Open
Laura Kraegel, KUCB
The Yakov E. Netsvetov School in Atka has struggled with low enrollment in recent years. But this month, 10 students showed up for the first day of classes, helping the school avoid a shutdown — and hinting at greater stability for the small Unangax̂ community in the western Aleutian Islands.

Students turn cartwheels outside of Atka's school. Photo: Laura Kraegel
Educators and KPBSD find compromise in tentative contract agreement
Renee Gross, KBBI, Homer
Teachers and students returned to public school on the Kenai Peninsula after educators called off a strike early in the morning. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and two educator unions reached a tentative contract agreement.

New Stuyahok teacher finalist for state award
Carey Restino, The Bristol Bay Times
A New Stuyahok teacher is among three finalists for the 2020 Alaska Teacher of the Year award. Ben Griese of "Chief" Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok has devoted 10 years to serving the communities within Southwest Region School District, most notably as a pre-K and K-12 special education teacher at "Chief" Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok. Griese dedicates himself to supporting the unique needs of the students, staff, and communities in his district.

Superintendent suspends 7 West Valley coaches for 2 years; parents students give testimony
Webcenter 11
The latest development in the West Valley football controversy unfolded at the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District board meeting Thursday night. Superintendent Karen Gaborik announced the two-year suspensions of the seven assistant coaches who were present at the preseason football training incident at the UAF Pool that left three students hospitalized. The school board voted unanimously to uphold Gaborik’s decision.

Photo: Webcenter 11
School board to consider cell phone use policy, superintendent search
Eric Stone, KRBD, Ketchikan
Ketchikan school administration officials have walked back a proposed cell phone policy that had explicitly warned students they could expect no privacy on their devices while on school grounds.

Superintendent Vacancies & District Openings
Looking for a New Superintendent?
The Association of Alaska School Boards has been conducting superintendent searches for over 20 years.

If you would like AASB to conduct a superintendent search for your district, or have questions,  Contact Us
Answer to Constitutional Quiz Question
Q: At what age can a qualified voter, who has been a resident of Alaska for at least seven years, run for Governor?

A: 30 years old ( Article 3, Section 2, Alaska Constitution )

Association of Alaska School Boards | aasb.org