With more than 400 people in attendance at the 58th Annual Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) conference last week in Anchorage the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) school board was honored with the "2011 Outstanding School Board of the Year" award for their contributions to the KPBSD.
There are fifty three school districts in the great state of Alaska and according to Pegge Erkeneff; KPBSD communications specialist, the competition this year included very engaged school boards from Kodiak, Sitka, and Bristol Bay among others.
Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater was present at the award presentation and said, "I am thrilled that our board is being recognized in this way, it was great to see them receive this in front of school board members from across the state. Their dedication to the students of the Kenai is unwavering--they deserve this accolade." Erkeneff said the AASB used five criteria in selecting the recipient for the Outstanding Alaska School Board of the Year: Community engagement, the amount of time and experience of the board members, demonstrated evidence of leadership as measured against the AASB School Board Standards, participation in State and National Activities, and evidence of growth in student achievement.
Nine elected members serve on the KPBSD school board, together with one high school student representative, they are Joe Arness, President; Liz Downing, Vice President; Penny Vadla, Clerk; Lynn Hohl, Treasurer; Marty Anderson; Sammy Crawford; Sunni Hilts; Bill Holt; Tim Navarre; and Annaleah Ernst, Student representative. "This recognition that our District is, in fact, a leader in education as measured by academic progress compared with other Districts is not so much an endorsement of the Board itself, but instead recognizes the strides which our District has made over the past few years," commented Joe Arness, President. "It is awesome that KPBSD has been recognized for providing excellent opportunities for our 9,000 students in 44 schools on the Kenai. We have much to be thankful for," added Sammy Crawford. "I made a commitment to serve because I wanted to give back to a system that had given so much to me. Students have been part of my life for over forty years. I wanted to be the change-agent that would make a difference in their life, just like many educators made a difference in my life. A challenge for the school board is to continue to provide a quality educational experience for all students in the district," said Penny Vadla, Clerk. Other board members echoed Vadla's sentiments and expressed that the honor for the award is shared by the entire community.
"It was such an honor for our board to receive recognition from the Association. Listening to our board and district accomplishments during the presentations, I was struck by the realization that this was an effort truly shared with all past board members, administrators, teachers, staff, students, and families who have contributed over the years to make this such a wonderful school district," said Liz Downing, Vice-President. Downing in addition was awarded the "2011 National Distinguished Board Member" by the National School Boards Association during the AASB conference. Ten Alaskans receive this honor each year. "I was surprised and honored; I so appreciate this award."