The Alaska Association of School Administrators (AASA) announced that Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) Superintendent, Dr. Steve Atwater, has been selected by his peers as Alaska’s 2013 Superintendent of the Year. “It’s humbling as well as a great honor. Humbling because I was nominated by my peers which mean it’s not something I pursued and also because so many of my peers are excellent superintendents so to be brought forward by those individuals is very humbling indeed. And honoring for the fact that it recognizes the really good work we are doing on the Kenai not just the work that I am doing but by extension the work that all of us are doing so when an individual earns an accolade it really means that all of us in our district are doing well because it that wasn’t true this award wouldn’t have happened,” said Atwater.
The Superintendent of the Year program, now in its 26th year, pays tribute to a school system’s top leader who exemplifies effectiveness, knowledge, leadership, ethics, and commitment. In nominating Dr. Atwater, colleagues and board members noted his success at leading both small and large school districts. They lauded his leadership expertise by comments such as “If you take a close look at each and every one of Dr. Atwater’s decisions or actions, you will find an unerring focus on the improvement of education and direction that favors kids.” Another nominator commented that “Dr. Atwater exemplifies the true essence of what an educational leader should be and believes that every child can learn and that every child deserves to be taught by an outstanding teacher.” Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said, “Kenai Peninsula residents take pride in our outstanding school district and recognize the combined contributions of School Board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and students as a part of our success. Most importantly, we recognize the leadership provided by our superintendent, Dr. Steve Atwater, as a key part of that success. Dr. Atwater’s vision, commitment, values, knowledge, and competence are reflected in the extraordinary job he does and the educational achievements of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. We’re extremely fortunate to have Dr. Atwater as our Superintendent and congratulate him on his well-deserved recognition as 2013 Alaska Superintendent of the Year.”
“Dr. Atwater has been a great supporter of Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) and ensuring Peninsula students are college or career-ready when they graduate,” said Gary J. Turner, KPC director in a news release. “He is not only involved with our children from pre-K to 12th grade, but he is also teaching teachers at the university level where he serves as an adjunct faculty member with UAA’s College of Education. While Steve will say this is a district award, his leadership and vision have earned him this well-deserved accolade,” said Turner.
AASA will advance Dr. Atwater’s candidacy to the 2013 National Superintendent of the Year program knowing that he is highly respected by his colleagues, board members, and constituents throughout Alaska. All State Superintendents of the Year will be recognized in February at the 2013 AASA National Conference on Education in Los Angeles, California. Additionally West Homer Elementary has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon School which is a federal award given to schools that show excellence, “The principal and one teacher will travel back to D.C. to receive award in November. It’s a real honor for one of our schools and it’s not the first time we’ve had a school receive this recognition several of our schools have earned this award but is the first one this year and only one of three in the state,” said Atwater.
Yet another national award that Dr. Atwater was excited about comes from the USDA and their Healthier US Schools Challenge and their wellness campaign, “This recognizes four of our schools Kaleidoscope School of Arts & Science, Paul Banks Elementary, Seward Elementary, and Soldotna Elementary and this award is for schools that have excellent nutrition in their school meals, good physical education and nutrition education as well. These are the first schools in Alaska to be recognized in this way. Dean Hamburg is our administrator of student nutrition services and is the kind of person who lives and breaths his job, it almost consumes him at times and his dedication and commitment deserves a lot of credit and accolade for this award,” explained Atwater.