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School board recognized with top honor

Posted: November 9, 2011 - 6:36pm

While the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education met on Tuesday, there was a clear message: good work is being done on the Kenai Peninsula.

The board was awarded the 2011 Outstanding School Board of the Year award. The award, from the Association of Alaska School Boards, was announced during the 58th annual AASB conference in Anchorage that took place November 3-6.  

“I am thrilled that our board is being recognized in this way,” said KPBSD superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater. “It was great to see them receive this in front of the school board members from across the state.

“Their dedication to the students of the Kenai is unwavering — they deserve this accolade.”

Board President Joe Arness said the board is able to see things from other perspectives, and that is what makes them successful. 

“It’s a great group that we’ve got here, it’s a very diverse group, a bunch of people who come at it from different directions,” Arness said. “It’s interesting how we’ve been able to mold it all into a functioning organization.”

There are five criteria that the board was assessed on by the AASB. The first criterion is community engagement.

“Actions the board has taken that have resulted in positive changes in communities are to establish partnerships with more than 100 organizations in our diverse communities,” a statement by the district said. “These partnerships focus on providing mental health services, juvenile justice programs, local police and state trooper alliances, medical services, and work with agencies to provide wraparound services for families.

The other criteria include: level of AASB/UAF Boardsmanship Academy, demonstrated evidence of leadership as measured against AASB School Board Standards, participation in state and national activities and evidence of growth in student achievement.

Board Vice-President Liz Downing received the 2011 National Distinguished Board Member award along with nine other Alaskans. 

“I was so surprised and honored,” Downing said. “I so appreciate this award.”

In other business, the board heard presentation from Marilyn Johnson, principal and teacher at the Tebughna School in Tyonek and from Scott Handley, principal and teacher at the Nanwalek School.

Walmart presented Project GRAD with $25,000 to be used for its summer transition camp.

 Logan Tuttle can be reached at logan.tuttle@peninsulaclarion.com.

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