Volunteers receive Golden Apple awards at board meeting

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board meeting came to order Monday evening with a full house at the Kenai Peninsula Borough chambers.


Supporters gathered to celebrate two community members who were recognized with the Golden Apple award from the KPBSD board. The district bestows the award to district employees and volunteers that work hard to support and advance education.

Elizabeth Wilson, volunteer coordinator of 250 volunteers with Central Peninsula Hospital, was recognized for her work with area high school students.

In 2006, KPBSD and Wilson worked to find placements for district students to volunteer. She created a CPH orientation at the students level and understanding.

“Her trainings created success for the students and the departments where they volunteered,” Penny Vadila read to the group.

The partnership and program were successful for six years, then in 2012 Project Search formed in its place as a collaborative partnership with KPBSD, CPH, Frontier Community Services, the Governor’s Council of Disabilities and Special Education and other organizations across the state and nation.

“Elizabeth Wilson has consistently promoted leadership and citizenship to the students of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District,” she read.

Eric Soderquist has been employed in the information services department for twelve years at the school district, working with the more than 7,000 computers throughout the district. Board member Sammy Crawford read the awarding document.

“Eric is the technical architect and designer of much of what we have accomplished in technology infrastructure. He often charts our course in technical area; he is the filter in which all strategic technology must pass. Ours is a complex computing environment, with many individual pieces fitting together like a puzzle. Eric is the person who makes sure all the pieces fit and work together,” Crawford read.

“Anyone who has used a computer here, saved a file or checked email on their smart phone has been influenced and touched by Eric’s work,” she read.

Both recipients posed for photographs with board members after receiving the awards.

During the Superintendent’s report, Superintendent Steve Atwater shared with the board that CPH has become a preferred provider for KPBSD health care plan. He said the cost of health care services for plan members is expected to be reduced by seven to 25 percent.

Also the district received notice from the state of Alaska that the certificate of the KPBDS’s preventive maintenance facility and management program was renewed.

“This is good news, this was done in response to an audit they did with us,” Atwater said.

The board then unanimously approved the action items on the agenda. The items included: the pay schedule for substitutes and other temporary employees, approval of 2013-2014 new teacher contracts, non-tenure teacher contracts, resignations and high school qualifying exam waiver requests, as well as approval of leave of absence requests and support. The board also approved board policy for student nutrition and school related trips. During board comments, several members gave positive comments to Atwater on the Kenai Peninsula Borough District Annual Report. The 11-page report will be available in the Sunday edition of the Peninsula Clarion.

Earlier in the day, Doug Hayman, principal of Tustumenta Elementary and Soldotna Schools Transition Coordinator, spoke about the future of the Soldotna Schools reconfiguration. The first of six meetings will be held Sept. 10.

The next KPBSD Board Meeting will be held Sept. 9 at Homer High School.


Sara J. Hardan can be reached at sara.hardan@peninsulaclarion.com.