JUNEAU (AP) Roger Sampson was named to be the next education commissioner by Gov. Frank Murkowski on Friday.
Sampson, an education consultant and former superintendent of the Chugach School District, was picked after a daylong interview with the state Board of Education.
Sampson is the final cabinet-level post to be picked by the governor. Murkowski lauded his accomplishments as an educator and said Sampson will help the state meet the challenges of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
He's a leader, and he's the person we need to take our education system to higher levels of performance,'' Murkowski said.
Sampson was superintendent at Chugach from 1994 to 2000. Before that, he served as a principal in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District from 1984 to 1994. He is a past special education director and federal programs director for Annette Island School District in Metlakatla.
Sampson was named National Rural Superintendent of the Year in 1997 and Alaska Principal of the Year in 1987. He also was appointed to serve on a standards-based education committee under former-Gov. Walter Hickel.
Richard Mauer, chairman of the state Board of Education, said Sampson was chosen after a daylong interview with Sampson and fellow finalist Fred Pomeroy.
Pomeroy is former superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and also a superintendent of the year award winner.
Murkowski thanked legislative leaders for passing a bill to allow Sampson to return to state service without paying a penalty in retirement benefits. The GOP-controlled Legislature sent such a bill to the governor over the objection of Democrats, who wanted it extended to retired teachers who return to the classroom.
The state education board names a commissioner, who is approved by the governor. The appointment does not require legislative confirmation.
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