District 6, Wassilie: Community health depends on good schools

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Sandra Wassilie of Seward has plenty of experience in the world of education.

Now, she wants to bring that service to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education.

The lifelong Alaskan is running for a one-year seat representing District 6-East Peninsula on the board.

Wassilie not only has her own education her original training is as a researcher in freshwater biology and the experience of putting two sons through the school system in Seward.

She also has worked in adult education, starting an adult basic education program with the in Anchorage years ago, and vocational education, where she worked in the learning resources department and in student administration at the Alaska Vocational Technical Education Center in Seward.

In addition, she has served on the school board in the past, when she was appointed for a nine-month term filling Mike Chenault's seat when he became a state representative.

This fall, Wassilie is looking to get back on the board to help improve the state of education on the peninsula.

"I think I can make a contribution from my experience," she said. "My desire is to see good education for kids. I think the health of our community is very dependent on having good schools."

Wassilie, like most board candidates, said money is likely to be one of the biggest issues facing the district in the coming years.

"The No. 1 challenge is convincing the Legislature they ought to spend the money that is there on education at an adequate level," she said.

But, she said, there are other issues she wants to tackle as well.

"The other challenge is looking at kids that aren't in school: Are they in alternative programs or are they just not going to school at all? It's hard, but we need to look at that issue," she said.

Another challenge she foresees is finding a way, despite budget shortages, to provide a variety of programs for students.

"How we can provide alternatives to kids but keep them under the umbrella of the public school system," she said. "It's really important. Otherwise, we will get into a slow dismantling of the public school system."

Wassilie said she believes the district has the tools it needs to meet the challenges before it.

"I think our district has a wonderful reputation," she said.

"And I think even though we're getting cut to the bone on schools, we have good people on the peninsula who are willing to problem solve."

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