On Monday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education held its first meeting since the municipal election, and it was about as close to an Academy Awards ceremony as a governing body can get.
The meeting was an upbeat affair of new beginnings and kudos to the best the district has to offer.
New member Margaret Gilman was sworn in to replace Sandra Wassilie, whom she defeated at the polls. Deborah Germano and Sammy Crawford, who were re-elected, also were sworn in.
They joined student representative Katie Lockwood, a senior at Skyview High School near Soldotna, who took her seat at the Oct. 1 school board meeting in Seward.
The board went through its annual reorganization.
Dr. Nels Anderson was elected as the new president, replacing Germano, who was selected as vice president. Crawford became board clerk and Joe Arness the treasurer.
Anderson praised Germano's stint as board president, with special note of her lobbying efforts in Juneau to increase state education funding.
"I just want to give Mrs. Germano a hand for her wonderful two years of service," he said.
Then the board got down to the business of honoring district staffers.
State Commissioner of Educa-tion and Early Development Shirley Holloway was on hand to announce that Bruce Rife had won the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.
Tammy Anderson, representing BP Exploration Alaska, was on hand to present the BP Teacher of the Year Award to Jerry Dixon, Quest teacher from Seward Elementary School. The award cited Dixon's hard work to bring community resources such as the Alaska SeaLife Center and grant funding into education and his ability to generate enthusiasm for learning among students.
"It is a pleasure and a privilege working in this district," Dixon said.
He praised his colleagues and the BP program, noting that he has nominated other teachers for it. Having students and parents congratulate him is extremely gratifying, he said.
His students and teaching in Seward are so enjoyable that he has not taken a single sick day in eight and a half years on the job, he said.
"I would rather get up and go to work," he said.
The district also honored two long-time employees from Kenai Central High School.
Custodian Clarence Duncan and music teacher Renee Henderson have worked for the district for 31 and 30 years, respectively.
"The kind of loyalty displayed by Renee and Clarence is exactly the kind of thing that makes the Kenai Peninsula such a great place," Crawford said.
The board gave a golden apple award for outstanding service to education to Rick Abbott, the manager of Spenard Builders Supply.
Gilman, introducing the award, noted that the company is a prime example of community support for the public schools through its willingness to contribute to school projects.
In other school board business:
The board and administration reminded the public that everyone is invited to some upcoming meetings dealing with peninsula public schools.
Today, a committee will meet at 2 p.m. to discuss the possibility of changing current rules from at-large to districting for school board seats.
Curriculum review and revision committees have begun work on updating the social studies and health curriculums.
The next school board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Homer High School.
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