Seven people have applied for an open seat on the Ketchikan School Board, vacated when Board Member Glenn Brown was hired as the new borough attorney. The borough attorney sometimes advises the school board, so Brown couldn’t remain on that body. Brown also was the board’s vice president.
The Ketchikan School Board will consider who to appoint to his seat during its regular meeting on Wednesday.
The seven applicants are Christa Hagan, Christina Weber, Christopher Baca, Gregory Jennings, Lana Boler, Myrna Johannsen and Sarah Fitzgerald.
In her application, Hagan writes that she’s interested in running for the seat when it is on the ballot this coming fall. She said some of the big issues facing the district include improving standardized testing scores, developing a sound budget and achieving a labor contract with the Ketchikan Education Association.
The district is currently negotiating with KEA.
Weber writes that she wants to provide more of a parent’s perspective on the board. She said one way the district could improve is better opportunities for children who are behind, but not eligible for special services.
Baca writes that he would like to improve the district’s relationship with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. He said attracting and keeping good teachers, and keeping a close eye on the budget are issues the district faces.
Jennings writes that the current fiscal climate is the largest issue facing the district. He said the board needs to find creative and strong solutions to use its resources well.
Boler writes that she spent all 12 years of school in the local system, and wants today’s students to have the same opportunities that she had. She suggests that the district bring back its aviation program, because aviation is such an important part of life in Southeast Alaska.
Johannsen is the former administrative assistant for the school board, and writes that her experience in that area makes her uniquely qualified for the interim board seat. She suggests that the board create a policy committee to review and revise policies on a rotating schedule, to make sure they are up to date.
Fitzgerald is a Ketchikan High School graduate, and is close to completing her degree at University of Alaska Southeast. She writes that she is legally blind, and that gives her a unique perspective, especially for special-needs students in the district. Big issues she said the district faces include fundraising for activities, overcrowding at Houghtaling Elementary School and a deficient math program.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the board will interview each candidate, then anonymously list their top choices on a paper ballot. A rather complicated process follows, with points given to candidates based on their anonymous rankings. The end result will be the board voting openly on appointing one candidate.
After a new board member is appointed and sworn in, the board will choose a new vice-president.
Here is a PDF of the candidates’ full applications, taken from the board meeting packet: School board applicants