UPDATE: This meeting has been postponed and will be rescheduled, tentatively for Jan. 7th.
Ketchikan’s school board will continue evaluating the district’s top administrator on Tuesday. She’s facing allegations that she has shortchanged Alaska Native teachers and staff.
The board started its evaluation of Superintendent Beth Lougee on Dec. 10. At that meeting, they heard public criticism that Lougee hadn’t provided Alaska Native teachers and staff with the proper resources to do their jobs.
One tribal leader pointed to a widely-circulated photo of a cultural coordinator working on the floor because she wasn’t provided furniture for a new office. An Alaska Native employee said she was dismissive of subordinates, though another district staffer, who is white, stepped forward to defend her.
Then board members closed the doors for a more than three-hour discussion. The school board president announced at the end of the meeting that the board would conduct a community survey before completing Lougee’s evaluation.
About two weeks later, leaders of Ketchikan’s federally-recognized tribe issued a letter saying they had “no confidence” in Lougee’s leadership of the school district. The letter from Ketchikan Indian Community’s Tribal Council says she’s treated Alaska Native staff and parents with “little regard or respect.”
Lougee has yet to publicly respond to the allegations. She did not answer repeated requests that she respond to criticism from staff and community members.
Lougee’s contract says she’ll face a review twice a year. She’s held the top job in the school district for two years. She was promoted to superintendent in late 2018 after the district’s previous chief resigned. The board and Lougee agreed to a two-year contract in February.
Lougee’s contract allows the board to fire her for “good cause” without paying severance.
Lougee faced complaints that she’d mistreated employees in a previous job as principal of a school in Silver City, New Mexico. She denied the allegations earlier this year in an interview with KRBD, saying she hadn’t done anything wrong.
A New Mexico labor relations official told KRBD the complaints were settled and withdrawn in 2016. Lougee left the district the following year.
Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Ketchikan High School library. Unlike most Ketchikan school board meetings, it will not be live-streamed online nor broadcast on television. Seating is limited, and face masks are required. The board is scheduled to hear public comment at the beginning of the meeting before a closed-door session.