Ketchikan’s school board postponed its evaluation of Superintendent Beth Lougee for the second time on Thursday. The top district official has faced criticism from Alaska Native leaders and others over her leadership.
School board president Kim Hodne told KRBD that the superintendent is currently on leave and would not attend Thursday’s scheduled school board meeting.
A school district employee said Lougee wasn’t feeling well and was expected to be out of the office for the remainder of the week.
Her absence meant her twice-yearly job performance evaluation would not continue as scheduled. It’s the second time the closed-door review has been put off by the school board.
Alaska Native leaders have leveled criticism against Lougee during the evaluation process, with some testifying in person, accusing her of giving short shrift to the Alaska Native faculty and cultural curriculum. The governing body of Ketchikan’s federally-recognized tribe issued a letter late last year saying “trust has been severed” between the district and the Indigenous community under Lougee’s leadership.
The superintendent has so far declined to answer her critics in public. She has not responded to repeated interview requests left at her office over the past several weeks, including on Thursday.
Hodne says the board is working out when to reschedule the meeting. Hodne says the board may resume the evaluation school board’s regular meeting on Jan. 13 or at a special meeting the following week, on Jan. 19.
Lougee was hired in 2017 as the district’s curriculum director. She became superintendent when the district’s previous superintendent resigned. She had previously served as a middle school principal in New Mexico.