Former Revilla Junior-Senior High School Principal Doug Gregg has been selected to fill a vacancy on the Ketchikan School Board, and Board Member Diane Gubatayao was elected vice president.

In addition to being a former principal, Gregg is a longtime Ketchikan resident, and previously taught at six of Ketchikan’s public schools, and has volunteered with youth athletic leagues and other local non-profits. He was one of eight candidates interviewed Thursday night.

During the initial two-week application period, only one candidate applied for the vacant seat, former School Board President Trevor Shaw. The board decided to briefly reopen the application period to allow for a more diverse candidate pool. Eleven additional candidates put their names in the hat, but three of those withdrew from consideration before the start of Thursday’s meeting. Shaw was not considered for the vacancy.

A series of questions was posed to each of the remaining eight candidates. Gregg, who was out of town, participated by phone. He was first asked how he saw Ketchikan opening schools this fall.

“At this point I don’t think we have a clear vision of what the fall is going to look like. I’m hopeful that we’re moving to the other side of this bump in the road, and that we’ll be able to resume school closer to normal.”

Gregg was also asked what qualities he would like to see in the new school superintendent. The board recently named Melissa Johnson to fill in as interim superintendent while a search for a permanent replacement for Beth Lougee is underway. In his 20 years with the school district, Gregg says he has seen a wide variety of personalities, and he says he’ll keep an open mind when evaluating candidates for the district’s top job.

“It’s going to be a combination of the qualities that that person brings to the school district, in consultation with the other board members.  And I’m assuming that we could have some input from staff, parents and then trying to decide which person would fit best with what it is that we as a community are looking for.”

Gregg was also asked what he saw as the program most in need of improvement. He says the district is limited by external circumstances, such as the budget and state requirements. Gregg said he believes the district is doing a good job, but says the district should focus more on tailoring curriculum to the needs of individual students.

“It’s our job to take advantage of the individual differences.  I would like to see our education more geared to individual student needs.”

After three rounds of questions and secret-ballot votes whittling down the candidates, Gregg was selected and sworn in Thursday night. He fills the seat vacated by former school board vice-president Sonya Skan who resigned last month, citing medical reasons.  Gregg will serve through this October’s local elections.

Board members Jordan Tabb and Diane Gubatayao were nominated for vice-president. Balloting was anonymous, with Gregg emailing in his vote. Gubatayao was elected vice president.

All board members thanked the applicants for their participation and encouraged them to consider running for the board this fall, when three seats will be open. Filing for local office opens August 2.