FNSBSD Superintendent could be chosen tomorrow
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board is hosting the public to meet the candidates and make comments today about each on the search website. The board may announce their choice as early as Saturday afternoon.
The first of three public events for school superintendent candidates was Thursday night at North Pole High School.
The board gathered questions from teachers, staff, students and community groups. The three candidates weren’t asked so much about teaching, but about leadership. Several questions focused on hiring and retention of teachers and staff.
Dr. Ryan Scallon is the Assistant Superintendent at the School District of Philadelphia. He says students succeed because of the adults in their classrooms.
“ There's pieces around treating teachers and treating staff like professionals that they are, and so that means being really intentional about what are the asks that we have staff do and where do we have agency and voice and decision,” Scanlon said.
Frank Hauser is Superintendent of the Sitka School District. He says regular meetings with staff are important.
“Have a clear idea of where we were going and what can I do to help support you? What can the district office do to support you? Bringing everybody together, understanding what some of the needs were, and being able to find those solutions together collaboratively and cooperatively,” Hauser said.
Luke Meinert is Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools for the FNSBSD. He says teachers told him they want fewer administrative duties that get in the way of teaching.
“ I also firmly believe in shared decision making with our teachers. That's something that I've done throughout my tenure here, and as we're making big decisions, teachers and ESSA staff members need to be a part of those conversations,” Meinert said.
Candidates were given the questions to look over, about a half-hour before the forum. They were asked how to prevent brain drain from Alaska’s teacher workforce, how to collaborate with the community when developing a budget, how to make military students feel welcome in a new district, and how they would protect Native culture in schools.
Meinert talked about his experience in the Yukon-Kuskokwim School District.
“I would like to see come to our school district, a Native language program. YKSD has a very strong Native language program, and that's something that I worked hard to help promote and establish, and something that I'd like to see come to Fairbanks,” Meinert said.
Scallon talked about his experience serving diverse populations over 20 years. He gave an example from working in the South Bronx.
“And I took the time to talk to their families, to talk to the students, and to talk to the teachers to really understand what was needed to help them be successful academically. As a result of that engagement, we created bilingual educational programs for those students at the high school level - something that had not previously been there, and truthfully, something that I may not have thought of myself, but it came from that engagement,” Scallon said.
Hauser talked about working with Native organizations when getting his teacher education at UAF in Fairbanks, while teaching and being a principal 20 years in Anchorage and now with the Sitka Tribe.
“ And making sure that we're working with those partners that celebrate and recognize the importance of traditional ecological knowledge and, you know, working with, um, tribal elders and supporting our students,” Hauser said.
You can hear longer answers to these questions in the recording on the superintendent search webpage. The district would like comments from the public and has set up links on the webpage or you can email comments directly to the Board of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tonight, there is a second forum at West Valley High School from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. It will also be broadcast online on the school district’s website and YouTube channel. The questions collected from stakeholders will be different than those asked last night. Then the board will meet with candidates for formal interviews Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. After the interviews, the board will go into executive session to discuss the candidates.
The board may announce their choice as early as Saturday afternoon. But they have to wait until their offer is accepted before they can officially announce who will be the next superintendent.