2022 MacKinnon Excellence in Education Award

Bristol Bay Borough School District School Board Member Michael Swain, Jr. Receives

2022 Don MacKinnon Excellence in Education Award

Michael Swain, Jr., Bristol Bay Borough School District (BBBSD) School Board Member, was awarded the 2022 Don MacKinnon Excellence in Education Award by the Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA). Swain was announced as the award recipient at the ASA fall conference. 

Swain graduated from Bristol Bay High School in 1992 and has served on the BBBSD school board since 2003. During his tenure he has held the positions of board secretary and president. Swain is also a two-time past president of AASB and currently serves on the NSBA Board of Directors and is chair of the American Indian/Alaska Native Council.

BBBSD Superintendent Bill Hill said one of Swain’s goals when joining the school board was to offer better programs for students that cultivated learning. “Under Mr. Swain’s leadership, the Bristol Bay Regional Career and Technical Education program was created.” The program helps high school students earn college credits or industry-recognized certifications to help students learn skills they can take into their careers. 

Swain has led the development of an $18 million school renovation project in the district despite turbulent financial times in the state. He has also been instrumental in implementing the ANSEP Middle School Academy, a regional program serving middle school students from all the villages in the Bristol Bay Region. 

Superintendent Hill said that in addition to his accolades, “Mr. Swain also finds it important to have a presence in the school. If there is a special event, such as holidays or various celebrations, he can often be found helping staff by barbequing or serving food.” He added, “Even though Mr. Swain’s children have graduated and moved on to the next phase of their lives, he continues to be a strong advocate for all Alaskan students while ensuring that Bush Alaska has a voice locally, regionally, statewide, and nationally.

The MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award was established in 1985 to recognize Don MacKinnon and his service to education in Alaska.

Don was the first Executive Director of the Alaska Association of School Administrators and the Alaska Council of School Administrators. He was instrumental in forming a cooperative alliance among all school administrators and organizations.

In honor of his work to forge professional relationships on behalf of Alaska’s young people, the AASA Board of Directors established this award to be given to school board members who have provided meritorious service to their school districts and communities.


Previous Recipients

2020 – John Hischer, Skagway School District 

2019 – Tiffany Jackson, Aleutians East Borough School District

2018 – Andi Story, Juneau School District

2017 – Kathleen Plunkett, Anchorage School District

2016 – Sandy Shroyer-Beaver, Northwest Arctic Borough School District

2013 –Michael Kampnich, Craig City School District

2012 – Gretchen Guest, Anchorage School District

2011 – Harold Ivanoff, North Slope Borough School District
Crystal Kennedy, Anchorage School District

Joe Arness, 2010 recipient

Joe Arness, 2010 recipient

2010 – Joe Arness, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

2009- Tim Steele, Anchorage School District
Sharon Wilson, Bristol Bay School District

2008 – Tom Conley, Sitka School District

2007 – Patty Alsworth, Lake and Peninsula Borough Schools
Mary Becker, Juneau Borough Schools
Nancy Hollis, Denali Borough Schools
Dennis Thomas, Kuspuk City Schools
Grace Villarreal, Hoonah City Schools

Tim Steele, 2009 recipient

Tim Steele, 2009 recipient

2006 – Darren Belisle, Skagway City School District
Sammy Crawford, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

2005 – Virginia Bender, Chugach School District

2004 – Chris Ellis, Skagway City School District
Tammy Fowler Pound, Unalaska City School District
Wayne Morgan, Kuspuk School District

2003 – Eileen Armstrong, Denali Borough School District
Fred Bifelt, Yukon Koyukuk School District
Ruth Birky, Kuspuk School District
Marie Paul, Southwest Region School District

Sharon Wilson, 2009 recipient

Sharon Wilson, 2009 recipient

2002 – Debra Mullins, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

2001 – Thomas Arts, Valdez City School District
Lois Morgan, Southeast Island School District

2000 – Cynthia Henry, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
Rick Kniaziowski, Unalaska City School District

1999 – Michael Hunt, Lower Yukon School District
Judith Snow-Rosander, Iditarod Area School District
Sharon Svarney-Livingston, Unalaska City School District

1998 – Shirley Jackson, Kake City School District
Forest “Deano” Olemaun, North Slope Borough School District
Sally Rue, Juneau School District
Ralph Tronrud, Skagway City School District

1997 – Nels Franklin, Southwest Region School District
Michael Murphy, Nome Public School District
Sue Wilken, Fairbanks North Start Borough School District

1996 – Bruce Bachen, Sitka Borough School District
Sandra Carlquist, Unalaska City School District
William Messmer, Wrangell City School District

1995 – Robert “Bob” Anderson, Klawock City School District
Annie Christensen, Lake & Peninsula School District
Raymond Collins, Iditarod Area School District
Richard Mauer, Delta/Greely School District

1994 – Paul Brendible, Annette Islands School District
Doris Fales, Delta/Greely School District
Alice Knowles, Kodiak Island Borough School District