NISS Mentor Program Continues to see Successful Results

Sean Dusek
Superintendent Support Services Coordinator,Alaska Superintendents Association

This year, as an organization, we were able to support several leadership programs to find strength through ongoing difficulties at all levels of our communities. The new superintendents, district-level leaders, and aspiring superintendents focused on perseverance, balance, and improving student learning despite the local, state, and national politics while implementing a bumpy return to “normal.” Overall, these programs served 48 professional education leaders around Alaska to prepare for and grow into their roles.

The new superintendent program will see nine second-year superintendents and 17 first-year (new to the profession and/or new to the district) superintendents next year. We are excited that nearly all of them will participate in our highly successful mentoring program. The mentoring component has grown substantially over the last three years in terms of quality and the number of participants. Over 90% of mentor program participants return the following year to their superintendent position.

The District Leaders program provided regular networking opportunities for district-level administrators to meet and discuss common topics. With nineteen regular participants (and 25 overall participants), we discussed legal issues, personnel issues, strategic plan implementation, leadership development, and accountability. We hope to have the opportunity to provide multiple in-person academies next year that coincide with other state-wide professional learning conferences.

The Aspiring Superintendent program continued to evolve this year with a series of webinars focused on what to expect in the superintendent role. In addition, meetings focused on the hiring process with individual feedback as participants prepared to apply for the position. This program is also looking forward to multiple in-person opportunities to discuss the challenges of the position as well as successfully transitioning into the superintendent’s role.

As we close out the 2021-22 school year, we are thankful for all of the great educational leaders around Alaska! We thank them for their hard work and commitment to students through unpredictable times. We are also very appreciative of their willingness to continue their learning and support each other to persevere through the current challenges that have come up in the world of public education.