President, Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) and President Alaska Association of Secondary Principals(AASSP)
Principal, Begich Middle School
The transition from spring to summer is usually my favorite time of the year in Alaska. The snow is disappearing as buds on trees are developing, and the promise of a beautiful summer season lies ahead. It’s also an excellent time for reflection on education. When I chose “persevering together” as this year’s theme, I was inspired by how education leaders in our state have come together over the last two years amid the many challenges we have faced.
Life events often put things in proper perspective for us. Seven days before I typed this, one of my teachers unexpectedly passed away. He was young, vibrant, and likely a future educational leader. His students loved him and sharing this news with them was devastating. Today, I visited with his students again and had to tell them that one of their classmates had passed away and was likely the victim of a homicide. Sitting in the principal’s chair today, masks, contact tracing, and everything else we’ve collectively worried about during the Covid-19 era seem trivial. I know that many of you have lost loved ones over the past year, and the pandemic has made grieving more complicated than it ever was before. I’m sorry for all your losses, and I hope the coming summer gives you rest and peace.
When I measure my school’s successes this year, I will be focused less on test results and grades and more on how my learning community has redefined persevering together. As a community of educators, we should do the same. We should recognize how we have opened new communication channels with our colleagues as we navigated the challenges we faced and how we need to continue to work together, knowing that we can support each other as a community.
I want to thank everyone who attended our annual ACSA Legislative Fly-In. It feels like our voices are being heard, and better days for education funding in Alaska are on the horizon due to our perseverance. Remember that we’re playing the long game. Sometimes it takes a few legislative sessions to move our priorities forward, so stay hopeful and keep sharing your stories with your legislators. Thank you to everyone who has shared their valuable time to be part of our one voice for Alaska’s students.