Year End Update: Special Education Service Agency

Clayton Holland
SESA Representative
Superintendent, Kenai Peninsula School District

With the support of superintendents and communities across Alaska, and an Alaska Division of Legislative Audit recommendation for maximum extension, SESA was successfully reauthorized for another eight years beginning July 1, 2021. SESA also received a funding increase to sustain the agency until the next sunset date of June 30, 2029.

With expiration of the current facility lease on June 30, 2022 and the changing work conditions as a result of the pandemic, SESA actively researched alternate premises to save on rent and cater to alternate work locations. The SESA Board has approved a new lease with reduced rent at Suite 2, 2600 Denali Towers in Anchorage. Occupancy is projected to be September 1, 2022.

In FY22 SESA served 413 students across 51 districts and 161 schools. In addition to SESA’s low incidence disability service the agency also hosts the Alaska Autism Resource Center (AARC), the Alaska Center for Accessible Materials (AKCAM), and the Alaska Deaf-Blind Project.

Proactive recruiting has resulted in hiring of an autism specialist, a print disability specialist, and an AARC resource specialist. SESA still has vacancies for a deaf hard of hearing specialist and an executive assistant.

This year SESA will experience a transition of executive director. Patrick Pillai will be retiring after 28 years of service and will be replaced by Olivia Yancey. Olivia started at the agency as a deaf and hard of hearing specialist, earned her type B certification and a certificate in non-profit management from the Foraker Institute, before assuming the role of SESA program administrator. Olivia will assume the role of executive director on July 1, 2022.