Anchorage School District takes community input for new superintendent

The board hopes to hire a new superintendent by the end of March
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 9:16 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The search for a new superintendent has begun for the Anchorage School District after Superintendent Deena Bishop announced her retirement last year.

Bishop will retire effective June 30, 2022. She’s served as superintendent for the last six years.

Anchorage School Board President Margo Bellamy said the district is in the first phase of the search for Bishop’s replacement, where a profile is being built of what the Anchorage community is looking for when it comes to their new superintendent. On Thursday, a virtual town hall was held asking the community those questions.

“The board will make the final decision, but the board really desire to hear from our community in as many ways as possible so that we can factor their desires into our screening process,” Bellamy said.

Bellamy said they have made it to where the board is not influencing the search process at all.

The district hired a third-party national search firm and made two committees: an internal committee with just the district employees, and an external process facilitated by the organization Leadership Anchorage. Both of these groups will be working with the search firm.

“They’re also conducting interviews throughout the community with parent groups, organizations, partners,” Bellamy said. “We want not just a lot of voices, but we want diversity in our voices and how people are able to give input.”

On Thursday night, Leadership Anchorage hosted a virtual town hall asking many different questions to get feedback from the community, questions like: “What is the most important leadership quality you want to see in the next superintendent?”

People answered this by saying they want to see open communication, transparency, and support of the arts and celebration of non-traditional school activities.

The organization also asked: “What is the most important issue which the new superintendent will need to address?”

In response to this question, people talked about keeping employees, conversations about equity for students in school policy, and the district’s budget.

There are going to be three more virtual town hall meetings where people can participate and give their input:

  • Jan. 22, 10-11 a.m.
  • Jan. 25, 12-1 p.m.
  • Jan. 27, 6-7 p.m.

There is also a survey on the district’s website where people will be asked a few questions and are able to give input on what they want to see in a superintendent, which closes Feb. 2, 2022.

“Our superintendent will serve our community,” Bellamy said. “Our superintendent will serve all of our kids. ... It was very important to the board to have as much public participation in the process.”

The school board is looking to hire the new superintendent by the end of March.

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