Anchorage School District holds virtual town hall meeting ahead of superintendent selection

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 8:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The hiring process for the Anchorage School District’s next superintendent continued on Tuesday as the school board held a virtual town hall meeting for the three finalists for the position. The board said an applicant will be chosen within the next 10 days.

For an hour and a half, candidates were asked questions from the community discussing the school district, leadership qualities, why they are the right fit for ASD and other aspects of the job. The applicants include Jharrett Bryantt from Houston, Sitka School District Superintendent Frank Hauser, Mathew Neal from Colorado.

“One of the reasons why I applied to Anchorage School District is because I’m driven by serving students in diverse communities and in urban school systems that are large and complex,” Bryantt answered when asked about his leadership style. “That’s been my entire career and it’s something that I’m very proud of and I also have many years of experience leading large teams in a complex system.”

Bryantt has a Doctor of Education from the University of Texas and went on to become the executive officer in the office of talent for the Houston Independent School District.

“When I stepped into the principal role at Service High School attendance was a concern. The school had one of the lowest attendance rates across high schools. My primary focus that first year and every single year I was there was making sure that we connected with our students,” Hauser responded when asked about lowering the dropout rate. “... When I left Service at the end of last year, our dropout rate was 0.88, half the dropout rate of the other comprehensive high schools.”

Hauser was the principal of Service High School from 2015 to 2021 after starting his career with the Anchorage School District as a music teacher in 1998. Since 2021, Hauser has been the superintendent of the Sitka School District.

Neal is a superintendent of the Woodland Park School District and previously held leadership roles in Colorado and Wyoming. He earned his Doctor of Education from the University of Southern California.

“An example is in our current district when surveyed our students say 96% of them say they have an adult that they can trust,” Neal said while discussing social and emotional learning during the town hall. “That’s really important to take feedback and are our students responding well to our intervention process when it comes to social, emotional learning. Prior to my district that I’m in now, we developed a values-based positive behavior intervention and support where it was really tied to behaviors in the classrooms and the playgrounds.”

Residents can leave feedback on the survey forms attached to candidates’ resumes and biographies posted on the district’s website until Wednesday at noon. The complete video of Tuesday’s virtual town hall can be seen on YouTube.

The board is set to hold final interviews with each candidate before making a selection.

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