Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Board names 4 finalists for superintendent position


School board president Anne Marie Palmieri said this week a new school superintendent could be hired as soon as the end of next week, but the decision may be pushed back to accommodate candidates’ travel schedules.

The board chose four finalists for the job Wednesday night: Holly Cervin, a school principal in Gustavus; Virginia Jewell, a Monroe, Ga ., resident and superintendent of American University School of Kuwait; Iner Joelson, superintendent of Laurens-Marathon School District in Laurens, Iowa, and Ralph Crosslin, who served until 2013 as principal in Nenana and now lives in Bellaire, Mich.

The district closed the application period for the job April 25, following a second round of advertising. The district’s two, top candidates resulting from a first round of advertising both accepted jobs elsewhere.

The most recent field of candidates includes 11 new ones and five who also applied during the first round.

Palmieri said she was interested in several candidates in the new pool. “I think we have a good group of people. We’ll have to see what happens (when the school board reviews them).”

Also, as some of the finalist candidates are from far away, logistics of travel might keep them from getting here for scheduled public receptions May 8. Interviews and a hire are tentatively set for May 9. “People may not be able to get here that quickly. Then we’ll adjust,” Palmieri said.

Candidates new to the pool included: Michael Franklin, a Coast Guard Lt. Commander in Valdez who holds a master’s degree in education; Dennis Coulter, superintendent of Valley School District in Hazelton, Idaho; Janet Friedlos, superintendent of Tate Topa Tribal School in Tahoe City, Calif .; Samuel Johnson, superintendent of Leflore County School in Greenwood, Miss .; Ken Segroves, adjunct professor at Navajo Technical College in Ganado, Ariz .; and Ismael Villafane, headmaster of the Caribbean School in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

First-round candidates who re-applied included: Craig Crebar, a principal at Northwest Arctic Borough School District in Kotzebue; Timothy Stathis, director of curriculum for Yukon Flats School District in Fort Yukon; Nancy Moon, principal of Houghtaling Elementary School in Ketchikan; Paul Rockhold, principal of Humes Preparatory Academy in Memphis, Tenn .; and Richard Lee, acting administrator, Steamboat Springs, Colo.

During the first round of applications, board members expressed little interest in interviewing any of the initial 16 candidates besides Jay Thomas and Ted VanBronkhorst, both of whom work for the Bering Strait School District.

Palmieri said the district doesn’t have a “drop-dead” date for the hire, but would like to make a decision as soon as possible. The superintendent’s contract period starts July 1, but an incoming superintendent could count that as the non-working month in the district’s 11-month contract.

There’s no pressing school business for an incoming superintendent to manage, she said.

Palmieri said superintendent Michael Byer has offered to return to Haines in early August to help train his successor, but such an arrangement – including pay – has yet to be approved by the board.

The district also plans to hire three new teachers in the coming year, with the recent resignations of teachers Nevada Benton and Ella Bredthauer and the promotion of high school English teacher Rene Martin to the position of “dean of students.”

The district expects to hire a high school English teacher, a primary school teacher and a high school special education teacher, Palmieri said.

Martin’s promotion will go before the board for approval at its May 13 meeting.