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

District down to a single finalist


Following the Wrangell school district’s hire of Jay Thomas, the Haines Borough school board is down to a single finalist for its superintendent job – Ted VanBronkhorst, director of human resources for the Bering Strait School District.

The public will get a chance to ask questions of VanBronkhorst at a community reception starting 7 p.m. Friday at the Haines School library. The school board meets starting 9 a.m. Saturday, including a closed-door session, to decide if they want to offer VanBronkhorst the job.

Before Thomas was hired by Wrangell early this week, he and VanBronkhorst were scheduled to visit town concurrently.

At a workshop Tuesday, members of the district’s hiring committee expressed reluctance to return to its list of 16 initial applicants if the board isn’t satisfied with VanBronkhorst. “My No. 3’s all got bad recommendations from (current superintendent) Michael (Byer),” said Lilly Boron, who serves as a staff representative to the hiring group.

“They weren’t running neck and neck,” said school board member Scott Doddridge.

Pointing to a number of open superintendent positions statewide, member Brian Clay suggested there may not be many choices left for the job. “The pool’s going to get thinner before it gets deeper.”

Board chair Anne Marie Palmieri said she would lean toward a $95,000 annual contract for VanBronkhorst, who doesn’t hold a superintendent certificate. She said she would also seek a 235-day contract, 10 work days more than Byer’s contract. Palmieri said 235 days was in line with the state average for the job.

Palmieri said receiving certification as a superintendent could be written into a contract for VanBronkhorst. Besides creating a schedule for VanBronkhorst’s three-day visit here starting Thursday, the hiring committee on Tuesday developed a list of questions for the candidate.

They include ones about budgeting, decision-making style and how to boost the district’s homeschool program.

District staff members will get a chance to ask questions of VanBronkhorst at the school library starting at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

VanBronkhorst has worked as a principal in Aniak, a guidance counselor and math teacher in Skagway and a teacher in Wenatchee, Wash. He holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Alaska-Anchorage.


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