KPBSD Inspiration, Paul Ostrander, Soldotna High School Class of 1986, Kenai City Manager
“Fight against the part of you that questions your potential. Your self-doubt is the single biggest hurdle to your success in life. Belief in yourself will lead to others believing in you.” –Paul Ostrander, Soldotna High School Class of 1986
Ostrander is a familiar name in Kenai and Soldotna—Paul is now the city manager—and the entire state roots for his daughter Allie, a long-distance runner and graduate from Kenai Central High School. However, about his childhood, Paul explains, “I grew up in Kenai, Alaska, but my mom taught at Soldotna Elementary so I always rode to school with her during my days at Soldotna Elementary where I established friendships that continued in the Soldotna schools through graduation.” After attending Soldotna Elementary, Soldotna Junior High, and Soldotna High School, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Montana State University and a Teaching Certificate from University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Now you will find Paul at the helm of the city of Kenai, working as the city manager. Here’s an inspiration: three of the largest cities on the Kenai Peninsula all have KPBSD graduates working everyday as their respective city managers now!
In his words…
The Great Outdoors
As a kid, I rode my bike all over town every summer growing up, hanging out at the mall, on the beach, or off-roading on the trails north of town, but my favorite spot was on the Kenai River. I spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours fishing the Kenai River, mostly in the slough directly above Eagle Rock boat launch. It was a short walk from the house I grew up in, giving me the freedom to get there as a kid without help from mom and dad.
I had the same teacher for both first and third grade at Soldotna Elementary—Mrs. Doris Brewer. She was an amazing educator, but beyond that, she helped shape the character of her students in impressive ways. She taught me that every day you should strive to meet your very highest standard. She was consistent, fair, and had high expectations. Traits she helped instill in me at a young age and that I aspire to meet and emulate to this day.
I still love to fish and hike. Doing just about anything with my wife, Teri, and daughters, Taylor and Allie, qualifies as my favorite things. We all love the outdoors and our fondest memories are from time spent enjoying many of the amazing opportunities that Alaska has to offer.”
What separates Kenai is its heart.
I never know what challenges I might face on any given workday. A city manager has a unique opportunity to learn more about what makes a city unique, and working to engage residents and employees toward what matters most to the community we live in is a challenge that is both exciting and rewarding.
Kenai has a diverse history and residents are ardent in their support of their hometown. When people talk about living in Kenai, whether talking about fishing the river or family time on the beach, you can sense the pride they have in our natural resources and community.
The statement that, it’s the best place to live in the world, is heard often, and meant wholeheartedly.
Project Top Priority
The City of Kenai has been pursuing the Bluff Stabilization Project for the better part of 40 years, and for the first time in our history, the project is ready to become a reality. It will stabilize approximately one mile of river bluff fronting Old Town Kenai. A stable bluff will protect the original part of Kenai–the heart of our City. I am excited to see this project begin and stimulate other projects that explore Kenai’s tremendous potential.
What advice would you give to young people today? “Fight against the part of you that questions your potential. Your self-doubt is the single biggest hurdle to your success in life. Belief in yourself will lead to others believing in you.”
- Three cities, three decades, three leaders KPSBD graduate #inspiration Part 1 of 4
- Katie Koester, Homer High School Class of 1998
City Manager, Homer, Alaska cityofhomer-ak.gov
- Paul Ostrander, Soldotna High School Class of 1986
City Manager, Kenai, Alaska http://www.ci.kenai.ak.us/
- Stephanie (Arbelovsky) Queen, Kenai Central High School Class of 2000
City Manager, City of Soldotna https://soldotna.org/
Do you have a story tip about a KPBSD graduate to profile in our Wednesday Inspiration? Kindly email Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD communications liaison, Pegge@KPBSD.org.