Ms. Virginia Morgan appointed to serve on KPBSD Board of Education

News Release

Soldotna, November 27, 2019—At the special school board meeting on November 26, 2019, Virginia Morgan took the Oath of Office to serve District 6 representing Cooper Landing, Hope, Moose Pass, and Seward schools until the regular municipal election in October, 2020.

“A very special thanks to the four very qualified candidates who took the time and energy to apply for the District 6 East Peninsula School Board seat. I am thrilled and honored that we had four well-rounded candidates who were willing and eager to fill this seat. We are very fortunate in the Kenai Peninsula Borough to have many talented individuals who are so passionate about education.  
On behalf of the entire school board, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our newly appointed board member Virginia Morgan. We are looking forward to working with you and having you on the team!”  

–Board President Penny Vadla

During her interview, among other things, Ms. Morgan’s responses reflected her passion for literacy and reading, community involvement, a high value on relationships, differing opinions, social-emotional learning, and the value of small schools and diversity in KPBSD.

Ms. Virginia Morgan takes the Oath of Office to serve District 6 East Peninsula on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education

“As a previous student, teacher, and currently a parent of students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, I’m excited to have this opportunity to serve on the Board of Education,” said Virginia Morgan. “It will be a great honor to represent Cooper Landing, Hope, Moose Pass, and Seward schools. I want to champion the diversity of our school district, and I look forward to working with the board to build relationships, strengthen connections, and increase opportunities for our youth.”

The next Board of Education worksessions and regular monthly meeting is Monday, December 9, 2019.

Link: November 26, 2019, board meeting and applicant interviews

News Release: School Board will interview four applicants

Soldotna, November 25, 2019—Four applicants will be interviewed for the vacant District 6 East Peninsula seat serving Cooper Landing, Hope, Moose Pass and Seward schools. The special board meeting is Tuesday, November 26, 2019, beginning at 10:00 AM in the Borough Administration Building, 148 N. Binkley St., Soldotna, AK 99669, in the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers.

District 6 East Peninsula Candidate Interviews

Four people applied and met the eligibility qualifications for the District 6 board vacancy, and their applications are available online. The public is welcome to attend the interviews, however, the doors will be shut before each interview begins, as a courtesy to the candidate. Public comment forms will be available in the back of the room for those in attendance only. Interview schedule:

• 10:05 AM: Shawn Butler
• 10:40 AM: Katie Hamilton
• 11:15 AM:  Heather Lindquist
• 11:50 AM: Virginia Morgan

12:30 PM: Executive session, selection of appointee, Oath of Office

The Oath of Office will be administered to the appointed candidate during this special school board meeting.

View the agenda and applications:

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Celebrate Supt. O’Brien – Alaska School Counselor Advocate of the Year

Superintendent John O’Brien was surprised after he delivered a presentation to school counselors in Anchorage when the Alaska School Counselor Association (AkSCA) recognized him as their Advocate of the Year! “The Advocate of the Year award recognizes a special individual or group for their assistance in furthering the mission of school counselors in Alaska,” wrote @MyAkSCA. “The Advocate of the Year may have developed or implemented a new program that affects the well-being of students and staff; they may have initiated improvement in counseling services; or they may have provided outstanding opportunities for the professional growth of counselors. Whether an administrator, community group, or other individual in or out of the school environment, the recipient of this award represents true advocacy for our profession.”

“This recognition by our State’s School Counselors is perhaps one of the most meaningful awards that I have received in my career as a professional educator. Our school counselors play such a vital role in the social and emotional well-being of our students. They build capacity in our schools by assisting our teachers, support staff, and school administrators to understand the importance of educating the whole child.”

Superintendent John O’Brien, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Skyview Middle School counselor Natalie Kant wrote in the nomination for O’Brien, “I have worked in the KPBSD for 30 years. Of those years, I have been a school counselor for 16 years. Throughout my time with KPBSD, I have seen Superintendent O’Brien always support school counselors. At one point in his career, he was the Director of Secondary Education and oversaw all of the district counselors for four years. Through his leadership and district influence, counselors’ voices have been heard. He worked on removing non-counseling duties from counselor’s plates, and his efforts led to school counselors no longer had to be school assessment coordinators.

I remember when counselors wanted to be evaluated by the ASCA (American School Counselor Association) national model instead of the same rubric used by teachers. He allowed school counselors to create a district evaluation tool that aligns with the ASCA National Model. This evaluation tool continues in our district. Because of his continuous support of school counselors, Skyview Middle School and Soldotna High School have become RAMP (Recognized American School Counseling Association Model Program) schools. Making history, these are the first ever RAMP schools in the state!”

What difference does a school counselor professional make in a school? In 2013, former Alaska Governor Sean Parnell proclaimed, “School counselors are an integral part of the educational process and work closely with teachers, administrators, fellow educators, and parents to assist students in exploring their potential and setting realistic academic and career goals.”

Congratulations to Superintendent O’Brien! Together let us celebrate our school counselors, district leadership, and the many ways school counselors assist students, families, and coworkers to create a positive school culture!

Apply for school board vacancy until Nov. 22

Applications accepted until 11-22-19

News Release: School board vacancy in Eastern Peninsula District Applications accepted until November 22, 2019

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education seeks applicants to fill the District 6 (East Peninsula) school board vacancy. KPBSD schools in District 6 are in Cooper Landing, Hope, Moose Pass, and Seward.

  • Applications will be accepted until Friday, November 22, 2019, at 3:00 PM.
  • Applicant interviews will be Tuesday, November 26, 2019, and the successful applicant will take the oath of office on November 26, 2019, during the special school board meeting.
  • The District 6 Term of Office begins November 26, 2019, and will stand for reelection in October 2020.


For information on the role and responsibilities of board members, review the Bylaws of the Board on the District website.


Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, a qualified voter of the State of Alaska and a resident of the Kenai Peninsula and District 6* for 180 days.

Term of Office:

Appointment will begin Nov. 26, 2019. Appointee will stand for re-election in October 2020.


Applications will be accepted until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 2019.
Paper applications and instructions are available are also available at the district office and at the school offices in Seward, Moose Pass, Hope and Cooper Landing.


Applications are due by 3:00 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2019.

Kenai Peninsula Borough District 6 legal description: Borough Code 22.30.010

District 6 map:

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How it works: weather related school delays or closures

snowflakeKPBSD School Weather Related Delays and Closures

Announcing a school closure or two-hour delay start in a timely manner for our students, families, and staff is important to KPBSD administration. Timing of the decision is crucial so we can notify transportation before busses begin their routes, employees head to work, and students and families prepare for a school day, potentially waiting at bus-stops. The decision to close school for the day or institute a two-hour delay start is the responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools.

KPBSD is committed to school safety, and educating every student. An involved process takes place early in the morning before the decision is made to close, or delay the start of school by two-hours. Additionally, if a school make-up day is necessary, several factors contribute to determine the date for one or more make-up days of school.

If school remains open, and you as a parent or guardian do not believe it is safe for your child to travel to school based on conditions in your area, please use your best judgment to decide what is safest for your family. Please notify the school if your child will not attend; absences will be excused.

How things work
Determine and Communicate school closure or two hour delay start

Is school open? Communication to Publicmicrophone

KPBSD district office communications will post two-hour school delays or closures, and subsequent updates, usually starting by 5:30 AM. If nothing is announced, assume schools are open on a normal schedule.

How-to calculate a two-hour delay start timepause time

  • Add two hours to normal school start time.
  • Add two hours to normal bus pick-up time. Thus, students are picked-up two hours later than their normal scheduled bus pick-up time.
  • KPBSD employees arrive two hours later than normal work-day morning schedule.
  • Schools will dismiss at the normal time unless announced otherwise.

Is school closed or delayed? Decision Making Process

Assistant Superintendent gathers information, beginning as soon as accurate information is available. Most of the time this begins very early in the morning. If a significant storm is expected, a decision might be made the night ahead of time, but this rarely happens. Consultation and assessment includes:

  • District transportation staff
  • Apple Bus Company
  • Alaska State Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Alaska State Troopers (AST)
  • Central Emergency Services (CES)
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
  • Homer Electric Association (HEA) and utility providers
  • Weather services
  • Onsite school district employees

The Assistant Superintendent contacts the Superintendent to give an update about specific conditions and offer a recommendation for a two-hour delay start* or school closure. (Delay starts are always two hours.)

The Superintendent of Schools makes a final decision to delay start by two hours, or close schools.

  • School principals are contacted with the decision and supporting information*
  • Principal contacts school staff
  • School may implement automated call system, social media post, or other type of contact message to parents if applicable

*KPBSD may be briefed with information that helps to determine that a two-hour delay start will result in school being in session for the day. At other times, the two-hour delay allows time to assess the evolving conditions, before making the decision to close school for the day. If the roads are impassable due to inclement weather, a two-hour delay will give road crews additional time for sanding and plowing. Updates are posted as soon as decisions are made.

Make-up Instruction Dayscalendar

If school is closed for the day, by state law, a make-up day must be scheduled. KPBSD does not build additional days into the annual calendar for potential inclement weather or school closures that may or may not occur.

A make-up day is generally scheduled on a vacation day, or after the official school calendar ends in May. One day is built into the calendar—typically the third Friday in the last quarter—and is often used as the first option for a make-up day.

Factors to consider when a make-up day is scheduled for one or more schools in KPBSD:

  • Coordinated bus transportation
  • Student nutrition services breakfast and lunch programs
  • Staffing

A few school facts in Alaskaschool

State law mandates a school term of 180 days with up to ten of these days used for teacher in-service.

Per state law, all students must attend school for the minimum of 170 student contact days.

KPBSD teaching contract is 188 days (also includes orientation days and 7 mandated holidays.) Teacher in-service days are part of Professional Development and required by contract. Flexible work days are most often utilized at the front end of the school year (August) in preparation for the school year.

Closing school for the day or instituting a two-hour delay start is a complex decision, with several factors involved. Every effort is made to keep school in session.

If school remains open, and you as a parent or guardian do not believe it is safe for your child to travel to school based on conditions in your area, please use your best judgment to determine what is safest for your child and family. Please notify the school if your child will not attend; absences will be excused.



PDF printout of KPBSD school closure or two hour delay information

KPBSD webpage school closure or two hour delay information

KPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALL

News Release: East Peninsula School Board vacancy

Special Emergency School Board meeting

There is a School Board Vacancy in District 6, East Peninsula (Cooper Landing, Hope, Moose Pass, and Seward schools).

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will hold an emergency special meeting:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 5:00 PM
Betty J. Glick Assembly Chamber
148 N. Binkley St., Soldotna, Alaska

This meeting is held to address a District 6 East Peninsula school board vacancy.

Recommended action: Move to announce a vacancy for school board District 6 East Peninsula and open the application period through November 22, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.

Online Links

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Open invitation to the Kenai Peninsula, 11.12.19 school district budget meeting

Kenai Peninsula school district budget meeting at 20 schools is Tuesday, November 12, 2019

At 6:00 PM on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, KPBSD school principals and district leadership will meet with families, staff, school site councils, and the public after a live video-streamed presentation from the district to 20 school sites.

This budget meeting is the autumn opportunity to involve everyone in this important process. The annual budget for the district and its 42 diverse schools is the foundation for quality instruction and school culture, ensuring all learners can pursue their dreams in a rigorous, relevant, and responsive environment.

2019-11-12 Autumn Budget Meeting 1

*Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 6:00 PM, Regional Gatherings at 20 KPBSD schools:

  • Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Chapman School
  • Cooper Landing School
  • Homer Middle School
  • Hope School
  • Kaleidoscope School of Arts & Science
  • Kenai Central High School
  • Moose Pass School
  • Nanwalek School
  • Nikiski Middle-High School
  • Nikolaevsk School
  • Ninilchik School
  • Port Graham School
  • Seward Elementary
  • Soldotna High School
  • Soldotna Montessori School
  • Sterling Elementary
  • Susan B. English School
  • Tebughna School
  • Tustumena Elementary

Who will attend?

School Site-Councils, parents, staff, students, business partners, community members, and elected officials—everyone is invited to participate.

Flipped Meeting – how-to prepare

To prepare for November 12, kindly review this information online before participating in the meeting so time at the meeting is not needed to do so, then bring your questions and comments to the meeting:


Participant input will be synthesized and presented to the KPBSD school board during future board meetings and work sessions.



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KPBSD leadership recognized by State of Alaska Educational Leaders!

News Release
Kenai Middle School Assistant Principal Dan Beck is State of Alaska 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year!

KPBSD is proud to celebrate Homer Middle School Principal Kari Dendurent who is Region III Principal of the Year, and Kenai Middle School Assistant Principal Dan Beck who is recognized as both the Region III Assistant Principal of the Year AND the State of Alaska 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year!

 2019-10-29 Dan Beck Alaska AP of the Year

In Mr. Beck’s words…

“It is great to be involved in a career that I love, and I wake up each morning feeling good about going to work. As a school principal, there is so much variety in my work, and two days are never the same. I really enjoy that I am not in a position that requires me to do the same things over and over, day after day. I enjoy my interactions with students, and I am hopeful that I am making a positive impact on the students who I have worked with over the years.” –Dan Beck, Kenai Middle School assistant principal


“The first person to encourage me to become a principal was my wife, Tracie Beck. We were teaching together in rural Alaska and she pointed out the skills that I have that she felt would make me a good administrator. She has always been supportive and encouraging, and I am very thankful for her.”


“KMS is a great place to work. I know that it is common to use the term family to describe the people who you work with, but here at KMS I cannot think of another way to describe our workplace relationships. Our staff is great and that really contributes to the enjoyment and fulfillment that I get out of my work. This is my ninth year as the assistant principal at KMS, and the way that Mr. Dosko shares the administrative duties with me contributes to my high level of job satisfaction and longevity. We work closely on all administrative duties and I feel valued as a member of the KMS team.”

Thankful for mentors

“Several administrators were influential mentors to me early in my administrative career. I am thankful for the leadership and direction that Ron Keffer, Gary Whitley, Sam Stuart, and Larry Natta provided to me as I began learning the craft of school administration. They were the people who I looked to for direction and advice when I was new in the profession.”

“Mr. Dan Beck is a well deserving recipient of the Alaska Assistant Principal of the Year honor,” said Superintendent John O’Brien. “He was selected for this honor by his peers for good reason. Dan is a seasoned school administrator having served in principal and assistant principal roles in Alaska and Montana. In every decision Dan makes, he has the best interest of his students in mind. He is an amazing advocate for students and we are all very proud of him!”

Vaughn Dosko, Kenai Middle School principal said about Mr. Beck, “Ten years ago, I was representing Alaska as the Assistant Principal of the year. It is a great pleasure to mentor and work with Dan on a daily basis for the past nine years. Our administration styles mesh in a way that we are able to draw the best out in each other. Dan’s effort and passion for Kenai Middle is on display each and every day. Dan Beck is one of the many reasons why KMS is the great place it is today.”

“I have had the opportunity to work with Dan Beck as a colleague in the capacity of a fellow principal and as a member of the Kenai Peninsula Activities Association for the past seven years,” said Kari Dendurent, Homer Middle School principal. “In addition, I have had the great pleasure of following in his footsteps as the principal of Homer Middle School. While the principal at HMS, Dan created an environment of family and hired several of the phenomenal teachers currently practicing today. It is through his foresight to find and hire quality staff that HMS has become a school of excellence. As a principal colleague, I have had the opportunity to work with Dan in calibration teams and have visited his school often. During my visits, I have seen the compassion, empathy, and true sense of caring for students when walking in the halls with Dan, talking with him as he supervises lunchtime and transitions, as well as the respect he has earned from his students upon entering classrooms. Dan’s rapport with his students is in a coaching capacity and he will treat students as individuals to support them in both their academic and social emotional needs. I have also had the opportunity to work with Dan on the Kenai Peninsula School Activities Association (KPSAA) Board. Dan is level headed in his decision-making and is able to bring the history of decisions made by the board as well as providing sound reasoning to establishing policies. Dan has been invaluable on this board to ensure fairness and equity to the student athletes of the KPBSD.”


Do you have a story tip about someone to profile in the weekly KPBSD graduate, student, or staff profile? Kindly email Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD Director of Communications,


KPBSD Federal Programs Open House + Indian Education Title VI committee meeting

News Release: Federal Programs Open House

You are invited to a KPBSD Federal Programs Open House
November 5, 2019, from 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Cook Inlet Aquaculture Center

40610 K-Beach Rd, Kenai, Alaska

Did you know that local and state contributions to public education make up the bulk of the school district’s budget, but federal funds provide support for targeted activities to expand the opportunities available to students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough? Title I Pre-K is a generally well-known example of a federally funded program, but there are many others!

The November 5, 2019, federal programs events will be downstairs in the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Center on K-Beach Road. Information about the various federally funded programs in KPBSD will be available for review and input, and Dr. Christine Ermold, the KPBSD Director of Professional Learning & Federal Programs will be there to answer your questions.

The Open House will follow the Title VI Advisory Committee Meeting happening from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., also at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Center.


2019-11-5 Title VI Advisory Committee Meeting


2019 Mind aMazes Problem Solving Competition

Mind aMazes!

Mind aMazes 2019 for KPBSD (24 of 70)

The 2019 Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Mind aMazes was musical! In a new location at Skyview Middle School, 47 teams representing 15 KPBSD schools on the Kenai Peninsula competed in the “Music Mechanisms” problem solving competition, and a spontaneous problem that included making shoes, running, and jumping jacks!

The KPBSD gifted education KPBSD Quest program coordinates an annual engineering and problem solving challenge called Mind A-Mazes. This challenge brings teams of students from around the peninsula to a district meet in October where students share constructed devices with judges and attempt to earn points for a set of predetermined tasks.

“Mind aMazes is an incredible event that highlights the creativity and team building skills of students from around the district,” said Clayton Holland, Director of Student Services. “For many students, this event is one of the highlights of the school year and offers a great opportunity to work together as teams to solve challenging problems. The real life learning and collaboration that takes place for students during and in preparation of Mind A-Mazes is amazing and also highlights the great work of our teachers.”

The Mind aMazes challenge focuses on teamwork, communication, and problem solving—key aspects of the project. Students work on sharing their ideas with others, listening to others, trouble-shooting problems that arise, invest hours to test and modify, striving for consistency, and having fun throughout the process! This year’s challenge was fun for the teams, and the October 12, 2019, event at Skyview Middle School turned into a great delight for everyone who participated and rallied in the stands. A big thank you to all the Quest teachers, parents, volunteers, judges, and students who helped make this year’s “Mind aMazes” happen!

The award winners for this year’s “Mind A-Mazes” include:

Junior Division:

  • Judges Choice – Nikiski North Star Elementary “Salty Squids”
  • Spontaneous 1st – K-Beach Elementary “Chubby Chickens”
  • 3rd place Overall – Seward Middle School “Half & Half”
  • 2nd place Overall – Kenai Middle School “VSCO Peppa”
  • 1st place Long-Term & Overall – Seward Elementary “Dragonfly Girls”


Intermediate Division:

  • Judges Choice – Seward Middle School “Ghostbusters”
  • Spontaneous 1st – Nikiski Middle School “Master Procrastinators”
  • 3rd place Overall – Nikiski Middle School “Divide and Conquer”
  • 2nd place Overall – Nikiski Middle School “Master Procrastinators”
  • 1st place Long-Term & Overall – Seward Middle School “The Wood People”

Thank you to Brian Bailey, Mind aMazes organizer, everyone who assisted, and the fantastic teams!

Link: Mind aMazes Blog
Mind aMazes photo album on @KPBSD Facebook

Mind aMazes 2019 for KPBSD (10 of 70)