News Release: Your Voice is Needed Community schools, sports and activities, and effective class sizes are critical to continue successful outcomes for K-12 schools on the Kenai Peninsula. In February, the Governor proposed a budget substitute for the 2019-2020 school year that will result in a cut of $22.4 million from KPBSD schools. However, the Governor and state legislators want to hear from you about that proposed budget before it is set in stone. Therefore, now is the time to join the conversation and contribute to positive outcomes for our young people through these opportunities to speak up about what you value ...
“I know that I'm in a good place in my career because I am excited to come to work each day and, on the drive home, my mind is spinning about all the interesting and exciting topics I addressed throughout the day. Moreover, I feel I am working on technologies that, implemented in the right way, can have a massive positive impact for humankind. And I am lucky to work for a company with strong values that shares my desire to use technology as a force for good.” -Dean Carignan, Director of Program Management for Artificial Intelligence Research, Microsoft Corporation Kenai ...
One school district: 43 diverse schools: Kenai Peninsula graduate inspirations The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District encompasses 25,600 miles, with 43 diverse schools including neighborhood schools, a K-12 school house, Russian Old Believer schools, a performance based school, four charter schools, Connections Homeschool, and four schools only accessible by boat or plane. Meet #ClassOf2016 graduate inspirations Three years ago, these young people were beginning their last few months of K-12 education in Kenai Peninsula schools. These student graduate snapshots demonstrate Kenai Peninsula school success. A full story is online for each graduate—click their name to read on. Jayce Miller [Connections Homeschool] Valedictorian, his academic achievements, including a ...
[caption id="attachment_5263" align="aligncenter" width="517"] Susan B English remotely contributing to the Student Advisory Board at the Borough-Wide Student Council Meeting.[/caption] More than 50 students from Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools gathered for the districtwide student government conference March 4, 2019, held at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska. Students arrived in Seward for this annual in-person conference from Homer, Kenai, River City, Nanwalek, Nikiski, Seward, Soldotna, and remotely via videoconferencing with Susan B. English students form Seldovia. Congratulations to the students elected to district leadership positions in the 2019-2020 school year! Board of Education Information Committee: Kaegan Koski River City ...
Six state legislators represent Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools Senator Peter Micciche, Peter.Micciche@akleg.gov Senator Gary Stevens, Gary.Stevens@akleg.gov Representative Ben Carpenter, Ben.Carpenter@akleg.gov Representative Gary Knopp, Gary.Knopp@akleg.gov Representative Louise Stutes, Louise.Stutes@akleg.gov Representative Sarah Vance, Sarah.Vance@akleg.gov PDF Flyer to print: Kenai Peninsula legislators Links Informational flyer: Kenai Peninsula Borough School District $22.4 million in cuts to KPBSD options identified by administrators and school board Informational flyer: Kenai Peninsula state legislators and their KPBSD schools The Alaska State Legislature website Office of the Governor of Alaska website Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly webpage KPBSD Finance webpage The Legislature and KPBSD
Several community budget meetings took place in February, and the Board of Education met for two days this week to take a sobering look at what the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District would have to cut to begin to meet the Governor's proposed FY20 reduction to state funding. The Governor Michael J. Dunleavy 2019-2020 State Budget proposed drastic cuts to education funding Alaska State Legislators could honor the FY20 education funding put into law in 2018 by the 30th Legislature, or put forth an alternative FY20 budget KPBSD schools are funded by both the State of Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough One-page printable ...
KPBSD Graduate Inspiration, Nianiella Dorvall, Nikolaevsk School, Class of 2014 “I believe it is important for people to dream big and know that they can be successful. Share your dreams with your family, teachers, and peers. They will become your support system and can help you in times of self-doubt and fear. They can also help you find opportunities unique to your interests.” –Nianiella Dorvall, Nikolaevsk School, Class of 2014 She is young, determined, inspirational, and changing the world. Meet Nianiella Dorvall, a 2014 graduate from Nikolaevsk School, a small school located on the Kenai Peninsula in Nikolaevsk, Alaska. In the not quite five years ...
In March, you have several opportunities to become informed, and advocate for K-12 education funding. Events are happening at local schools, in communities, with the school district, the borough assembly, at town halls, and with hearings of bills in Juneau. Monday, March 4, 2019 Board of Education Finance Committee meeting: 2:00 p.m., Redoubt conference room, school district offices Monthly school board meeting: 6:00 p.m. Assembly Chambers Tuesday, March 5, 2019 Board of Education worksession: FY20 Budget, 10:30 a.m., Soldotna Prep School Professional Development Room Joint Board of Education and Borough Assembly worksession: 2:00 p.m., Borough Assembly Chambers Borough Assembly meeting: 6:00 p.m., Borough Assembly Chambers ...
KPBSD Inspiration, Scott Davis, Kenai Central High School Class of 1977 Currently the president and owner of Davis Block Company, Scott purchased part of the company he owns and runs in 1978, right out of high school. Davis says, “When I graduated from high school I was ready to make a living immediately, and I could not wait to start making money. My generation was mostly self-sufficient by the end of high school, and I was especially, as the youngest of five who came along as my parents turned 40 years old. I think my path was pre-determined by an opportunity ...
information: Public opportunity to testify to the Senate State Affairs committee on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 and Thursday, March 7, 2019, starting at 6:00 PM, about SB24 and SB23, both related to the PFD. To balance the FY20 state budget, the Governor has proposed the State of Alaska cut $20.9 million in funding to Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools. Testify (one minute): 1. In person - at the Capitol, 2nd Floor, Butrovich Room 2. Legislative Information Offices: Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla, Fairbanks, Kenai 3. Call in: you may call in starting at 5:30 PM to get in the queue of callers From Juneau: 586-9085 From Anchorage: 563-9085 From ...
Discover the diversity in the KPBSD Class of 2018!
The hyperlink at the end of each synopsis will take you to a longer story version about each of these KPBSD high school graduates, who are changing our communities and the world. #AKlearns
Rachel Davidson, Connections Homeschool
How many students graduate twice in three weeks? Rachel Davidson walked across the stage at Connections Homeschool graduation and received her high school diploma on May 24, 2018. Fifteen days earlier, Rachel walked across the stage at Kenai Peninsula College’s graduation and received her Associate of Arts degree. Rachel started homeschooling during her freshman year and used a very focused, highly personalized approach to achieve this feat. Using Jumpstart, and her educational allotment, Rachel was able to get a head start on her goal of an associate and bachelor degrees in nursing with a specialty in obstetrics. In early 2018, Rachel became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and is currently working in the health care industry. http://bit.ly/2NnKa03
Amber Bridgeman, Homer Flex School
Amber took Jumpstart courses during her senior year at the Kachemak Bay Campus. This self-motivation and commitment to her future inspired the students around her, and guided her on the path to post-secondary education in the health sciences. http://bit.ly/2z5AQL2
Alexandrea Moseley, Homer High School
Alexandrea Moseley, or Alex to her teammates, is continuing the Homer High School legacy of female wrestling. She started wrestling on a whim her sophomore year and liked it so much she stuck with it through adversity. Although she did not win many matches the first few years, her persistence and hard work gained traction. She became a student of the sport, went to summer camps and participated in large out-of-state tournaments. The result is a winning record against the boys, a 2017 Alaska State Championship at 126, and a wrestling scholarship to Adrian University in Michigan. http://bit.ly/2z6Bl7V
Isaiah Trevino, Kenai Alternative School
Isaiah came to Kenai Alternative looking for a different school environment. The shorter rotation schedule offered him the opportunity to grow and achieve in his classes, and it was not long before he started taking leadership roles within the school community. Isaiah would often speak up at the daily morning meetings to encourage other students to arrive to school on time, and get their grades up. As time grew closer towards graduation, Isaiah developed his post-secondary plans. And in the fall, moved to New Mexico where he works and attends school.
Brittany Gilman, Kenai Central High School
An excellent example of stellar academics, Brittany is musically gifted, a first chair of sopranos in Chamber Choir, earned All-State choir titles, and was the only Alaska student at Nationals her junior year. Performing at Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera house with the Honors Performance Series is the highlight of her high school career. Community is important to her family, she involved herself in four to six plays a year with Kenai Performers, Triumvirate Theatre, and Encore Dance Studios, church activities, and she volunteered. Brittany is studying at New York University, majoring in Music Education. She intends to obtain a K-12 certification in Music Education and become a Choir teacher. She says about her choir teachers, “I love them, I do, everyone is so sweet and they teach good family values and they highlight the importance of education and where it can take you.”
Verina Ukatish, Nanwalek School
When faced with life challenges, Verina takes those head on and most often with a smile. She is an excellent advocate for herself and a role model for her peers. She worked in many youth and community programs, including the Nanwalek Summer Youth Program, the Kenatize Tribe Workforce Intern Program at their Head Start Program, many Project GRAD sponsored activities including Summer College Institute, Career Institute, and Leadership Institute. Active in Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leadership Program, she served as the Nanwalek KPNYL Student Advisor Assistant and one of their representatives at the Alaska Federation of Natives Conference in 2016. Verina is planning to take a gap year, and then going to school to become a certified nurse’s assistant. She has an entrepreneurial and creative spirit that she hopes to use after graduation by opening a coffee cart in Nanwalek. http://bit.ly/2z6BF6D
Kristin Elisabeth Klaich, Nikolaevsk School
She took a full load of online college classes through the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA) in the fall, then traveled to Peru for six months to live with a missionary family and help with their three children. In the fall of 2019, Kristin will attend a college full time and graduate in Spring of 2022 with her degree in Early Childhood Education. Her best memory of learning at Nikolaevsk isn’t one specific thing, she says, “It’s just how everyone is one big family and how we have and had amazing teachers that really care about us students on an academic and personal level. Also, the opportunity I had to aid for Mrs. Parrett, our elementary teacher, both helping and even teaching a little bit of all the elementary grades. This really changed my prospective on teaching and now I actually want to go into this field!” http://bit.ly/2u39WxX
Aaron McCollum, Nikiski Middle-High School
Aaron enlisted in the Army as a satellite communications specialist, and after his commitment is complete, will enroll in Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to study engineering. He’s a three time state champion in Track and Field (triple jump and anchor to the 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams) Aaron’s triple jump state championship came on the final jump of his high school career, a 41’1” personal record. http://bit.ly/2KHA9w1
Olivia Delgado, Ninilchik School
During her valedictorian speech, Olivia talked about how it is important to move forward and learn from our mistakes, and that people tend to learn more from trying something and failing than not trying at all. She was a quiet leader; she led more by example than by her words. She always had a kind word when she met up with the younger kids in the elementary. Olivia has dreams of becoming a nurse—a field where caring and kindness is important as knowing how to perform your job with excellence. She will be attending Kenai Peninsula College before transitioning to the UAA pre-nursing program. http://bit.ly/2IPR5f4
Suzanne LaBelle, Port Graham School
Suzanne is compassionate and curious, traits that will serve her well in the future. When opportunities come Suzanne’s way, she rarely lets them go by without grabbing on. She participated in numerous extracurricular leadership skills programs including a Chugach School District Voyage to Excellence camp where she rode 300 miles on bike in California. She was also the very first high school cross-country athlete to represent Port Graham School. When she thinks about being the first in her village to do this she states, “I felt really accomplished in being the first cross country athlete in Port Graham. I want other students to put themselves out there and participate in new experiences.” She is attending the University of Alaska Anchorage to pursue a nursing degree, and understands that nursing is one of the most competitive fields to get into, but also one of the most highly needed—especially in Alaska. Someday she hopes to use her degree in pediatrics or another specialization. http://bit.ly/2Msq6bv
Josh Shuler, River City Academy
Josh earned high school credit as a middle schooler, and as a high school student continued the trend earning college credits through JumpStart at Kenai Peninsula College (KPC). He graduated with 16 college credits through KPC and boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA (without the benefit of any AP bumps). Josh tailored his graduation plan to meet his own interests including completing Principles of Engineering and Construction at Soldotna High School. A committed athlete, Josh competed for Soldotna High School in Cross Country Running, Nordic Skiing, and Track and Field. Josh possesses a heart and mind for service to others, and the community benefited from his thousands of hours of volunteer work at Solid Rock Bible Camp. He volunteered through many projects at RCA, including math tutoring, local school carnivals, fund-raisers and dinner theaters. Josh received a scholarship to attend California Baptist University where he is majoring in Civil Engineering. http://bit.ly/2tRmHfA
Heleana Backus, Seward High School
A member of the Seward High School Debate, Drama, and Forensics Team, Student Council, and the National Honor Society, she said, “The most pivotal points in my development as a thinker and human being have happened in the English classroom.” Her passion for literature prompted her to apply for and be elected as the Student Representative on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s English-Language Arts Curriculum Review Committee. “I push myself towards [my] goals with this constantly in mind: conformity can no longer be taught under the guise of public education. I am actively helping to integrate this idea into the classroom with the ELA curriculum committee, but I want to take that further. I strive to bring the vision that the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has for personalizing education to every school.” http://bit.ly/2KwWwoG
Jode Sparks, Soldotna High School
“Community is not a location—rather, it is the result of a group of people caring about the same thing and caring about each other,” said Jode Sparks. A former United States Senate Page, and Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Student Ambassador, Jode was involved in many activities promoting good things for our community and good things for our state. In the Soldotna Unified Track team, he participated alongside special education students in track and field events. In the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action—a diverse group of high school students from across the state—Jode worked with young people to advocate, and speak up in the political system. This led him to his future studies; he is attending the University of Chicago, pursuing degrees in Public Policy and Environmental Studies. http://bit.ly/2KIR69v
Desmond Moon, Tebughna School
“I believe we all should lead by a higher standard. I enjoy guitar, video games, hobbies, hanging with friends, and working on building things. In the future, I see myself independent, self-sufficient, employed in construction, and married with a wife and three children.” My advice to younger students: “Stay positive. Do not slack off along the way. Listen to your teachers. Be respectful.” http://bit.ly/2KLAfzR
David Sanarov, Voznesenka School
“I had the fortunate pleasure of attending a Close Up trip to Washington D.C. and New York City with David as one of the students,” said Principal Michael Wojciak. “Being such a kind, polite, and thoughtful student his participation made the trip an even greater experience. He is a student that I will never forget, mostly for his humility and overwhelmingly positive personality. His career will take him in the direction of his family’s commercial fishing business, where he will eventually become a boat owner, permit holder, and captain.” http://bit.ly/2KLAj2z
The mission of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is to empower all learners to positively shape their futures.
►ALERT: All KPBSD schools will open with a TWO HOUR DELAY START on MONDAY, February 18, 2019, due to weather conditions throughout the Peninsula.
If weather and road conditions warrant a full closure for any schools that announcement will be made about 7:00 AM.
All morning Pre-K class sessions are cancelled during a two-hour delay start.
Parents and guardians, if you decide, based on conditions near you to keep your child at home, absences will be excused.
*A two hour delay means that morning buses run two hours later than normal, school begins two hours later than normal, staff arrives at school two hours later than normal, and Pre-K morning sessions are cancelled. The school day ends at the normal time.
Public Involvement in Superintendent of Schools Selection
Soldotna, February 15, 2019— The KPBSD Board of Education seeks public input into its process to select a superintendent of schools. The school board has sole responsibility for the selection of candidates, final interviews, and selection of the superintendent, but would like to consider the views and interests of the public to help guide those decisions.
A brief, anonymous survey invites public comments and the opportunity to rank which attributes and demonstrated skills in a KPBSD superintendent of schools are most valuable. The school board requests everyone interested in schools, including parents, students, KPBSD staff, site councils, PTAs, volunteers, business and community organizations that partner with schools, community groups, and the public to contribute.
A link to the community survey and important dates is located on the www.KPBSD.org home page in the “Community Interest” section.
Superintendent of Schools Search
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education seeks an educational leader who has strong communication skills, is committed to high student achievement, and has a proven track record in teaching and administration. The position begins July 1, 2019. The online application period is open until midnight, March 15, 2019. Selection of finalists is March 21, 2019, and candidate interviews will be April 4, 2019, or April 11, 2019 if needed. The public may attend and offer written comments.
Online Community Survey open through March 4, 2019
Soldotna, February 14, 2019—Do you understand how the KPBSD school district budget will affect what KPBSD can offer in schools to educate our youth? With drastic state budget cuts to education proposed by the Governor, attend a budget forum in your community.
Learn: KPBSD faces an unprecedented deficit of over $20 million dollars or more if the Governor’s proposed FY20 state budget is passed.
Get Facts: The district is building its FY20 budget, and needs your help. Participate online, or in person, to ask questions about revenue, expenses, funding, and cuts that potentially impact the classroom, teachers and support staff, sports and programs, and class sizes. Become involved so as a community we can make informed decisions that will affect our schools. Parents, staff, students, business partners, community members, and elected officials—it’s time to participate:
Community Budget Forums
Be informed so you can advocate for the 2019-2020 school district budget which will define opportunities and offerings in August, 2019.
“Our annual budget is one of the most important things we do each year, and it’s more important than ever with the potential funding cuts we face,” said Dave Jones, assistant superintendent of instructional support. “We want to give our parents, staff, students, and community members a chance to learn about our budget, participate in the process, and ask questions.”
“Over the past several years the district has been able to gather valuable feedback and input through the budget development process,” said Sean Dusek, superindent. “This year will be especially important as we work to become more efficient while maintaining our priority of small class sizes. We look forward to community participation in the process, especially as the State and Borough deal with economic issues that directly impact school funding.”
If the future success for our KPBSD K-12 students depends on a quality education so graduates will be prepared for college or a career, funding public education is crucial. KPBSD asks everyone to attend a public budget meeting, and become involved in the financial solutions for our school district and state.
Joel Isaak, Skyview High School, Class of 2007, is a practicing artist, currently enrolled in an Indigenous Studies doctorate degree program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Tribal Liaison for the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Learning. Isaak says,
“I want to keep growing in learning my Dena’ina people’s language. I love spending time with elders learning language and material culture and passing it on to future generations.”
When he reflects on a message to younger students, or his younger self, he offers:
“Find quality people and focus your energy on working with them. Don’t let negativity or people who are trying to bring you down stop you from working hard towards your goals. Never put an age limit on friendship.”
Following his 2007 graduation from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, he was awarded a Bachelors of Fine Arts Sculpture from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Alfred University in New York.
A man with exceptional talents and kind insightful eyes, Joel said, “I would spend hours of time in the art studio after school when I was in high school. This was a safe space for me to learn, do homework, and develop my artistic skill. I had fantastic art teachers. I began my undergraduate studies pursuing a chemistry degree. After several car accidents, I was no longer able to do lab work. I had a friend mentor who encouraged me to pursue art. I still have to be careful with the physical repercussions of my injuries but I am able to work prolifically in sculpture.” His art is truly fantastic; view the video featuring Joel: Fins of Fashion: The Alaskan Artist Creating Salmon Skin Stilettos, and visit his website at https://joelisaak.com/.
Shout-out to special teachers
“Teachers inspired me to follow my career path. I now work in education and I had some amazing teachers in my K-12 and university studies. These teachers became mentors to me and encouraged me to learn and explore a diverse range of studies. I would like to thank several of my teachers from my high school years—they provided safe classroom space for me in school when I was going through a lot. Thank you to David Schmidt and Clark Fair for letting me eat lunch in their classrooms on a regular basis, Teri Zoph-Schoessler, and all of my art teachers at Skyview.”
“I am passionate about developing an educational model that addresses the clashing of European colonialism with indigenous peoples. Fundamental to healing this rift is stemming the loss indigenous languages and treating all people with respect. This need is evidence by the staggering history of abuse of women that needs to stop. I hope that my art and working to educate can help bring awareness and change in a positive direction.”
–Joel Isaak, Skyview High School Class of 2007
Today his home is back on the Kenai Peninsula, he works with DEED, creates meaningful art, and continues to pursue life with purpose and passion.
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.
February 13, 2019 Communication to KPBSD staff and Key Communicators:
Today Governor Michael J. Dunleavy released an amended FY20 budget with a significant reduction to education funding. The budget documentation made available to this point does not give us the detail we need to determine the amounts specific to our district.
We are communicating with the Department of Education, and are hearing the cut will come from under-funding K-12 Education Foundation Formula, not reducing the Base Student Allocation (BSA) value as some media is reporting. This is significant to us because of the way the BSA corresponds to the minimum and maximum range the Borough can contribute to K-12 education. In contrast, under-funding the foundation formula and keeping the BSA intact would not reduce the range the Borough can fund to education.
In the next two days, we expect to provide you accurate information for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. It is important to remember that this is the start of a process that will also proceed through the Senate and House. We ask the public to focus on the future they value and want to build in Alaska, and communicate that to family, friends, coworkers, and especially our elected officials in local, state, and national government.
As soon as we have details, we will share accurate facts about the Governor’s FY20 amended budget and the potential reduction in revenue impact to KPBSD’s FY20 budget.
*How-to understand funding
The Foundation Formula is the funding mechanism for K-12 education and has many steps in it. Included in the Foundation Formula is the BSA – Base Student Allocation that is a fixed amount every year. A tricky part to understand school funding and a cut is that two ways exist for reductions or increases, and one impacts the local required minimum and maximum allowable amount the Borough can contribute, the other does not.
The legislature can under-fund the Foundation Formula, or change the BSA amount. When only the Foundation Formula is under-funded, it doesn’t affect a borough or municipality contribution to K-12 education. The local (Borough) contribution is tied to the BSA fixed amount to determine the required minimum contribution and maximum allowable contribution to schools, and so if the BSA changes (decrease or increase) it also creates an adjustment percentage to the required minimum contribution and maximum range the Borough can contribute to education funding.
Soldotna, February 13, 2019–The Board of Education of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) is searching for a superintendent; applications are open until March 15, 2019. The Board of Education accepted Superintendent Dusek’s retirement in January, and approved the search for a new superintendent to open during their February 11, 2019, board meeting. The detailed position description and application details are online at http://bit.ly/2N1JFZV.
The successful candidate will have outstanding educational leadership and advocacy skills. They will possess and demonstrate a strong background in improving student learning in a culturally responsive and student-centered approach. The board is especially interested in a leader with high integrity who has proven experience as an effective educational administrator and school system leader. The preferred candidate should have demonstrated expertise in school district finance and budget management, human resources and effective curriculum and instruction implementation. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is perhaps one of the most diverse districts in the state regarding community size, ethnicity, and religious composition.
Application and Timetable
The Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) is facilitating the search. The following is the timetable the Board has established for the superintendent search:
Application deadline: March 15, 2019 (midnight)
Selection of Finalists: March 21, 2019
Onsite Interviews with the Board: April 4 (Alternate date is April 11th if needed)
Employment begins: July 1, 2019
Application Materials should be sent to:
[Digital submission of materials is highly desired, preferably as PDF files.]
Association of Alaska School Boards
1111 W. 9th St., Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 586-1083
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is one of the top performing districts in the state of Alaska encompassing 21 communities within 25,600 square miles and serves nearly 9,000 students. Four of the district’s schools are accessible only by water or air; one by hiking or all-terrain vehicle. Each school day, more than 2,700 students are transported a total of 7,200 miles on school buses throughout the District.
KPBSD Inspiration, Stephanie (Arbelovsky) Queen, Kenai Central High School Class of 2000, Soldotna City Manager
“Use your energy and talents to make our community better. One of the best things about living in a small community is the chance to make a real difference, and to be supported by a close-knit community around you. Take advantage of that support: find a mentor, ask someone you look up to if you can learn from them or help out on a project. I think you’ll be surprised by the response you get. We’re all rooting for you to succeed, and will help where we can.”
–Stephanie Queen, KCHS graduate, Soldotna City Manager
An athlete at Kenai Central High School, Stephanie (Arbelovsky) Queen started her early learning at Kenai Co-op preschool, followed by Sears Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Kenai Middle School, and she graduated from Kenai Central High School in 2000. Then she earned both a Bachelor and Master degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Returning to Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula, she is now the Soldotna City Manager.
Favorite spots in Soldotna growing up
Although she was a Kenai resident and graduate, Queen has a few early Soldotna memories which include birthday parties at the roller rink (with the giant fuzzy dice and the limbo stick), and going to the Soldotna Airport for dog sled races and to watch the model airplane club fly their planes.
Fast forward 20+ years
Now serving as Soldotna City Manager, Queen explains, “Part of the City’s economic development strategy over the past several years has been incremental investment in our downtown, and this is a priority I would like to continue to pursue into the future. We started with ‘low-hanging fruit’ such as new highway banners, park signs, and landscaping improvements. And we supported and encouraged events that bring people to Soldotna Creek Park and commercial core.
One of the things I really appreciate about Soldotna, is how engaged our residents are. We’ve figured out how to work together across public, private, and non-profit lines, to move big projects forward. This has allowed us to accomplish several of the community’s long-standing goals; something we would not have been able to do without strong partnerships.
I really value our community’s entrepreneurial spirit. It is true in the traditional sense, of people investing in and starting new businesses. However, it is also true in the many events, races, festivals, markets, and concerts that people are creating, which provide more opportunities and new things to do in our area. It’s great to be part of a community that rewards creativity, and supports people who are willing to invest their time and talents to build something new.
We now have an opportunity to explore more significant–although complex–redevelopment concepts, particularly along the portions of our downtown that border the Kenai River.”
“My goal is to work closely with private land owners to plan for future infrastructure and developments, which not only add value to their property and benefit surrounding businesses, but also provide a more attractive downtown that is well-connected to the rest of the community.”
“I get to work with great people, who are dedicated and skilled at what they do. We share a sense of pride in serving the public, and enjoy working together to make decisions that improve people’s lives. Our City is very fortunate in the quality of employees and leaders who have chosen to work here, and that is my favorite part of this job.”
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.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) provides health insurance to its employees through a self-insured model with two options: Traditional Plan or a High Deductible Plan (HDHP).
Each plan’s total costs for medical, dental, and vision claims, along with administrative and stop loss expenses, are split between the District and the plan participants according to a formula set forth in the negotiated agreement between KPBSD and employee bargaining groups.
Public Education Health Trust (PEHT) cost for KPBSD
During 2018 bargaining, at the request of the KPEA and KPESA, premium quotes were obtained from the PEHT (formerly known as the NEA-Alaska Health Trust.)
After receiving this quote and 4-tier rate information from AON Risk Services, neither the District, KPEA, or KPESA proposed health insurance through the PEHT.
Public Education Health Trust (PEHT) Proposal: