Sleeves Up for Age 12+

May 14, 2021

Dear KPBSD parents and students,

KPBSD respects everyone’s personal choice about vaccinations, and wants to remove every barrier for students age 12+ to receive a free vaccine. We are thankful for community partners who are offering vaccine clinics and pop-ups for youth age 12+, their caregivers, and KPBSD staff.

This communication is at the request of Dr. Anne Zink, MD, FACEP, Chief Medical Officer, who wrote a letter to Alaska parents and students. Included in her May 11, 2021, letter school districts were asked to share, she writes:

“As we look forward to summer and a return to an in-person, healthy school year next year, I would like to bring to your attention that on Monday, May 10, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12+. I encourage you to discuss this with your pediatrician or family doctor.”  

Sleeves Up for Summer campaign wants you to know: The Pfizer vaccine is available to those 12 years of age and older. The decision by FDA and CDC to expand and recommend the use of the vaccine among adolescents followed an in-depth review of available safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy data.

KPBSD health services department learned about these vaccine clinics listed below, you can find more opportunities at the state website, or schedule an appointment:

May 11, 2021 Letter to Alaska parents and students, from Anne Zink, MD, FACEP, Chief Medical Officer, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Read or download Dr. Zink’s letter:

Find a vaccine clinic or pop-up at the State of Alaska website: or contact your local school nurse, public health nurse, or health care provider






Posted in News Release by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Could your business use an extra set of volunteer hands?

To assist KPBSD students with disabilities receive supported work experience and vocational skills they need, KPBSD seeks business partners in the central peninsula area, June 14 – July 8, 2021.


Are you a business in need of an extra set of hands this summer? Consider becoming a work site for students in the KPBSD Summer Work Program! The program partners with local businesses in the central peninsula to help students with disabilities receive supported work experience and the skills they need to become successful employees. We cannot do it without you!

Contact Olivia Orth for details. 907-260-7040 or email oorth@kpbsd.k12.

KPBSD Inspiration: Nurse Yoly

Our KPBSD Nurse Yoly in Seward, Alaska, is featured in Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and shares additional life insights with KPBSD!

Did a specific person influence or inspire your career path?
“My mother was and is my rock. She died in her early 40s with kidney and heart failure. I visited her in hospitals and a kidney dialysis center. I watched nurses work and take care of my mother, and I knew then that is what I wanted to do as a career.”

Have any life obstacles helped you to learn or persevere?
“I was born in a rural town in the Philippines. We lived off the land and sea and were very poor. My mother wanted a better life for me and education was her answer. I still believe in education as an equalizing factor for people. My education and career as a nurse has allowed me experiences to travel the world and help people in a meaningful way.”

“My mother wanted a better life for me and education was her answer. I still believe in education as an equalizing factor for people.

Nurse Yoly

Is there a part of your work that helps you know you are in the right place at this time in your life?

“Covid-19 has brought the world to its knees. It has been a year of unrelenting challenges for everyone. I never thought I would be able to offer rapid testing in my schools which provide Covid test results in 20 minutes. I am so inspired by the many brilliant minds that have worked to bring us these tools and to be a very, very small part of the solution has been fulfilling in my daily work.”

What advice would you give to your younger self, or a K-12 student?

“I definitely would say to my younger self “Don’t worry so much.” In terms of students, my “frequent flyers” are unfortunately the ones that are struggling in school for a variety of reasons i.e. mental and physical health issues, lack of resources, poor relationships and support to name a few. I listen to them, offer support and the most important give them hope that they will find a way to be resilient through the tough times.”

2014, training future kid sitters in first aid and CPR!

Thank you Nurse Yoly!

Alliance for a Healthier Generation highlights Yolanda Ifflander, School Nurse, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Centering Love at one of America’s Healthiest Schools

“As a Pacific Islander woman, I feel like I have had to earn inclusivity and equity, tooth and nail.” 

– Yolanda Ifflander

Growing up on the rural island of Olongapo in the Philippines, Yolanda remembers the joy of three generations of women sitting around a table laughing, chopping vegetables for family meals while children played nearby. These meals, prepared from local foods, nourished Yolanda’s health, cultural identity, and sense of belonging.

“I wouldn’t trade my upbringing, and I carry on this lifestyle in Alaska today,” Yolanda explains. “Simple things such as family and fresh food are core values for me to stay healthy and well.”

The opportunities and challenges facing the next generation–particularly young people of color–are top of mind for Yolanda. As a parent and a school health professional, Yolanda embodies the inclusivity and community care that defined her childhood in Olangapo.

In 2015, thanks to the dedication of Yolanda and her colleagues, Seward Middle School in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District was named one of America’s Healthiest Schools by Healthier Generation. After three decades of service to her school community, she is nearing a well-earned retirement. Until then, she will continue working to improve policies and practices that impact the health and well-being of KPBSD students and staff.

Link to story:

Nurse Yoly and her family
Posted in Appreciation by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

KPBSD Kim Leslie, 2021 Alaska Teacher of the Year Finalist

Celebrate Ms. Kim Leslie, 2021 Alaska Teacher of the Year Finalist!

“My advice to students, or to all humans really, is to be mindful of what truly makes you feel at your best or the most alive. What activities or type of work? Being surrounded by which people? Learning about what? Nourish those elements in your life as much as you can. Do not be wooed by societal expectations about success and wealth; be wooed by your personal flourishment. I think I have done a decent job of that, and it has brought me significant happiness and a sense of balance. As a teacher this is huge: to be able to be a consistent, positive, joyful player in my students’ lives is no small thing. We can all serve our communities the best if we ourselves feel whole.”

One deeply moving part of my work is witnessing the return on investments in people.
“I watch students stand a little straighter, walk a little farther, and sometimes leap over hurdles simply because I (and other stakeholders in their world) said, “I believe in you.” I’m constantly asking students what they want to learn and understand about the world, and then I do my darndest to support them on that education journey. Depending on the student, that encouragement and support can yield incredible personalized outcomes that go so far beyond grades and transcripts. Like many teachers, I’ve had students reach out to me after many years and identify a moment, an assignment, or a conversation that we had that ended up spring boarding them into a positive new chapter in their life, from a career direction to a new geographical location to a new passion or hobby. Having those joyful impacts is powerful and enormously rewarding.”

“What do I want to learn?” graphic created by and frequently used by Kim Leslie

Teaching and learning as part of KPBSD’s Distance Learning department can be such a rich experience.
“Whatever bad taste may be left in people’s mouths from the forced “remote” learning during Covid should not be associated with what we do. I am proud of the intentionality, best practices, diverse learning tasks, and love that goes into the development and facilitation of the courses we offer. Honestly, when I first joined KBPSD as a Distance teacher, I thought it would be a short lived stepping stone toward getting into a “real” classroom. How wrong I was! The positive relationships I form with many of my students and the depth of learning we are able to explore together are incredible. I am fueled by the questions and curiosities my students share, the amazing learning tasks and experiences they bring to our courses, all of which makes each iteration of a course better than the last. I thrive with such a steep learning curve. I feel at my best as a teacher!”

Gulp Life
Kim Leslie’s Journey as an Educator
excerpt from her Teacher of the Year essay

“I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life…” ~Rachel Carson, scientist and author

When I was little, I would go on mini adventures in my backyard: ice skating down the brook behind our house, pushing aside spiderwebs to climb through the drainage pipe under the road (?!?), and trying to jump off a big rock with an umbrella in hopes I would “float” down to the ground. What was the first thing I would do when I met with an ounce of success? Invite someone else to join me. 

I’ve always been a life gulper, but pretty early on I realized the real joy and satisfaction came from sharing the gulps with others … my family, my friends, and ultimately my students. I didn’t realize I had become a teacher until I heard others tell me I was. My first teaching jobs were far from traditional: first a boarding school summer intern, then a naturalist at an outdoor education school. To this day, I have never had a completely “normal” classroom teaching job!

In fact, joining KPBSD’s distance team has been the most “out of the box” position yet! Pre-COVID I always needed my elevator speech handy when people asked what I did; “well, my office is in Seward but my students are all over the Kenai Peninsula…” Now people have a bit more of an understanding.

I design courses rich with information and engaging learning tasks in Canvas, primarily work with my students asynchronously, and the feedback cycles that happen in text, recorded video and Zoom fuel the heart of their learning. Often my students’ curiosities, hopes and dreams guide what we dig into the most. I can honestly say that I learn more from them in the end: They share their gulps with me! 

About Ms. Leslie

“Kim Leslie is the epitome of a highly skilled 21st Century teacher. She has the unique ability to make her blended online learning classes a truly personal experience for her students. From day one in her class, her students know that she cares about them and will tailor the instruction to meet their personal interests. Having Kim on our team of KPBSD teachers is a gift to KPBSD and to her students.” –Superintendent John O’Brien

“Kim Leslie is a genuinely amazing person. She cares deeply about the students and their understanding of science. She teaches with a divergent approach. She allows students to demonstrate their understanding on their terms using their strengths. Her mind is extremely strong and her heart is always in the right place! She is incredible and KPBSD is lucky to have her on the team.” –Reubin Payne, Connections Homeschool advisor

Kim and her student, Anna, who ultimately won the Caring for the Kenai Competition in 2020

“Ms. Leslie made life-long impacts on my two girls in ways I could never have imagined possible. She taught them that science is for everyone-not just boys, not just smart kids, and not just science fanatics. Using the framework of the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), she unfurled an all-inclusive science: science for dancers, dreamers, dirt-divas, and daredevils. She brings science to life through building authentic connections with her students and their lives. … To say that Kim is a pioneer of quality online teaching is a vast understatement, as is stating that she is an exceptional educator!” –Shona DeVolld, parent

“Her commitment to students extends far beyond the classroom, and that is what sets Ms. Leslie apart from other teachers: she is literally a life-changer. My story began in 2018 when she encouraged me to enter a local environmental competition called Caring for the Kenai. When I was chosen as a top 12 contender, Ms. Leslie drove all the way from Seward to Kenai just to see me present my idea to the judges. Even though it had nothing to do with her class, she wanted to be there to support me, and I know she would do the same for any of her students. It was because of Ms. Leslie that I decided to carry out my idea; I am a President’s Environmental Youth Award Winner and an entrepreneur at age 15 as a result of her genuine interest in my life. This is only one example of the many lives she has changed over the years, and that is what makes her so amazing. Ms. Leslie is already Alaska’s Teacher of the Year in my book!” –Anna DeVolld, student

Kim Leslie being lifted up (literally) by her great friend, colleague and mentor, Amanda Adams

“Ms. Leslie has continually grown in her leadership. She continually partners with colleagues in reflective and collaborative work to deepen impactful practice. She is an inaugural member of the Personalized Learning Champs which are a group of teacher leaders in our district who are driving innovation in the classroom and actively sharing and leading those at their sites through sharing professional development resources and workshops. Kim has continually been a leading member of the Distance Education team always striving to build connective practices that support students and their learning regardless of location. Additionally, she has supported several school sites on a continual basis sharing her knowledge and experience in educational technology and pedagogy of online and blended teaching. Kim continually presents to leaders (teachers and administrators) in the district. These are three examples of sharing her expertise through presentations that she has given. Cultivating Reflection in Teaching Practice (; Personalize Outcomes – A Course Design Mindset Shift (; and Balancing Online and Offline Work ( Ms. Leslie has also contributed at conferences like Elevating and Celebrating Teachers and Teaching (ECET2) Southcentral ( and the Alaska Society for Technology in Education conference on more than one occasion, including a redesign of the Cultivating Reflection district presentation ( and several others! She has even reached beyond the Alaskan borders to present at the U.S. Distance Learning Association’s conference with The Importance of Community – Building Collaborative Online Learning Tasks ( Kim has developed procedures for onboarding new Distance Education teachers and continually mentors new members to the team. She is a vital component of our district and a wonderful contribution to our profession.” –Amanda Adams, KPBSD Lead Innovation Designer


IMAGES from above, and remainder here

  1. “What do I want to learn?” graphic created by and frequently used by Kim Leslie Kim and student Anna DeVolld
  2. Kim Leslie being lifted up (literally) by her great friend, colleague and mentor, Amanda Adams
  3. Jason, Indigo and Kim Leslie hiking on Mt. Alice in their home town of Seward
  4. Kim Leslie (center) and some of her bellydance troupe 
  5. Indigo, Jason and Kim Leslie packrafting in Lake Clark National Park
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Posted in Awards by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

KMS brings you Lion King. Jr the musical *movie*

Treat yourself from the comfort of home!
The Kenai Middle School Drama Department created an incredible show for you – Lion King. Jr the musical *movie*! Stream the FREE movie from the comfort of your own home or device wherever you are this weekend or next!

Streaming Dates & Times:
May 7, 8, 14, 15 – 6:00 pm (AKST)
May 9, 16 – 1:00 pm (AKST)

To stream Lion King Jr.:
Step 1: Go to KMS Showtix4U page
Step 2: Pick a date and time you want to stream. Click “BUY STREAM” (a misnomer… the show is free!)
Step 3: At the checkout, consider donating to KMS Drama. They are charged $1.50 for each device that streams the show.
Step 4: You will get an email from Showtix4U with a code. Logon to Showtix4U at the time you chose and enjoy the show!

Share this link with your out-of-state family & friends as well! Everyone is welcome to enjoy this wonderful production – just make sure that they double check what time the show will play in their local time zone.

Posted in School Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Be involved in hiring of your next school principal

Hiring School Principals: Public Involvement Opportunities

Everyone is invited to offer their thoughts about the characteristics, plus their wants and wishes for their next school principal through a community meeting via zoom, and a survey. The interview committee will read all the community input. After final candidates are selected to interview, everyone is invited to watch the interviews live via Zoom, and then provide written feedback through a new survey link provided during the live interview.

Thank you for your participation in the selection and hiring of KPBSD principals.

Check back to this page for updates about interviews, or additional schools that are hiring a new administrator.

Community Input Surveys and
Candidate Interviews

Nanwalek School
Community Input Survey is open until Sunday, May 9, 2021, at 5:00 PM AKST

Nanwalek School UPDATE 5-12-21: THREE INTERVIEWS via Zoom, on May 13, 2021, 3:30-6:30 PM
Join ZOOM meeting
3:30; 4:30; 5:30 PM: Zoom audience members join interview process. Doors are open for ten minutes.
3:40; 4:40; 5:40 PM: Introduction and 45 minute candidate interview
Zoom Link: Meeting ID: 865 0466 3782 ; Passcode: 389783

Port Graham School
Community Input Survey is open until Sunday, May 9, 2021, at 5:00 PM AKST

UPDATE 5-12-21: Port Graham School
THREE INTERVIEWS via Zoom, on May 13, 2021, 3:30-6:30 PM
Join ZOOM meeting
3:30; 4:30; 5:30 PM: Zoom audience members join interview process. Doors are open for ten minutes.
3:40; 4:40; 5:40 PM: Introduction and 45 minute candidate interview
Zoom Link: Meeting ID: 864 2081 3612 ; Passcode: 180801

Seward High School
Community Input Survey is open until Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at 5:00 PM AKST

Seward Middle School
Community Input Survey is open until Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at 5:00 PM AKST:

Skyview Middle School, Soldotna
Community Input Survey is open until Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at 5:00 PM AKST:

Susan B. English School, Seldovia
Community Input Survey is open until Sunday, May 9, 2021, at 5:00 PM AKST:
Update 5-11-21:
THREE INTERVIEWS via Zoom, on May 12, 2021, 3:30-6:30 PM
Join ZOOM meeting
Meeting ID: 815 9662 2408; Passcode: 175925

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Drones and E-Sport Free Camps

6th-7th-8th Graders!

FREE Summer Camp for all KPBSD students, hosted at Skyview Middle School

Drone Camp 5/31-6/4

Computer Science (E-Sport) 6/21-6/24

Signup by the end of the day Friday, May 7, 2021.
Go to one or both!

Click Link: Info & signup details

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Spirit of Youth Wins

Five Kenai Peninsula Borough School District students are recognized during the 23rd Annual Spirit of Youth Awards! Spirit of Youth highlights dedicated young people and unsung heroes from around Alaska. The awards recognize the hard work and efforts of these future leaders. Congratulations!

2021 Discovery Award: Austin Cline Homer High School
Austin became an Eagle Scout by reopening the upper Homestead trail. He also was a two-time finalist in the Caring for the Kenai competition, which asks students to create a proposal to improve the environment on the Kenai Peninsula.

2021 Dreamer Award: Ryann Esteban Port Graham School
Ryann is a member of Student Council, Native Youth Olympics, a Sources of Strength youth leader at school, and a teen member on the Port Graham Native Council. She also independently created artwork for a sweatshirt that amplified the voices of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Spirit of Youth Recognizes three KPBSD Nominees

Bailey Epperheimer , Nikiski Middle-High School
Baily led the Nikiski Children’s Fund, and raised money to help children and families with basic needs such as new clothing items or paying utility bills. She raised money through a variety of ways, such as auctioning off a calf and community baseball games.

Naomi Jones , Tebughna School
Naomi is dedicated to Native Youth Olympics, group arts and crafts and caring for children and elders. She started a student newspaper, conducting interviews for a student and staff profile, and reporting on monthly activities. She utilizes electronic media, engages with youth writing groups by competing in writers’ conferences.

Ashley Dahlman , Connections Homeschool
Ashley has taken on a number of leadership roles within her school and community, including student council. She also competed in last year’s Caring for the Kenai competition, where students from around the Kenai Peninsula create, design and implement an idea to better care for their community. Her project was called “Wonderfully Worn Wardrobe,” and students could donate used or unwanted clothing for students in need.


Posted in Awards by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Mrs. Wendy Bryden awarded Golden Apple

L-R Board of Education Member Virginia Morgan, and Golden Apple awardee Mrs. Wendy Bryden

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Mrs. Wendy Bryden
Golden Apple Award | May 3, 2021

Seven years ago when her two sons were enrolled at Moose Pass School, Mrs. Wendy Bryden started a LEGO Robotics program. Despite the fact that her sons have grown and moved on to middle school and high school in Seward, she kept the program going. “She shares her passion and enthusiasm for this wonderful program with students in grades K-8, volunteering hours of her time to work during lunch, afterschool, weekends, and even during winter break activities,” said nominator Susanna LaRock.

Mrs. Bryden feels that it is important for students to learn all aspects of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League program (FLL). She teaches students that it is not just about LEGOs or robots or winning competitions. Students learn about the Core Values of the program through Core Value exercises at the start of every meeting and her consistent inclusion of the values in her teachings.

There are six FLL Core Values, and Wendy so successfully imparts them to the students at Moose Pass School, that the FLL team won the Core Values award in Anchorage, Alaska, at their last competition. The Core Values are:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems
  • Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world
  • Inclusion: We respect one another and embrace our differences
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do

Students at Moose Pass School learn about innovative problem solving through her passion for the whole FIRST LEGO League program. Each year, through the program, she presents students with a real world problem, invests time to listen as they come up with solutions, supports them to find ways to implement their solutions, and determines which work best. She helps the students find ways to share what they are learning with the community.

“In 2020, students worked on a problem of an overabundance of biting insects in their community. Their solution was to raise awareness about the importance of bats in our community and to build bat houses to put around the community to support bat habitat,” said Ms. Larock. “Mrs. Bryden connected students with a retired forestry worker who talked with them about bats. She spent time hiking with the students around the community looking for bats, and she connected the students with a local construction company who sponsored the team and helped them learn how to build bat houses.”

All of the students at Moose Pass School who have participated in Mrs. Bryden’s program understand the terms Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition (a term coined by FLL). Coopertition is the idea that the students teach teammates and learn from teammates. They learn from mentors. They are managing and being managed. She encourages students to learn and compete while treating others with respect and kindness. She makes sure that there is an emphasis on the integrity of the students in all of the activities.

 When a fifth grade student at Moose Pass School was asked if he thought his team could win the competition, his reply was, “It is not just about winning, gracious professionalism and coopertition are very important, and we can get points from helping other teams.” Mrs. Bryden was so proud to hear his comment because she knew that student to be a person with a fiercely competitive nature, and was happy to know that he had really learned about coopertition.

This student had learned one of the things that Mrs. Bryden hopes to impart to all of the students: the best way to be successful is to compete while assisting and enabling others to be successful as well.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Mrs. Wendy Bryden for her dedication to the students of the school district, past, present, and future.

Past Golden Apple recipients

Nominate someone to receive KPBSD Golden Apple Award Recognition

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May Board of Education meeting

Board of Education Meeting

May 3, 2021

The following school board meetings and work sessions will be held in the

Renée C. Henderson, Auditorium, Kenai Central High School, 9583 Kenai Spur Highway, Kenai, AK unless otherwise noted.

PLEASE NOTE:  The meetings are open to the public.  The public is invited to attend in person and to listen and participate as noted below.  As per the Board Meeting at Kenai Central High School Mitigation Plan, District Administration may determine if it is prudent to allow public in person participation based on risk level or if the meeting will only be virtual and streamed live.

(877) 853-5257

Conference ID: 708 024 188

When prompted for an Attendee ID, press #.

Zoom ID: 708 024 188

May 3, 2021

Special Meeting-Bargaining (Public Listening and Participation will be as noted on the Agenda in BoardDocs)

9:30 a.m.

Committee Meetings (Public Listening)

11:00 a.m. Finance Committee

11:30 a.m. Information Committee

  1:00 p.m. Board Policy Review Committee

Work Sessions (Public Listening)

2:00 p.m. Board Policy Review

2:30 p.m. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Update

3:00 p.m. 2020-2021 Pandemic Update

3:30 p.m. KPSAA Handbook Update

4:00 p.m. 6 Year Plan & K-Selo Update

4:30 p.m. Board Discussion

6:00 p.m. Business Meeting: (Public Listening and Participation will be as noted on the Agenda in BoardDocs )

If you would like to pre-register to testify telephonically (optional) or if you have any technical difficulties or questions, contact Lisa Gabriel at, 907-714-8836, Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To view the agenda and packet items, log on to:

To view the live broadcast log on to or Live Broadcast

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