Training offered to those interested in running for one of four open ASD School Board seats
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Four Anchorage School Board seats will be up for grabs in April’s general election. The “So you want to be a school board member?” program was started years ago by former ASD School Board President Tam Agosti-Gisler.
“Usually the training is pretty intensive and in person,” ASD school board member Alisha Hilde said. “This year due to the pandemic the program has had to change course in presenting virtually.”
The “boot camp” style program offers community members a crash course in what being a school board member entails, how to campaign for a seat during an election year and how to listen to what the community wants for education.
This past week, 30 community members took a crash course in looking behind the scenes at what it takes to have a seat on the school board.
“One of the barriers for running for any elected office is what is the job?” Hilde said. “How do you do it? Who has the connections? We want to reduce those barriers so that we can get more people involved and get the best-informed people, the most passionate people out there so voters can choose the best on behalf of children.”
Hilde says more classes are in the works as participants suggested more follow up training for more nuts and bolts on the process.
“We had a wonderful mix of people,” Hilde said. “We had people who are already involved in action policy and have been pushing for student health and nutrition or parent involvement through PTA’s. We have people who are now just getting frustrated with public education and saying I want to learn more.”
Hilde says that’s what the program is for: to help everyone with an interest in their community and education get involved.
Hilde along with Deena Mitchell and School Board President Elisa Vakalis will all seek reelection in April. Board member Starr Marsett’s seat will also be open as she announced this fall her intention to step down from her position due to health and wanting to spend more time with family. Instead of walking away in January, Marsett with the consent of her husband agreed to prolong retirement until the April election.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Marsett said. “My health hasn’t been the best lately but it makes things easier on the board and allows them to focus on education and not filling my spot in the middle of all of this.”
Marsett’s seat will be wide open for any new face who wants to try to occupy it. The winner of Marsett’s seat will carry out her final year on the board and will be up for reelection in 2022.
“I think that most people should be able to serve on the school board,” Hilde said. “The minimum commitment really is to come to two board meetings a month. As a board, we work together to enable people to participate. There doesn’t have to be meetings set at certain times. Somebody works a night shift, you just have to have the two nights off. We can work around it because that’s what we should do.”
To run for a school board seat you have to file your intention with the Municipality of Anchorage and be elected to the seat by voters. For more information, contact the Anchorage School District or the city clerk.
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