Cooper Landing School student Linnaea Gossard is named ASTE’s student of the year during a remote ceremony on Friday.

Screenshot Cooper Landing School student Linnaea Gossard is named ASTE’s student of the year during a remote ceremony on Friday.

Cooper Landing student named ASTE student of the year

Linnaea Gossard was honored at a surprise ceremony on Friday

Linnaea Gossard was learning remotely before it was cool. A senior at Cooper Landing School’s one-room schoolhouse, Gossard has taken 24 live/synchronous classes at eight different Kenai Peninsula Borough School District institutions over the last six years and will become Cooper Landing School’s first high school graduate in May.

Gossard was also named the Alaska Society for Technology in Education’s 2021 Student of the Year.

Gossard’s teachers and family, district staff and KPBSD Superintendent John O’Brien were some of the people in attendance during a surprise — and remote — award ceremony on Friday afternoon, where she learned she was this year’s honoree.

ASTE President Amanda Adams, who is also a KPBSD employee, made opening remarks during the ceremony. In choosing the student honoree, Adams said, ASTE looks for students who are knowledge constructors, empowered learners and are global and creative communicators.

“I am lucky enough to be not only representing ASTE today, but I’m also a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District employee,” Adams said Friday. “In my various capacities with KPBSD — I’ve known Linnaea since she was in the second grade — [I] have the unique opportunity to watch the progression from the outside, crossing into her world periodically.”

Gossard is a certified Video Tele Communications (VTC) facilitator and coordinator and currently serves as an intern at KPBSD’s VTC Coordinating Program, which she co-created. The program allows the district’s remote students to take live/synchronous classes that are not available at their home schools. Gossard has also been approached by educational groups and VTC businesses looking for advice on how to improve VTC in education and has presented at distance learning conferences and workshops.

“Your portfolio of work and experiences in the area of video conferencing technology and VTC would be impressive even for an early professional, let alone a high school senior,” O’Brien said during the ceremony. “Congratulations Linnaea … this is so well deserved, and as a testament to your hard work and dedication to VTC.”

Gossard, who was told she would be meeting with a teacher from New York, did not know she had been named Student of the Year.

“I did not expect this at all,” Gossard said. “I’m just a little surprised. … I’m not really sure what to say. I am really appreciative of the honor. Thank you, everyone.”

Soldotna High School Teacher Rob Sparks, who nominated Gossard for the award and is one of her teachers, was one of many who praised Gossard’s efforts.

“Linnaea has helped me become a better teacher by virtue of her patience and vast array of communication skills,” Sparks wrote. “In over 30 years of teaching, Linnaea is without a doubt one of the most skillful, honest, engaged, caring students I have had the pleasure to work with.”

Soldotna High School Science Teacher Phil Leck said that just as he was teaching Gossard course material, she was teaching him about polycom and remote learning.

“Considering our current state of online learning, we need more Linnaea’s in the world,” wrote Leck. “Hard workers that don’t make excuses. No matter the challenge or obstacle, Linnaea always found a way to make it work.”

In all, more than 10 written comments were submitted from instructors in Alaska and around the country praising Gossard’s efforts.

“[Gossard] communicates clearly and precisely with confidence,” wrote Inspired Classroom Creative Director Sam Angel, from Missoula Montana. “Linnaea is the clear choice for the ASTE Student of the Year and I would love to work with her again.”

Several people who attended Friday’s ceremony joked about how difficult it was to keep the award a secret.

“It was really hard in our household; we almost blew it many times,” said Gossard’s mom, Virginia Morgan, who also serves on the KPBSD Board of Education.

Gossard said Friday that the ceremony took her completely by surprise and that when she saw everyone joining the Zoom call she thought she would be giving her presentation to the entire school board instead of just a single teacher.

“I was definitely surprised,” Gossard said. “I had no idea that I was even nominated.”

Gossard said that after she graduates she wants to go to college and study communications.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in News

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Carol Freas (right) helps a voter fill out absentee election materials in Kenai City Hall ahead of the Oct. 4 municipal election on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Absentee voting already underway

Absentee in-person voting has been made available across the borough

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
What’s on the ballot: Reapportionment, new field house, school bond

Voters will decide on ballot measures that address schools, public safety and legislative bodies

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out elements of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Aging school on the brink

Renovations are cost prohibitive at Soldotna Elementary

Rep. Mary Peltola, an Alaska Democrat, delivers a speech on the U.S. House floor before Thursday’s vote approving her first bill, establishing an Office of Food Security in the Department of Veterans Affairs. It passed the House by a 376-49 vote, although its fate in the Senate is undetermined. (Screenshot from official U.S. House video)
Poll: Peltola’s a popular pol

Food for vets bill passes House, pollster says she is “the most popular figure in Alaska right now.”

A parking sign awaits the new executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund at its Juneau headquarters, Three finalists will be interviewed for the job during a public meeting Monday by the fund’s board of trustees, who are expected to deliberate and announce the new director immediately afterward. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Interviews, selection of new Permanent Fund CEO set for Monday

Three finalists seeking to manage $73.7B fund to appear before trustees at public meeting in Juneau

Principal Sarge Truesdell looks at cracked siding outside of Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The siding is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Split siding at SoHi

The damage has been given patchwork treatment over the years

Most Read