LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Druce returns as head of teachers union

The special election followed the firing of former president Nathan Erfurth, who was arrested in May on charges of sexual abuse of a minor

LaDawn Druce is the new head of the local teachers union following the conclusion of a special election this week, the Kenai Peninsula Education Association announced via social media on Thursday.

Druce will serve a one-year term beginning on June 20 and take over for Tamra Wear, who has served as the union’s acting president since May 22. Wear confirmed via text message Friday that Druce won the special election, which the association has certified.

The special election followed the firing of former president Nathan Erfurth, who was arrested in May on charges of sexual abuse of a minor. KPEA’s nine-member executive board voted unanimously on May 22 to remove Erfurth as president and appoint Wear as acting president until a special election could be held.

The association accepted nominations for the interim president position during the last week in May, and union members were able to cast votes between June 1 and June 15. Also on the ballot was Amy Dawn, a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District alum who has worked for the district for 12 years. Dawn currently serves as the association’s rights chair and represents Soldotna on the executive board.

Druce is a retired KPBSD teacher who now works as a school counselor for River City Academy, Nanwalek School, Cooper Landing School and Hope School. She has an extensive history with the KPEA, where she served as the first full-time president and served as the rights chair.

Druce told the Clarion last week that, if elected, her first focus would be on bringing members of the association together in the wake of Erfurth’s departure. Looking ahead to contract negotiations, Druce said staff recruitment and retention is something she seeks as a key issue that the union and school district can work to address.

Because Druce is a retired teacher who has returned to the school district as a counselor, KPBSD Human Resources Director Nate Crabtree said Friday that the district will work with the association to accommodate her presidency.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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