Finalists for superintendent selected

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Wednesday, February 18, 2015 10:54pm
  • News

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will be interviewing four candidates for the superintendent position on March 3.

Five applications were received from around the nation, said school district spokeswoman Pegge Erkeneff. The period for submitting applications closed Monday.

School District Interim Superintendent Sean Dusek, Montana’s Eureka Public School District Superintendent James Mepham, Idaho’s McCall-Donnelly School District former Superintendent Glen Szymoniak, and Iditarod Area School District test coordinator, principal and teacher Kimberely Bergey are up for consideration.

The school board held a special meeting Wednesday with Tim Navarre and Marty Anderson absent and Penny Vadla participating via phone. Not enough members were present to take any action.

School board president Joe Arness said his preference was to offer the position to Dusek, and not go through with interviewing the other candidates. However, after discussing the options, the board decided to hold interviews as previously scheduled.

Arness asked the school board members to submit any questions they have for the candidates within a week, and Director of Human Resources Joann Riener will be reviewing questions from interviews with previous candidates.

Each candidate will receive the same set of questions and the same amount of interview time, Erkeneff said. The interviews will not be broadcast or televised, but will be open to the public, she said.

The proceedings are limited this way so that candidates do not hear the questions or answers from other candidates before their turn, Erkeneff said. Anyone who attends the meetings will have a chance to submit written comments to the school district afterward, she said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the school board reviewed results of the community feedback survey, where the public was asked what qualities they would like to see in the next superintendent.

Erkeneff said 148 people participated.

A candidate who is “strongly committed to a ‘student first’ philosophy,” and a candidate with “exemplary standards of integrity and personal performance, inspires trust and maintains a high level of optimism,” were top qualities participants expect in a candidate.

In the comment summary section participants were asked whether they would prefer to hire the current superintendent or someone who has not worked in the Kenai school district, and why.

Responses included that Dusek would already have a strong knowledge base of the community, and a vested interest and ability to continue with the progress the school has already made. Contrary responses said that if a someone from outside the district is hired it would be a “breath of fresh air,” and credentials would possibly include competitive accreditations.

Szymoniak formerly served as a principal and an assistant superintendent with the district.

The school district will announce the interviewing schedule when those details are determined, Erkeneff said.


Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Dr. Kim Thiele stands by a wall of newspaper clippings and images of family members and precursors in his office near Kenai on Monday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A ministry for me’

Kalifornsky doctor wraps up career after 44 years

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, listens to testimony during a Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday in Juneau. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman game seizure bill received warmly in Senate committee

Of the roughly 150 animals the department takes each year, an average of between one and two are determined to be wrongfully seized

A collage of photos of Nikiski North Star Elementary students taking swimming lessons at the Nikiski Pool. (Photo collages provided by Nikiski North Star Elementary)
Community effort puts 200 Nikiski North Star students through swimming lessons

The lessons covered “everything,” from basic flotation to constructing rough-but-functional life jackets out of clothing

From left, Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, hugs Rep. Stanley Wright, R-Anchorage, after House passage of sweeping education legislation while Rep. Maxine Dibert, D-Fairbanks, watches on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
House passes BSA increase, with other education provisions

The bill now goes back to the Senate, where lawmakers must approve the bill as-is before it can head to the governor’s desk

Rep. Justin Ruffridge speaks about
House considers, rejects multiple school funding amendments during Wednesday floor debate

Over several hours, lawmakers considered six different increases in the Base Student Allocation to public schools

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan addresses members of the Alaska Legislature in the House chambers on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dismissing critics, Sullivan touts LNG project

During his annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday, the U.S. senator said state leaders should be doing everything they can to make the project successful

From left, Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, east side setnetter Ken Coleman and Konrad Jackson present information about a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for east side setnet fishery permits during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate committee hears setnet buyback bill

The East Side of Cook Inlet Set Net Fleet Reduction Act is sponsored by Nikiski Sen. Jesse Bjorkman

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of debating an omnibus education bill in the Alaska House Chambers on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Tie vote kills early House debate on education funding

Lawmakers went into an hourslong recess that ended with adjournment until Tuesday morning

Most Read