Nanwalek’s first quarter success

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, November 9, 2014 4:38pm
  • NewsSchools

Nanwalek School is making an impression from across the Cook Inlet, with upgrades to programs and the ways staff are implementing them at the small school.

The students attending the school, an integral part of the local community, live a subsistence lifestyle, said Nanwalek School principal Nancy Kleine. The courses at the school are designed maintain that way of living and also make the students competitive professionally, she said. Kleine explained the reasoning for the schools’ targeted programs during a presentation to the Board of Education, at the Nov. 3 board meeting.

Kleine said it is important the staff uphold the school’s mission statement, which is to “honor cultural identity while developing students to be effective members of society.

Local and nationally reaching organizations are taking notice.

The Board of Education presented the Golden Apple Award to James Reinseth, a Nanwalek School teacher for his outstanding involvement in improving school curriculum and taking interest in the needs of his students.

Stability is a huge factor in student performance in rural schools, said board member Sunni Hilts. Reinseth is a quality teacher who is providing his students with that necessary stability with his commitment to living and working in the community, she said.

Hilts lives across the Cook Inlet in Seldovia and said she was glad to see rural schools at the meeting. Since it is a challenge commuting regularly to rural areas in the Borough it is productive for the board to be able to see what happens in the schools that are operating from a distance, she said.

Nanwalek also recently awarded another prestigious award delivered from within The White House. In 2013 President Barack Obama implemented the ConnectED initiative which grants schools with technology such as Apple products for use in the classroom to ensure students have experience learning through different methods.

Nanwalek was the only Alaska school to receive the grant, according to Through out the country 114 schools in 29 states received Apple products and training for the devices, according to the website.

“A lack of equal access to technology and knowledge puts entire communities and populations of students at a disadvantage, especially minorities,” according to

This year Kleine said Nanwalek hired their first time special education teacher, which has made a huge difference at the school. She said they have also started culinary arts and welding classes for the students to learn more vocational oriented training in the classrooms.

Kleine also wanted to make sure the school shared some of their community’s culture while at the board meeting.

Through out the presentation Sally Ash, a staff member at Nanwalek School, translated segments of Klein’s speech into Sugt’stun, the village’s language, for the board.

Kleine asked the board to stand and join her and Ash in the center of the room for a traditional school song. The board was already quite familiar with the related dance moves.

Ash led the board in a Sugt’stun sung version of “The Hokey Pokey.”

“Maybe a little unusual for board meeting but we wanted to liven things up here,” Kleine said.


Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

The Homer Spit stretching into Kachemak Bay is seen here on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer woman indicted over seaplane incident

Marian Tillion Beck was indicted on charges of negligent operation of a vessel and attempted interference with the navigation of a sea plane

Soldotna High School can be seen in this Sept. 2, 2021, photo, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Little Sweethearts’ family dance to debut at SoHi

The event will be hosted by SoHi’s freshmen student council

Soldotna City Council members interview city manager applicant Elke Doom (on screen) during a special city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Doom, Bower named finalists for Soldotna manager gig

The two will visit Soldotna for in-person meetings on Feb. 7 and 13, respectively

The northern fur seal rescued by Alaska SeaLife Center staff is seen on Jan. 31, 2023, at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
Northern fur seal pup admitted to SeaLife Center rescue program

The pup was reported by Sitka residents using the center’s 24-hour stranding hotline

The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Literary competition returns to local schools

Battle of the Books aims to instill in kids a love of reading

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Climate activists hold a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol Friday afternoon in advocacy for legislative action to improve Alaska’s renewable energy development and future sustainability.
Climate activists hold rally near the Capitol

Statewide organizations advocate for legislative action

Shanon Davis, the executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, hands out candy during the Sweeny’s St. Patrick’s Parade in Soldotna on March 17, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Davis to step down as Soldotna chamber head

Davis oversaw the implementation of Soldotna’s “Holding Our Own,” shop local program

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State parks advisory boards accepting applictions

Alaska State Park advisory boards provide state park managers with recommendations on management issues

Most Read