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By Dan Rudy 

Search underway for new principal


Wrangell Public Schools has initiated a search for a new secondary schools principal, after receiving notice from current principal Kendall Benson late last month that he would not be seeking a second year.

Hailing from Utah, Benson had been hired last summer to administer the high school and Stikine Middle School after the departure of predecessor Colter Barnes. Traveling to Sitka for Region V basketball this week, Benson was unavailable for comment.

School superintendent Patrick Mayer announced on Friday that an interview committee has been set up, consisting of himself, teacher Bob Davis, secretary Megan Talburt, and the city’s clerk Kim Lane.

Mayer explained they would like to have a new principal in place by April, in time to start with the new fiscal year on July 1.

“We’d have to work out all those details,” said Mayer. “We’re just kind of getting started here.”

Mayer and Davis will be headed next week to the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) job fair in Anchorage to look for candidates. The fair will be the first of several similar venues Wrangell’s schools will look, though the position is open to local applicants as well.

“Everybody that applies for the job will submit applications through ATP,” Mayer explained.

He said the school would be looking for several qualities in a principal, including availability to interview with the full selection committee via Skype. Tech savviness and managing data will actually be big components to the position, as the school system has shifted greater emphasis to students using personal devices.

“It’s just become a larger part of the daily instructional regimen,” said Mayer.

Another of the top considerations will be finding a good fit for the community, he explained, which is rarely apparent.

“We always like people to come and stay,” he said. “And sometimes they don’t, they move on.”

After a candidate is selected from among the applicants, the committee’s decision will then move on to the Public School Board for final approval.


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