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By Marc Lutz
Wrangell Sentinel 

High school/middle school principal retires after first year on the job


February 15, 2023 | View PDF

After only one school year, Bob Burkhart is retiring as the principal of Wrangell High School and Stikine Middle School.

Burkhart relocated from Ennis, Montana, last year to take the job, coming from a position as a principal at a school in Missoula, Montana, which he took on after being retired the first time.

“He just decided not to sign an additional year contract and will continue as principal through the end of this year’s contract,” said Schools Superintendent Bill Burr. “He is looking to retire with his wife in Montana where they have spent many years in the past.”

Burkhart said he will spend time hunting, gardening, making improvements to his home and supporting his grandchildren in their academic and athletic pursuits. He was grateful for his time in Wrangell.

“I’ve really appreciated the independent thinking and confidence expressed by the students in our school,” Burkhart said. “Our instructors deserve a huge amount of credit for harnessing the strengths of their students and assisting them in obtaining important goals in their lives.”

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Burkhart was also appreciative of the maintenance and custodial staff for keeping the school buildings in “such good condition after so many years of service to our students.”

The search to replace Burkhart has already begun, Burr said, including reviewing previous applications and posting the job through the Alaska Teacher Placement service operated by the University of Alaska.

“We have 10 current candidates,” Burr said, adding that not all 10 meet the requirements for an interview. “These will be whittled down and interviews will further shrink the applicant pool. Some of the 10 have applied to Wrangell before.”

The position for high school/middle school principal has a salary range of $88,366 to $103,808.

Although applicants can hail from anywhere, Burr said it does help if they are from Alaska, since they would be “more familiar with many of the ‘Alaska’ uniquenesses in our classrooms and students. However, staff coming from other states can bring new perspectives and initiatives (found) in other states and different populations.”

Burr said the state-operated retirement system makes it difficult to attract out-of-staters, “since our current system is not great for long-term staff.” The state in 2006 moved away from a retirement plan that based set monthly pension checks on years of service, shifting to an employee savings plan similar to a 401(k) with an employer match.

Business manager Tammy Stromberg and IT director Bob Russell also have both resigned, and the district is accepting applications for those positions.

Jobseekers can apply through Burr said the business manager and IT director positions are also posted on


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