I was raised in the Northwest by a single mother and two very demanding and mischievous older brothers. In school I loved cross country running, basketball, and baseball. When I graduated from high school I never considered going to college or thought of becoming an educator. After high school I moved to Idaho to work as a ranch hand. Two years later I married the boss’s daughter. We have been married for 38 years, have a son, daughter inlaw, and two grandsons.
While working as a ranch hand I had the opportunity to go to a school to learn how to shoe horses. This was the first time I had been to a school that was actually interesting and relevant to my life. I was able to augment our income as a farrier for the next two decades. I served in the United States Air Force for four years as a survival instructor. It was during my tenure as a military instructor that I decided to work toward a degree in education. During the Desert Storm era I worked as a military contractor in Saudi Arabia, working with Saudi, U.S. and British troops. Our time in the Middle East allowed my family to save enough money for my wife and I to complete our degrees. My teaching career began in St. Marys, Alaska in 1999 as an elementary/high school teacher. I have taught middle school social studies, all high school subjects in a rural school on the Aleutian Chain, and sixth grade in Unalakleet, Alaska. During my years in the classroom I also coached cross country running, basketball at all levels, mixed six volleyball, wrestling, skiing, and biathlon. This interaction has helped me to understand the importance of student centered activities. Activities such as athletics, music, vocational activities, and other clubs connect students to school and the community. I have been a school administrator for the past 15 years. I have worked for the Bering Strait School District, the North Slope School District, and the Lower Yukon School district. FY 2021 will be my second year as the Nome-Beltz principal.
This is an exciting time to be involved with education in Alaska. With increased flexibility and greater control at the state and local level, increased opportunities for partnering with other schools, universities, agencies, and businesses are on the horizon. During my 20 years working in rural Alaska I have developed an understanding for the challenges facing families, parents, students and educators, but also an appreciation for the strength of the people, the relationship with the land and the honest desires of educators. I look forward to working with the state, local entities, and schools to make education for our students more relevant and impactful in the future.