New superintendent named for Valdez City Schools
Lisa Stroh of Montana will take over district this July with two-year contract
Dr. Lisa Stroh will take over as superintendent of Valdez City Schools July 1. The board of education unanimously offered the Montana administrator the position last week after a two-day interview process in Valdez.
Stroh was offered a two-year contract with an option for a third year and will earn $125,000 yearly, with benefits.
The Valdez Star caught up with Stroh early Friday afternoon during a tour of Hermon Hutchens Elementary School. She and her family were looking forward to moving to Valdez this summer.
“I am so impressed with Valdez as a city, there’s just a lot of good things going on,” she said, “Not to mention that it’s beautiful.”
Stroh, the parent of two college-age sons and a fifth grader, said she believes her own student will receive a quality education in Valdez.
“I’m really impressed with the school system,” she said.
Her biography says she was a professor of education at Fort Belknap College prior
to being elected county superintendent. She served in the position four years. Stroh also has worked as a principal in Montana and Alaska, including an administration position in Kodiak. She holds an Ed.D. in School Administration, with and emphasis in curriculum and instruction and a M.Ed in Special Education from Montana State University.
While the new superintendent enjoyed strong school board and public support during the interview process, the district’s wrestling programs may see a boost when the Stroh family comes to town. The family’s two college-age sons are wrestling at the collegiate level and her husband coaches.
“He’s pretty diversified also,” Stroh said of her spouse.
She said the family had long had an eye towards returning to Alaska, but wanted to wait until the elder kids were in college before leaving their home state of Montana.
“The people are just incredible,” she said, “There’s just something that draws you back.”
During Monday night’s regular school board meeting, outgoing superintendent Jacob Jensen and the board briefly discussed the upcoming transition.
“I wanted to initiate a conversation about that,” board president Steve Brockman said.
Jensen said that as of yet, he was uncertain how much – or little – guidance Stroh hoped to receive before he hands her the keys to the district.
“I haven’t talked much to the new superintendent,” Jensen told the board. “Until I talk to her I don’t know how much she really wants or needs.”
Jensen was out of town during last week’s interview process.
The board directed Jensen to have all administration evaluations completed before he departs the district and to contact Stroh to “bring forward a plan.”
Jensen also said he intended to leave a “here you are” list for Stroh.
Valdez Star photo
Dr. Lisa Stroh (sitting center) will become the superintendent of Valdez City Schools July 1. Potential candidates for the top administrative position met with school employees and interested members of the public as part of the interview process.
The board of education for Valdez City Schools conducted a nationwide search for candidates to take over the three schools in Valdez earlier this year after Jensen announced he would not seek a renewal of his three-year contract that was set to expire June 30, 2013. Jensen announced last month that he had accepted the position of superintendent for the Lower Kuskokwim School District, which is based out of Bethel.
The Valdez board hired AASB, the Association of Alaska School Boards, to find superintendent candidates. The position was made public in early March and closed on April 4.
Three finalists, including Dr. Stroh, were in Valdez Wednesday and Thursday of last week to spent time with district staff, meet community members and to tour the community in addition to the formal interview with the board. She extended her stay by one day after she was offered and accepted the job.
In her formal job application, Stroh called herself a “hands on administrator” who works hard, enjoys collaborating with staff, students and community.