The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Tuesday interviews held for school principal

Last Tuesday, administrators were hired for VHS and super


Valdez Star photo

Jim Nygaard, background left, and Rod Schug, forward right, at a meet and greet event a week ago Tuesday. Nygaard was hired that day as new superintend of Valdez City Schools and Schug was named new principal of Valdez High School.

Tuesdays have been hectic for Valdez City Schools lately.

On May 6 the district interviewed candidates for the position of principal of Hermon Hutchens Elementary School, Shari Blackburn, a current principal in Falls City School District in Oregon and Briana Randle of Joy Elementary School in Fairbanks.

On Wednesday, May 7, the district said it had offered the position to one of the two candidates, but did not say which applicant was offered the position.

"We have offered a contract to one of elementary principal candidates," said Melissa Reese, the district's director of education services, in an email sent Wednesday morning. "The name of the new elementary principal will be released when the contract is signed. We anticipate receiving a signed contract by the end of the week."

The new principal will replace Chris Bennett, who resigned and is taking a position in the Aleutian Islands.

An even more hectic day ensued a week ago Tuesday when the district hired Jim Nygaard, retired superintendent of the Cordova School District, to come on board as administrator in Valdez, and a new principal for Valdez High School, Rod Schug, was unexpectedly hired.

Unfortunately, it was too late to stop the presses, which can cost over a $1,000.

The newsroom at the Valdez Star was in periodic contact with the district office throughout the morning that Tuesday after it was announced the night before that interviews for a new superintendent would be the next day.

The status of the principal interviews changed constantly before and after the Valdez Star went to press.

Superintendent Lisa Stroh had announced during the April 28 school board meeting that a preliminary interview was also scheduled for two of four candidates for high school principal.

The interviews for high school principal, which also included Valdez teacher Lea Cockerham, turned out to be not so preliminary after all. Stroh contacted the Valdez Star shortly after it had already gone to press and announced that the committee formed to guide the hiring process for a high school principal had offered the contract to Schug and he had accepted it.

The reason cited for holding preliminary interviews for the position at the school board meeting stated that one of the two superintendent candidates was also a principal candidate.

Schug, who is currently superintendent of the school district in Yakutat, said at the meet and greet that afternoon he was happy to be named the new principal and that he had dropped his name as a candidate for superintendent.

Schug is the scheduled guest for the popular public affairs call-in talk show "Coffee Break" which broadcasts live from the KCHU public radio studios in Valdez. Listeners can tune in to 770 AM in Valdez or stream it live on The show is also rebroadcast on FM stations from KCHU in Glennallen, McCarthy, Tatitlek, Whittier and Cordova.

Valdez Star photo

Rod Schug, new principal of Valdez High School, meets a future student Tuesday shortly after he accepted the job.

Stroh said after it was announced that Schug would be the new principal that the hiring committee decided to offer a contract that day instead of its previously stated time that the district had already lost a prime candidate who dropped out because that person had accepted an offer with a different district and was worried it could happen again.

Schug will take over as principal of Valdez High School at the beginning of the new school year.

Nygaard will begin his contract in Valdez later this month. The board of education had been hoping to hire a one-year interim superintendent that could begin work in conjunction with Stroh, whose contract ends the last day of June.

The search for a permanent superintendent will begin later this fall, if the board and Nygaard do not decide on a permanent contract.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 09/22/2019 19:32