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

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Melissa Reese named new elementary principal

Long-time teacher and district administrator will wear many hats


Melissa Reese is the new principal of Hermon Hutchens Elementary School.

The longtime educator and administrator with Valdez City Schools was offered the job in late May in a second round of candidate interviews.

"I'm really excited," Reese told the board of education Monday night. "I think it's going to be a great challenge."

Reese was a long-time teacher at Valdez High School, teaching technical and career based classes for eleven years.

She moved to a number of administrative positions in the district four years ago, working as director of education services, test coordinator, director of curriculum and instructions among other titles.

Reese will continue her work as a district administrator, in addition to her duties as principal.

Her current yearly salary is $118,859 plus benefits. The move will be official July 1 according to the personnel action report included in the board of education's meeting packet for last Monday night's regular meeting.

Valdez Star photo

Melissa Reese was named the new principal of Hermon Hutchens Elementary School. She is a long time educator and administrator for Valdez City Schools.

Reese led the original committee formed to vet, interview and ultimately hire a new principal for Hermon Hutchens. In early May, the committee interviewed – and offered contracts – to two out-of-town candidates. Both declined the position and the committee regrouped to begin the process again.

Reese, who holds a Master's Degree in education and education technology, also holds a graduate certificate as principal, said she was inspired to apply for the position during the round of interviews for the first candidates.

She said it became apparent to her that she had a good understanding of the concerns of teachers and parents after escorting the first-round candidates through the school and during a public meet and greet session.

Reese resigned from the principal hiring committee before applying for the position.

Reese replaces former principal Chris Bennett.


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