Kodiak’s school board is on the search for a new Kodiak Island Borough School District Superintendent and will interview the three finalists in person on March 7. KMXT is speaking with the three individuals in the days before the Kodiak visit.
Longtime Kodiak resident, Larry LeDoux, was a Kodiak principal and had the position of superintendent for a year before joining Governor Sarah Palin’s cabinet as the state Education Commissioner.
He left that job when former governor Sean Parnell chose a different person for the position, and is now a borough assemblyman. But that may change if he becomes school district superintendent once again.
“I can’t imagine doing both jobs at the same time. Up until that point. There’s no state law or local ordinance that would preclude me from doing that, but when I work on a job, I work at it 100 percent. And even though people see going to borough meetings as twice a week or once a week, I go to meetings every day, sometimes all day long. It’s busy, and I couldn’t serve the public and serve the district at the same time.”
LeDoux expresses a love for students and for the classroom and already has ideas for how the district could look with him at the helm.
He says success starts early, and he realized as commissioner that there are many ways officials could help parents prepare their children before they enter school. He says when they come to school ready, they do well at the other end, too. And he believes kids should be able to imagine their futures.
“You know, you can tell the health of a child by just testing their vision. What are you going to do next year? Where are you going to go to college? What are your dreams? And some kids have no dreams, and if you ask ‘What are you going to do tomorrow?’ they don’t know. And we can’t have that. And the way you help a child to have a dream or a vision is you give them many opportunities to discover what they like, what their talents are.”
He says a school district can do that by providing visual arts, theater, and career technology programs among other academic offerings.
Some such programs are at risk now that school districts are turning to look at their budgets and deciding which areas they can cut, but LeDoux believes that the district can be resourceful through group effort. Especially if the district’s various parts, from parents to administrators, have outlined a strategic plan and agreed to work on achieving those goals.
“People have to be involved, they have to decide what the priorities really are, and if you do it that way, no matter how much money you have, you can have a program that represents what the community wants to do for kids. It has to be done collaboratively, it has to be transparent, and it has to follow the plan, but the plan, again, if it’s developed really has to represent active engagement.”
LeDoux says a big part of that is collaboration and hearing what people have to say.
“I’ve learned that if you’re gonna work with teachers, if you’re gonna work with parents, then you have to listen to them and listen to them. You don’t have PTA meeting where you have them come to a meeting and you tell them what you’re going to do and ask them to approve it. If you want parents to be involved in education, you have to invite them in at the beginning and listen to them and understand what they want. And the same is true for teachers.”
He says the school district will only go as far as its teachers, which is why they should make sure teachers are inspired and have all the tools they need.