Alaska’s Superintendents Agree: McDonald is Tops

Stewart McDonald
Stewart McDonald

The superintendents of Alaska’s many school districts agree: Kodiak’s superintendent is the best in the state. That honor for Kodiak Island Borough Schools Superintendent Stewart McDonald was announced Monday night at the school board meeting by Lisa Parady, the executive director of the Alaska Superintendents Association, who had these words of praise for his work.

“A consistent and positive voice for the needs of education in Alaska. A person of utmost integrity, fairness, commitment and energy. Stewart McDonald, through his superintendency has been an energetic, professional and fully involved member of ASA, the Alaska Superintendents Association. Stewart McDonald is a respected, reasoned and strong voice within the organization and in the state of Alaska. He symbolizes all that is good and true about educators. Most importantly he is recognized for his service to his district, schools and community. He is a leader of leaders.”

School board members praised McDonald for the work that led to the honor. Here is Rick Kniaziowski.

“A big part of it is your start in special ed and your focus on the individual student, and making that the basis of the district. I think that’s a key of that,” Kniaziowski said. “And your integrity. The fact that you tell me something and I know that’s what it is. And that means a lot within a governance body.”

Katie Oliver told McDonald she knew Kodiak had someone special whenever meeting school superintendents from elsewhere.

“Whenever I travel with you for education advocacy, one of the things I enjoy most is seeing the high regard you’re held in by other superintendents around the state,” Oliver said. “And I’m happy for you getting this recognition. It’s coming at a good time, and congratulations.”

Even a former school board member added her compliments.

“When I heard that he was going to be receiving the superintendent of the year award, I decided I wanted to publicly congratulate him and add that this is an award for the entire community,” said Deborah Kirk. “It indicates that we live in a place that is led by those who who are motivated to put our children first. Something, that despite these challenging times we live in, hopefully will continue long into the future of Kodiak Island.”

Kirk added a personal note from when her children were in Kodiak schools, saying, “What I was most impressed with was the standards promulgated by Mr. McDonald’s administration, from the top down, that encourage responsible behaviors during the school day and beyond the school day.”

The award as Alaska’s top school executive comes at the beginning of McDonald’s last term with Kodiak schools. He announced his resignation earlier this year. McDonald and all the other State Superintendents of the Year will be honored in March at the 2017 National Conference on Education in New Orleans.

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