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JSD hires retired principal to lead Gastineau in interim

Posted: June 12, 2011 - 8:12pm

The Juneau School District, having continued its hiring process, has selected a retired former Harborview Elementary principal to lead Gastineau Elementary this year.

Kathleen Yanamura worked for the district for nearly 25 years, the last five as Harborview principal before retiring. Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich said she’s been living in Oregon.

Yanamura earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Hawaii in 1981; her master’s in education technology from the University of Alaska Southeast in 1999; and master’s in education leadership from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2000.

She began teaching kindergarten in 1983 and also taught fourth- and fifth-grades for many years.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the Gastineau community for the coming school year,” Yanamura said in a statement. “My goal is to provide continuity and support for this wonderful learning environment. I look forward to working with students, family and staff — and to a wonderful year ahead.”

The district and community interviewed two candidates for the position several weeks ago, however the district decided to extend the hiring process. The position is being vacated by Angie Lunda, who will serve as Hoonah’s schools superintendent beginning this upcoming school year.

Gelbrich said when the district searches for new principals it looks not only at the job description, but also at what the district expects from its principals.

Staff and community gave input on what they wanted in a principal, he said.

“We went through that process,” Gelbrich said. “We had candidates come in, and as talented as those candidates were they didn’t meet the expectations we had so we decided to go to an interim.”

In late January to mid-February the district will begin actively recruiting for a long-term principal at Gastineau via local and national postings and the district will again use the same approach to hiring principals as it has in the past — public interviews with staff and community input to find the best fit for the school.

One reason the district is excited to bring Yanamura back on board is because she had experience in leading the school through construction projects and was involved in the renovations completed at Harborview. This is beneficial, since Gastineau is going through a phased renovation project.

“We’re thrilled to have her,” Gelbrich said.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at

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