The Juneau School District Board of Education voted at its Tuesday night meeting in the Juneau-Douglas High School library to appoint Lillian “Lisa” Worl to fill out the unexpired term of a former member who resigned last month.
Kim Poole, who was elected in 2010, resigned her seat on the school board last month after moving to Oklahoma.
“I’m honored. It was a very strong pool of candidates, and I’m glad that they had selected me,” Worl said after the appointment. “And I think I’m going in with my eyes wide open, knowing that we have a lot of work cut out for us in the coming months.”
Before members voted, a two-part affair conducted by secret ballot in which members were asked to mark three of the six candidates they would like to consider further, and then choose between the two finalists, board President Sally Saddler thanked each of the applicants.
“You’ve given us a delightful dilemma … in that we have six very strong candidates,” Saddler said.
Myrna Gardner, a former member of the Klawock School District who works for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, and Worl, a member of the Floyd Dryden Middle School site council, were the two finalists.
Board members passed over Will Muldoon and Michelle Johnston, runners-up in the election to fill three school board seats conducted Oct. 2, in preferring Gardner and Worl for the runoff. Sealaska Corp. manager Janice Hotch and Harborview Site Council member Jennifer LaRoe rounded out the sextet of candidates.
The appointment is effective Jan. 8.
The unexpired term ends next year. Voters will decided who will fill the seat for another three-year term in next October’s municipal elections.
Worl said she will probably run for a full term.
“It is likely that I would run again,” said Worl. “I think it would take something pretty drastic, because more than likely, I will have just gotten into the rhythm of it, developed a relationship with the current school board, and so I’m sure that I would probably like to carry that forward.”
The school board also outlined its requests to the Alaska State Legislature for capital funds at the meeting.
The $891,590 wishlist includes funding to replace the JDHS master clock system and four aging telephone systems, establish videoconferencing capabilities for middle and high school classrooms to allow students to participate in classes exclusive to other schools, install security cameras at JDHS, and purchase new equipment, including computers, printers, and projectors, for school classrooms, libraries and computer labs.
JDHS student Ruby Steedle came forward to question the funding request for her school’s clock system.
“I was wondering why we need global positioning in our clocks and why we’re spending $30,000 of the district’s dollars on this?” Steedle asked.
Assistant Superintendent Laury Scandling responded that the GPS-equipped clock system is the most accurate and reliable that is available.
“If there is to be a replacement of the clock system, which long has not been reliable or worked, then the best current system for timekeeping is a GPS system,” said Scandling.
Steedle was unmoved.
“I don’t see the need to have the most precise clocks in the world in our schools,” said Steedle. “I think we need to have clocks that adequately tell us the time so we can get to class on time, but they don’t need to be one-thirtieth of one second together.”
Steedle received light applause from some attendees for her remarks.
After the public comment section closed, board member Barbara Thurston said she is sympathetic to Steedle’s argument.
“I think Ruby got up a good point that I’d like to elaborate on. I think we need to think about purchasing any of these things, the ideal versus the good enough,” Thurston said, citing the recommendation to purchase Apple iPads to read electronic books in school libraries instead of cheaper Amazon Kindles as an example. “I want to encourage the district to not necessarily buy the very best. Sometimes we can get more of the second-best and the second-best gets us really close to what we need.”
That issue notwithstanding, the board voted unanimously to forward the list to Juneau’s legislative delegation.
The meeting also saw two retiring JSD employees, including Scandling, receive recognition from the school board.
Scandling is retiring after her 20th year with the school district. Saddler paid tribute to her at the meeting.
“Anyone who knows Laury knows that her passion is just endless — it just goes on and on,” Saddler said. “She leaves big shoes to fill, so big I think we’re going to need several pair of shoes to be able to fill the empty shoes she’ll be leaving here. Her energy and her talent has made Juneau a special place for our students, and the kind of place that I think we can all be proud of.”
One of Scandling’s former students, Jordan Curbow, gave her a beaver mask he crafted as a present. The mask is meant to represent how “industrious” Scandling is.
“They’re always doing something,” Curbow said of beavers.
Scandling thanked students and families for her experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent in the JSD.
“It’s the kids and families who taught me, and I look out and I see former students, and I see parents I’ve had the privilege of serving,” said Scandling. “Thank you for your trust.”
Scandling concluded, “It’s been a complete privilege and honor for me to learn in this school district.”
In its “Spotlight on Success” segment, the board also honored JDHS teacher Kristy Germain, who was named Advisor of the Year by the Alaska Association of Student Governments for 2012 for her work with the JDHS student council.
Student body leaders at JDHS — Steedle, President Sam Kurland and student representative to the school board Ariana Gross — spoke glowingly of Germain, describing her as an advisor who provides guidance but allows students to take charge.
“What’s really so great about Mrs. Germain is that we’ll be having a meeting and she really lets us do … what we want to do,” said Gross.
Germain is the daughter of Juneau Deputy Mayor Mary Becker.
On a motion by board member Phyllis Carlson, participating by telephone, the board also adopted new equity standards for the JSD at the meeting.
Curricula for the training of unlicensed assistive personnel, school staff members trained to administer limited medical care to students when a school nurse is unavailable, were also approved by the board.
The school board will meet next Tuesday for a retreat at the JSD Central Office.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.