It took a nationwide search before the Juneau School District hired a candidate from its own back yard. Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School has a permanent principal now with the hire of assistant principal Molly Yerkes, who has served as interim principal since August.
Yerkes emerged as the clear choice of the interview committee and the community, according to a school district statement.
Yerkes is a life-long resident of Juneau and has been with the district for 12 years: six as an English-as-Second-Language teacher at Floyd Dryden and six as an administrator at DHMS.
“I plan to implement programs which support at-risk students and which challenge all students with rigor and a positive learning experience — all with a vision of creating a love of life-long learning,” said Yerkes.
DHMS serves approximately 470 students in grades six through eight, and has nearly 80 teaching and support staff.
Yerkes holds three masters degrees: public administration, educational leadership, and secondary teaching. Her undergraduate work is in liberal arts and bilingual education.
“I bring relationships with community organizations, which take time and trust to build,” said Yerkes, “Relationships lead to partnerships and partnerships contribute to student success.”
“It was evident to the selection committee that Molly has fostered an exceptionally positive climate and sense of momentum at Dzantik’i Heeni,” says Assistant Superintendent Laury Scandling, who supervises secondary schools. “It’s clear that she aims for high standards and has the support of staff and families.”
Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich agrees, “We are pleased with the climate that is developing at Dzantik’i Heeni and it is clear that under Molly’s leadership the staff is poised to create a first class middle school in the years ahead.”
Yerkes, 34, is married to Floyd Dryden Middle School teacher Josh Yerkes. They are parents of two children, Finn, 10 and Ellie, 3.