Lunda well deserving of community award

Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2009

On March 7, the community honored Angie Lunda as a Woman of Distinction at the annual banquet sponsored by AWARE. Members of the Juneau Education Association and the staff of Gastineau Elementary School are thrilled that Lunda has been recognized in this way.

Angie Lunda, a Tlingit woman of the Eagle moiety and the Kaagwaantaan clan, was the child of a commercial fisherman. Under the direction of her resourceful mother, Angie grew up working at fish camp during the summers with her eleven siblings. She enjoyed exploring the beach and woods of the Taku River, where she learned her place in the natural world.

Lunda attributes her success in life to an idealistic middle school math teacher, Ms. Kelly, who held high expectations for all of her students. Ms. Kelly's faith in her young student inspired Angie to take on bigger and bigger challenges and drove her to make a difference for children from all kinds of families - especially those whose backgrounds were not honored in the traditional educational system

Angie Lunda graduated from high school at 16 and went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees. As a teacher, Lunda tried to be Ms. Kelly, to convey the message to each of her students that each child is capable of success.

Angie Lunda's driving passion is equity in education for all children, and her Douglas Island school reflects this passion. "Wooch.jee.een" - Tlingit for working together in unity - expresses the theme of Gastineau Elementary School, where a unique grant has funded Tlingit cultural and language studies for the past three years. Through this grant, Tlingit elders share cultural traditions with students in all classrooms and Tlingit language interns teach the language to every child. The Tlingit curriculum taught in the school connects children with their place in the world and develops students' understanding of Tlingit cultural history and language. Under Lunda's leadership, the grant has contributed a sense of collaboration and unity among the staff of this school, working together to respect and honor every child, in the belief that each one will succeed.

JEA members and the Gastineau staff share Lunda's commitment to success for all children - and we celebrate the award this exceptional principal received from AWARE last week.

Luann McVey

Literacy leader, Gastineau Elementary School


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