Board approves new school administrators

Mendenhall River principal, Floyd Dryden asst. principal chosen

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2001

The Juneau School District has hired a former teacher and state employee as the new principal at Mendenhall River Community School, and chosen a former Angoon principal to be assistant principal at Floyd Dryden Middle School.

The Juneau School Board this week confirmed Superintendent Gary Bader's recommendations of Karen MacDonald for the Mendenhall River post and Jacqueline Kookesh for the Floyd Dryden job.

District administrators and a panel of a parent and a few teachers from each school privately interviewed three candidates for the Mendenhall River position and two for the Floyd Dryden position.

"I think that Karen impressed the committee with her enthusiasm and her depth of elementary experience," Bader said.

MacDonald has worked for the past year as an improvement grant director for the state Department of Education and Early Development. She was acting principal at the Polaris K-12 Open-Optional School in Anchorage for five months, and a kindergarten and third-grade teacher in Anchorage for 11 years.

MacDonald holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in educational leadership, both from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

MacDonald replaces Diana Gifford, who is moving out of state. Mendenhall River Community School, an elementary school, has about 465 students.

Kookesh was most recently an education consultant for the Chatham School District, helping it complete a schools improvement plan for the past school year.

Before that she was principal of the two schools in Angoon for two years, and a middle school teacher there for 11 years.

Kookesh interned in the office of the assistant principal at Floyd Dryden in 1998-99 while getting a master's degree in educational leadership at the University of Alaska Southeast. She also holds a bachelor's degree in education from Western Washington University.

Kookesh, in taking the assistant principal position, replaces Tom Milliron, who recently was named principal at Floyd Dryden. Milliron replaced Sue Clifton, who is moving out of state. Floyd Dryden has about 560 students.

"I think that she would be a good complement to the principal out there," Bader said of Kookesh. "She brings a academic preparation. She has been a principal. She interned at the school. She brings a good instructional perspective to the job."

Eric Fry can be reached at

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