Becker wins education excellence award

Posted: Friday, October 19, 2007

JUNEAU - Outgoing Juneau School Distrtict board member Mary Becker was named the 2007 recipient of the Alaska Association of School Administrators MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award.

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Becker was presented a plaque at a banquet organized by the association in early October in Anchorage and was recognized Tuesday at her final Juneau Board of Education meeting.

"I am honored to receive this award," Becker said. "It is very meaningful to be recognized for my years of service to students and to the Juneau School Board, which have been important parts of my life."

"The Don MacKinnon award is all about leadership and service, and Mary Becker exemplifies those characteristics," Juneau Schools Superintendent Peggy Cowan said.

"She has risen to president of each organization she has been a part of, from the teacher's union, to the Juneau School Board, to the Association of Alaska School Boards."

Becker was a teacher in Juneau for 30 years. She served on the Juneau Board of Education for the past nine years, including four years serving as board president, one as vice president and one as board clerk. She also served as president and a two-term board member of the Association of Alaska School Boards.

"Mary Becker's work on behalf of students has been courageous and unrelenting, always putting children first. She is also a volunteer contributor throughout the community and has the respect of people statewide," Cowan said.

Becker said she was particularly honored to receive an award named in honor of Don MacKinnon, the first executive director of the Alaska Association of School Administrators and a former school superintendent in both Juneau and Hoonah.

"I first met Don when I was teaching at Gastineau Elementary School, and I had my students work on a comparative study between Juneau and Hoonah. Don was superintendent in Hoonah at the time and he was so gracious - welcoming me and my students to Hoonah, having his school cooks prepare meals and supporting us in every way," Becker said. "I later had the opportunity to work for him in Juneau, and always admired the man," she said.

The Alaska Association of School Administrators created the MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award in 1985 to recognize MacKinnon for his service to education in Alaska. According to the Association, it is given each year to School Board members who have provided meritorious service to school districts and communities.

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