Thunder Mountain High School’s principal search brought in candidates from both near and far.
Three administrators — one from Juneau, one from Nome and one from a Texas town near the Oklahoma border — interviewed Thursday morning at TMHS for the position that will be opened by principal Dan Larson’s retirement.
A recommendation to Juneau School District Superintendent Bridget Weiss was expected to be made Thursday afternoon and a potential hiring announcement is expected Friday, said the district’s human resources director Tim Bauer.
The first person to interview was Jon “Caen” Dowell, assistant principal for Nome-Beltz Junior/Senior High School. He, as were the other candidates, was asked a series of questions by a panel that included representatives from the school’s staff, district administration and site council.
Dowell said Juneau and TMHS seem like a mutually good fit.
“In Nome, I’m successful, but I’m looking for more opportunities for my kids,” Dowell said in a short interview with the Empire. “I think this is a place I can fit in.”
He said a community about Juneau’s size seems like a good fit for him, and he said during his interview his personality would be a good fit for Thunder Mountain. Dowell said in light of what he perceives to be a positive culture and generally positive academic results, the most important thing is that TMHS’ next principal is a good personality fit for the school.
All three candidates for the position spoke highly of the high school and said they’d hope to continue the culture of success rather than attempt to lead a major culture change.
“There’s so much already in place that we’re not going to disrupt or shake-up,” said Kristine “Kristy” Germain, assistant principal for Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, who was the second interview of the morning.
Germain was born and raised in Juneau and has worked for the district since 2003, according to her resume, and has worked as both a teacher and assistant principal.
She said she was excited about the possibility of becoming a principal, and it is something for which she has been preparing.
“I would really like it noted this is a job I am serious about, and I am excited about,” Germain said.
Steve Morrow, principal for Whitewright High School Principal, was the morning’s lone out-of-state candidate. He said he loves working with kids and being an education administrator and was especially excited about the possibility of working at Thunder Mountain High School.
Morrow said the diversity of what TMHS offers and its academic performance are impressive. He also noted there seemed to be some room for improvement in Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools scores.
“We could improve some,” Morrow said before knocking on the wooden table for luck.
Morrow said a big part of the reason he hopes to get the job is that it’s a lifelong dream of his to live in Alaska. He said he has already quit his job, and now, it’s a matter of finding his place in the state.
“I have been wanting to come to Alaska for forever,” Morrow said. “There was never a good time. We finally decided, my wife and I this summer, that we are going to come to Alaska regardless.”
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.