This August 2 picture shows school board candidate Amber Frommherz. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Frommherz seeks school board seat

Plans to focus on early childhood education

Amber Frommherz says she is passionate about education and wants to bring that enthusiasm to the Juneau School District Board of Education. She’s currently a candidate for the school board. In October, voters will choose from among six candidates for three available seats.

“I am a parent of kids in the district, and I care about the education all of our children are getting and the educational system they are in,” she said during a recent interview with the Empire. “I’m a passionate parent, passionate community member and passionate about education.”

She said that as her three children are getting older, she now has more time to dedicate herself to different pursuits, like school board service.

Frommherz acknowledges that her educational journey — which started in Page, Arizona, adjacent to the Navajo Nation and ended with her earning a master’s degree in educational studies from Tufts University near Boston— was made possible in part by the support she received along the way.

“My entire journey has been in pursuit of education. So many helping hands helped me along the way,” she said. “I want to return the favor.”

Candidate seeks open school board seat

Qualifications

Frommherz is a U.S. Navy veteran and married to an active duty Coast Guard member. She is currently the Director of Tribal Services for the Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority.

Before that, she was the Head Start Director for the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. She’s worked as a lead teacher for Head Start and as a Navy recruiter. She said these experiences equip her with insight she can use on the school board.

“I bring leadership experience, military perspective, and an early childhood background. I’ve seen different school districts and can offer insights,” she said.

Frommherz also mentioned her experience working with budgets — state, local and family — as qualifications for the job. She said her work had exposed her to large budgets as well as families facing economic stressors.

She said her experience at Head Start gives her insight into the importance of early childhood education, and she plans to apply that to board service if elected.

“Once you are a Head Start person, you always are a Head Start person,” she said.

Frommherz said that early childhood concerns are “near and dear” to her because early life experiences drive many life outcomes.

“Research has shown long-term benefits from early childhood education. More students graduate and it offers protective factors,” she said, adding that Juneau and all of Southeast Alaska could benefit from increased early childhood investment.

First-time candidate seeks school board seat

On the issues

Fommherz said she supports the direction of the current school board and sees new opportunities.

She said that last year’s upended school schedule was tough as both a parent and a professional. She said the decisions the board made around the pandemic were complicated and difficult. But, she sees a bright side to the COVID-19-driven upheaval.

“It showed us how much more adaptive we are,” she said. “They (the board) made the best decisions they could with the information at hand. Hands down, I appreciate the leaders who have gotten us through this,” she said

She sees increased access to the school board through Zoom meetings as another bright spot.

“I want to be a vessel to hear from parents,” she said.

Bailey seeks school board seat

Background

Frommherz is Navajo and was born and raised in Northern Arizona. She joined the Navy out of high school in a bid to earn money for college. During her six-year enlistment, she was an Information Systems Technician, and she served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She ended her naval career as a recruiter.

She said she “fell in love along the way” and married her husband, who was also in the Navy, and the pair started a family. Her husband saw a chance to leave the Navy for the Coast Guard, a move that took the family to Boston. After attending Middlesex Community College, Frommherz was admitted to Tufts University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies–North American Indigenous Studies and her master’s degree.

The family moved to Juneau from Boston in 2014 when her husband was stationed here. She said she was excited about the post because of Juneau’s strong cultural ties to the region’s Indigenous people. It quickly felt like home, she said.

“I walked into the gym at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament and saw so many people who looked like me, and I thought, “I am here. I am settled,’” she said. She added that her family looks forward to the tournament every year.

Her family enjoys ordering from Bistro Delivery, and her children love the porcupine pizza from The Island Pub. Her children’s sporting activities keep the family busy.

Siddon sets sights on second term

About the election

Frommherz is running against four newcomers and one incumbent for one of three open seats.

Other candidates include Elizabeth Siddon, currently the school board president, and newcomers Wiljordon V. Sangster, Ibn Bailey, Thomas Buzard and Aaron Spratt.

The election will take place on Oct. 5 and will be conducted primarily by mail.

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 8

Here’s what to expect this week.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks at the Alaska Democratic Party’s state convention on May 18 at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Peltola among few Democrats to vote for annual defense bill loaded with GOP ‘culture war’ amendments

Alaska congresswoman expresses confidence “poison pills” will be removed from final legislation.

A celebratory sign stands outside Goldbelt Inc.’s new building during the Alaska Native Regional Corporation’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Jan. 4. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Medical company sues Goldbelt for at least $30M in contract dispute involving COVID-19 vaccine needles

Company says it was stuck with massive stock of useless needles due to improper specs from Goldbelt.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 12, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A yearling black bear waits for its mother to return. Most likely she won’t. This time of year juvenile bears are separated, sometimes forcibly, by their mothers as families break up during mating season. (Photo courtesy K. McGuire)
Bearing witness: Young bears get the boot from mom

With mating season for adults underway, juveniles seek out easy food sources in neighborhoods.

A chart shows COVID-19 pathogen levels at the Mendenhall wastewater treatment plant during the past three months. (Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Wastewater Surveillance System)
Juneau seeing another increase in COVID-19 cases, but a scarcity of self-test kits

SEARHC, Juneau Drug have limited kits; other locations expect more by Saturday.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters during a news conference Feb. 7. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy picks second ex-talk radio host for lucrative fish job after first rejected

Rick Green will serve at least through Legislature’s next confirmation votes in the spring of 2025.

A used gondola being installed at Eaglecrest Ski Area may not begin operating until 2027, according to Goldbelt Inc. President and CEO McHugh Pierre, whose company is providing $10 million for installation costs. (Eaglecrest Ski Area photo)
Eaglecrest Ski Area gondola may not open until 2027 due to CBJ delays, Goldbelt CEO says

Agreement with city allows Goldbelt to nix $10M deal if gondola doesn’t open by May 31, 2028.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, June 11, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read