This March 2020 photo shows Juneau's City Hall. It is midway through the week for candidates to file for October's municipal election. Currently, no new filings have been entered since the initial first day filings, but both school board members with their seats opening up for election said they plan to run again in their current positions. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Midweek candidate filing update for this fall’s local election

Both school board members said they plan to file for reelection later this week

It’s midway through the filing period for October’s municipal election, and no new filings have been entered since the first day’s filings. But, both school board members with expiring terms said they plan to run for reelection.

On the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly side of things, Assembly member Carole Triem and Assembly member Wade Bryson have already filed to defend their expiring seats, and Assembly member Greg Smith said he plans to run for reelection but has not yet filed.

The filing period, which runs until July 25, will determine who will be on the ballot for the local election to fill three Assembly seats along with two spots on the Juneau School District Board of Education.

At the end of the mid-week mark, here is what the two school board members with expiring seats said about their plans for reelection.

[Candidates file for this fall’s local election]

School district board clerk and policy committee chair Emil Mackey said he plans to seek reelection for his current position on the school board, but due to a cold, he is holding off on filing until later in the week once he recovers. But, even when talking through a raspy voice and the head fog of DayQuil, his mission and goals if reelected remain clear.

Mackey said he is running again because he thinks that the school district needs to start thinking about its future in the ways it will evolve to fit more student needs, along with how it will sustain the district to financially thrive. He said the first steps include starting community conversations about re-visioning what the district will look like 10 years from now and moving away from past traditional education models to a more modernized system.

“I believe that we have gone as far as we can tweaking the budget, and I believe we have reached a point where we need to completely revise the district to meet post-covid student needs and parental needs for a modern school district,” he said.

He said he thinks a big proponent in the future of education is moving Juneau toward a more blended form of education, meaning using both traditional schooling and online learning as well. By doing so, he said he thinks it will allow students to have more access to grow in their education without having to be “in their seats” to do so.

“Coming out of Covid, where we were forced to use that kind of model, I think we need to utilize and not lose the lessons learned there and get back into seat-time learning because it’s our comfort zone — I think we can move forward,” he said.

He said by increasing support for home school and blended learning, it can open doors for students who are more advanced to “really take off on their own” and allow the teacher in the classroom to focus more attention on students that need their support.

“It disconnects students from the classrooms, but keeps the classroom for students who need the classroom,” he said.

He said that model of learning would also give the potential for the district to expand on the current classes available to a larger number of students without having more teachers to split their time so that teachers can serve both schools, but they don’t necessarily have to be at both schools.

Mackey said he hopes that if reelected, he can open these ideas to the public, and see what both parents and students want for the future of Juneau’s education system.

In an email response to the Empire, Sorensen said she does intend to run for reelection, and will be filing in the latter half of the week. She currently serves as a member of the Juneau School District Board of Education and is the chair of the Program Evaluation Committee. Sorensen requested to speak after her official filing.

The filing period closes at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 25.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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