New principals will take the helm at Auke Bay and Harborview elementary schools next school year. A committee interviewed five candidates for the roles this week. School officials plan to name the new principals soon. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

New principals will take the helm at Auke Bay and Harborview elementary schools next school year. A committee interviewed five candidates for the roles this week. School officials plan to name the new principals soon. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Principal candidates interview for open jobs

Committee interviews candidates for the top job at Harborview and Auke Bay

After a nationwide search, a panel of school employees and site council members interviewed five finalist candidates for the Harborview and Auke Bay Elementary School principal jobs.

The interviews took place Wednesday morning, and the selection committees met that evening. A final decision is expected “very soon” with a “quick public announcement,” said Tim Bauer, human resources director for the Juneau School District, in a phone interview Thursday morning.

Four of the candidates are currently employees of the Juneau School District, and one is currently working in rural Alaska. Three of the candidates are under consideration for both openings.

The panel asked each candidate the same 12 questions in a round-robin-style interview. A private chat room was set up for the public and committee members to share thoughts on the candidates directly with Bauer’s team.

“It was a good group of candidates,” Bauer said. “It was a diverse group with a lot of experiences. I’m pleased with the pool.”

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After a nationwide search, a panel of school employees and site council members interviewed five finalist candidates for the Harborview and Auke Bay Elementary School principal jobs. Four of the candidates are currently employees of the Juneau School District, and one is currently working in rural Alaska. Three of the candidates are under consideration for both openings. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

After a nationwide search, a panel of school employees and site council members interviewed five finalist candidates for the Harborview and Auke Bay Elementary School principal jobs. Four of the candidates are currently employees of the Juneau School District, and one is currently working in rural Alaska. Three of the candidates are under consideration for both openings. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Meet the candidates

Here’s an overview of each candidate, in the order the committee conducted the interviews:

William Sarandria has worked in education since 2013. He’s been with the Juneau School District since 2015 in a variety of roles, including math teacher and advancement via individual determination elective teacher. He’s currently participating in a one-year principal internship at Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School. Before joining Juneau schools, he was at Bristol Bay Borough School in Naknek.

He holds several degrees, including a master’s in educational leadership and a master’s in the art of teaching, from the University of Alaska Southeast. In addition, he holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Central Queensland University in Australia. He started his career as a personal trainer in Australia.

He told the committee that his time in Naknek helped heighten his awareness of the importance of diversity in education. He said he has a special interest in serving diverse populations and building equity in education.

Kelley Harvey has 22 years of teaching experience in the Juneau School District. In that time, she’s held a variety of roles, including classroom teacher, instructional coach, literacy specialist and literacy leader. She currently works at Harborview, where she is a Title 1 teacher. She’s also served at Gastineau, Riverbend and Mendenhall River Community School. She holds a master’s of education from the University of Alaska Southeast and a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University. She holds several certifications covering a variety of topics. She is a certified Restorative Practices trainer.

She told the committee that she loves Harborview School and wants to continue the good work going on there. “Through my reading work, I’ve provided a lot of professional development and that’s a part that I’ve really enjoyed,” she said.

Kelly Stewart has 20 years of experience in special education. She’s been working in the Juneau School District since 2013. She is currently a special education teacher at Glacier Valley School, where she works with students in kindergarten and first grade. Prior to that, she was a special education teacher in Surprise, Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona. She’s also worked as a paraprofessional for special needs students. She is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and will receive her master’s of educational leadership from the University of Alaska Southeast in June.

“I want to be a fluid part of the school community,” she told the committee. She said she is interested in the principal role as a way to build her own growth, support others and support student achievement.

Sally Benedict is currently a principal in Napakiak, Alaska. She has also served as a principal in Goodnews Bay and as an assistant principal at Nelson Island School in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Prior to working as a school administrator, she was an elementary school teacher in Lansing, Michigan and Detroit Public Schools. She has two bachelor’s degrees—one in liberal arts and one in social studies, both earned at Concordia University. She holds an Elementary School Administration Certificate from the University of Michigan and a master’s of public administration from the University of Michigan. In 2008, she became a board-certified teacher.

She told the committee that she is interested in the Juneau position because it is beautiful yet less remote than her current location. She said that she’s interested in working in a school that serves students from kindergarten to fifth grade. She told the committee that the relationships she develops with her staff are her greatest strength.

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Adriana Northcutt is currently the Assistant Principal at Thunder Mountain High School. Prior to that she taught science and other electives at TMHS and served as the Camp Invention Director and as the director of other science-based camps. She also taught math and science at Floyd Dryden Middle School. She’s coached volleyball, has served as an advisor for many student groups and participated in a variety of training and leadership opportunities, including the Alaska School Leadership Academy and the Our Cultural Landscape program through Sealaska.

She holds a master’s of educational leadership degree from the University of Southeast Alaska and a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University.

“I’m committed to a model of team collaboration and restorative justice practices to help students learn self-regulation practices and self-advocacy skills,” she said.

She told the committee that she’s ready to make the leap from secondary education to elementary school because she sees elementary school as the critical window where students learn important skills that lead to a lifetime of success.

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

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