Remembrance and appreciation at retirement

by Barb Angaiak

Dear LKSD Board, Administration, Staff, Students and Community:

As I near retirement I am reflecting on a long career in the Y-K Delta. I feel fortunate to have worked all these years for a district that made me feel respected and appreciated. Opportunities came my way that were supported by administrators and recognized as being beneficial to far more individuals than myself alone.

My first experience was as a student teacher in the fall of 1980. I was in Goodnews Bay and encountered friendly community members as I worked with students in grades 7 & 8 during the regular day. Eventually, I added teaching guitar to high schoolers and coaching high school girl’s basketball. The beauty of the village and the beauty of those I worked with made me fall in love with a region and population far different from my own background.

Fortunate for me, I taught in Nightmute, Kilbuck and BRHS over the years. With an unbelievably committed staff, I also spent nine summers living, teaching and learning in the Kilbuck Mountains at Nyac. As a state we realized the need to help those starting their careers and I spent three years in the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project. I learned from everyone I encountered and what I gained from knowing my students and young teachers was far more than any curriculum or content I shared with them!

It would be too difficult to name all those who have helped me learn and grow in a profession I love, but there are a few who were key. Mike Smith taught me about compassion and professionalism regardless of what was going on around me. Sue Hare taught me about believing in great ideas and figuring out how to make them happen. Wayne Balliet taught me about high standards and expectations, no matter our location. Gary Baldwin encouraged me to find alternative routes to my interest in leadership and supported my advocacy on behalf of fellow employees. Carlton Kuhns, Josh Gill and Andrea Engbretsen have understood my need to find solutions and allowed me to push even when they disagreed. There are many more colleagues, administrators and students I have learned from along the way.

Most of all, thank you so very much to friends and family members who showed me there were great reasons to keep committed and determined.

I look forward now to finding new explorations and adventures.

You will always be in my heart.

-Barb Angaiak