The Nome Public Schools Board of Education met in special session on Monday night, October 8, to interview candidates for the open seat on the School Board.
The five candidates interviewed were Bertha Koweluk, Anna Ashenfelter, Darlene Trigg, Ralph Ray, and Taylen Green.
In total, seven detailed questions were asked of the candidates. The board rotated the order in which the applicants answered the questions so as to make sure everyone had to answer first at least once.
Candidates emphasized the importance of considering different learning styles and teaching in culturally relevant ways as a way of addressing the achievement gap. Koweluk highlighted that there are “many reasons kids fall through the cracks” and that the board needs to “work with kids” who may exhibit poor performance in school because of troubles at home.
Candidates were also asked how teachers can be better trained to understand local culture, language, and historical trauma in Nome. Green emphasized how activities like potlucks and outside time with elders can allow teachers to learn about culture and language in a firsthand way.
Trigg answered with what training she’d like to see, saying, “talking a little about our indigenous values of the region… how those might be different than the values we were raised with, and that’s ok — it’s not to say one is better than the other — but that we have to be humble in those moments where we are engaging with someone whose culture is different than our own.”
The Board will vote for the new member Tuesday night at its regular meeting at 5:30 pm in the Nome Elementary School library. The elected member will serve until the next municipal election in October 2019.
Image at top: Exterior of Nome Elementary School, summer 2018. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.
Correction: this story, as first published, misspelled several of the names of the board candidates. The names of Bertha Koweluk and Taylen Green have been corrected.