a woman stands smiling looking to the left, as two seated women look on and applaud in a school library.

Darlene Trigg was sworn in to hold the Nome Board of Education’s fifth seat on Wednesday night at a special session of the Board. Her appointment immediately followed an intense second interview of her and her opponent, fellow finalist Taylen Green. Her nomination received unanimous board approval.

After a rigorous interview of 5 candidates a few weeks ago, the board was split down the middle as to who to appoint to the board: Darlene Trigg or Taylen Green. Wednesday night’s second interview was the tie-breaker, in which each candidate was asked 10 additional questions. The questions ranged from what changes the two women would like to see in the public school system, to their awareness on racial equity issues at play in Nome schools.

Darlene Trigg spoke on racial equity, noting that native people have given up parts of themselves to a system that isn’t theirs. She focused on individual growth:

“I think, to address racial equity in a school system, it’s our job to think about what counts as success. And for each one of us, it’s going to be something different.”

Trigg added that an important step for advancing the Board’s equity framework would be recognizing the legacy of the boarding school era and its effects on native people. She spoke of her hopes for the board as she takes on her role.

“There are so many resources inside this community… and we can really take advantage of bringing those resources to bear for our children, for our future generations. I think there’s a lot of potential there. And I think because the school board has done a lot of work up to this point, we’re at that point where we can really make something meaningful happen for our students.”

Yesterday’s special session followed a work session on Tuesday night. The board discussed their plans on addressing Strategic Plan Goal Number 2, which states “all students will perform at or above grade level in core subjects.” They also discussed the results of the 2017-2018 System for School Success Report.

Superintendent Bill Schildbach had positive thoughts on what was covered at Tuesday’s meeting, and what’s to come.

“Our students from third grade to tenth grade are really making progress, but there’s a compelling need to improve the students’ learning even more. And I was just really thankful to talk to the board about possible plans we can implement to make our students more successful than they already are, so it’s an exciting time.”

One of those possible plans is creating a “solid training plan” for teachers, possibly to take place once a week after an early release for students. According to Schildbach, details of the plan are still in the works, and it probably wouldn’t take place until second semester.

This is something the newly full, five-member board will tackle in the coming months. Darlene Trigg will sit on the Board at its next regular meeting on November 13.

The Nome School Board welcomes its fifth member, Darlene Trigg. From left to right: Darlene Trigg, Nancy Mendenhall, Brandy Arrington, Barb Amarok, and Sandy Martinson. Photo: Katie Kazmierski, KNOM.

Image at top: Darlene Trigg being sworn in as a member of the Nome School Board at the special session of the board on October 24. Photo: Katie Kazmierski, KNOM.