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10 teachers will leave UCSD this summer; almost all vacancies have been filled

Unalaska City School District high school
Maggie Nelson
Unalaska City School District's high school building on Broadway Ave.

The Unalaska City School District has filled nearly all vacant teaching positions for next school year.

Ten teachers are leaving the district this summer. Superintendent Jim Wilson said eight out of nine vacancies have been filled, and one position has been eliminated because student enrollment is down.

At a school board meeting last week, Wilson credited Principals Ryan Humphrey and Cheri Tremarco for leading the district’s hiring efforts.

“Hiring is not easy in this climate. It's not easy at all,” said Wilson. “There's a nationwide shortage of teachers. They did a phenomenal job.”

Earlier this month, school board members approved an increase to the salary schedule that’ll raise pay for teachers coming with out-of-state experience. The goal is to help the district compete for in-demand teachers.

Humphrey, the high school principal, said the pay bump may have already helped fill some positions.

“It maybe put the final lockdown, I guess you might say, on one [hire], at least that I can think of,” said Humphrey.

The salary schedule increase will also raise pay for four teachers who joined the district this school year.

The teachers leaving this year are kindergarten teacher Jolie Norman; second grade teacher Micki Adgate; third grade teacher Sharon O’Malley, who is retiring; fourth grade teacher Mary Heimes; fifth and sixth grade teachers Rachel Peter and Teresa Worthy; junior high English teacher Dan Smith; high school language arts teacher Lauren Crosby; high school science teacher Steven Gregory, who is retiring; and music teacher Justin Martin.

At last week’s meeting, Wilson told the school board that special education aides Maria Simbajon and Katie Bagley are also leaving, as well as Technology Coordinator Brenden McEldery.

McEldery is leaving this summer for a higher-paying job in town, and Wilson asked board members to consider increasing the pay for the coordinator position.

“Having somebody that can manage our technology is critical,” said Wilson. “I’m anxious to hear the board's thoughts on the matter.”

The school board’s next meeting is April 19.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
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