Unalaska City School New Staff Profiles: An Introduction

Oct 7, 2019
UCSD Photojournalism Class

With our island’s stark coastline, whipping wind and ever varying weather, Unalaska undeniably attracts a variety of groups of people. People who, in many cases, dare to leave everything they know in pursuit of the unknown; who dare to see the beauty in intensity, and the freedom in isolation.  The island itself shapes our staff into the dream team of nomads, artists, and explorers.  So how does one get here, to an isolated and unknown island in Alaska?

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Unalaska's teachers have negotiated a new contract for the next three years.

Superintendent John Conwell said the teachers union and school district negotiated the contract in only a day and a half.

"Teams representing the Unalaska Education Association and the Unalaska City School District met on Aug. 28 and 29 to negotiate the terms and conditions of the teachers collective bargaining agreement," said Conwell at the Sept. 12 school board meeting. "The UEA met and ratified the new negotiated agreement on Sept. 5, 2019."

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Enrollment at the Unalaska City School District is off to a strong start with 408 students. 

That's according to Superintendent John Conwell, who made the announcement last week at the school board's first session of the new school year.

"The count period is in October," said Conwell. "I'm really happy with where we're at with our enrollment."

The number of students during the annual count determines how much state funding the district receives.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

With one week until classes start, Unalaska's teachers are back at school Monday, training and preparing their classrooms.

Superintendent John Conwell said the Unalaska City School District has filled all eight of its teacher vacancies. That includes the high school science position, which David Gibson resigned over the summer to accept a job with Unalaska's Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)

State ferries resumed sailing Sunday after an 11-day strike that affected thousands of travelers and freight shipments across Alaska.

That includes all passengers booked on last week's M/V Tustumena run between Homer and Unalaska, which was canceled due to the strike.

"Unfortunately, we did have two teachers and their families planning to take the ferry," said Superintendent John Conwell of the Unalaska City School District.