Superintendent of the Year

Each year, the Alaska Superintendent of the Year selection committee accepts nominations from school board members, parents, colleagues, community members and/or anyone who has personal knowledge of an Alaska superintendent’s performance and qualifications.

The selection committee evaluates the nominations on the following criteria:

  • state level involvement to promote education
  • leadership role(s) on state level committees
  • well established in current superintendency
  • demonstrated leadership within the professional organization
  • evidence of district level improvements
  • identifiable broad level of support

-Past awardees can be found here.-



Stewart McDonald Named 2017 Alaska Superintendent of the Year

The Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA) is honored to announce Kodiak Island Borough School District Superintendent, Stewart McDonald, as Alaska’s 2017 Superintendent of the Year.  The Superintendent of the Year program, now in its 31st year, pays tribute to a school system’s top leader who exemplifies effectiveness, knowledge, leadership, ethics, and commitment.

Superintendent McDonald is in his ninth year as Superintendent of the Kodiak Island Borough School District. During these years, Mr. McDonald has provided exceptionally

visionary leadership for the district and has contributed to statewide efforts for the good of students and K-12 education. He is knowledgeable and insightful regarding all aspects of K-12 instruction.

Superintendent Sean Dusek, ASA President shared these words, “I am very proud of Mr. McDonald for earning this award.  He has grown so much over the years since I worked with him at Soldotna Middle School.  He is an innovator and deep thinker and truly cares for all children.  It has been a great pleasure to work with him over these many years and I am very excited that he is the state superintendent of the year!  Congratulations Stewart!”

Dr. Michael Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development added his compliments, “Congratulations to Stewart McDonald and congratulations to Kodiak for having such a fine leader.  Mr. McDonald’s leadership and innovation is worthy of this recognition.  His skill and vision makes a difference for all of Alaska’s students.”

Within the district, Superintendent McDonald has undertaken and achieved many

initiatives. Some of his many achievements include:

  • Re-inventing technology in terms of access and learning across the district. As a result, KIBSD was recently presented with an Apple distinguished program award.
  • Budget process redesign by bringing transparency and openness to the budget process, and installing a three-year budgeting picture that takes into account the audit of the previous year, the outlook for the coming year, and the operations of the current year.
  • Initiating the Kodiak Workforce Regional Advisory Committee in response to

feedback received from the Kodiak community regarding their concern

for career preparation. Superintendent McDonald took strong leadership in

initiating, organizing, and gaining authority for the Kodiak Workforce Regional Advisory Committee.

  • Focusing on arts and creative learning opportunities for students when

families in the small Kodiak Rural Schools made known their desire for music

instruction for their children. Superintendent McDonald provided leadership in

the establishment of a virtual instruction program in music. Students in rural

schools now have the opportunity to learn string, wind or percussion

instruments and the program has been recognized in the state and nationally.

  • Encouraging student leadership by initiating a student leadership program that includes the long established student representative to the Board of Education, as well as a page program that involves elementary and middle school students in the Board’s

regular meetings.

  • Broad and ongoing community engagement by maintaining contact with the

broad base of the Kodiak Island community. He meets with local tribal councils, the Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA), the Alaska Association of Latin American Women (ALMA), the Philippino-American organization, the Multicultural Forum and rural communities.

  • Partnering with Trillium Learning and programming of World Bridge

Projects in order to provide students with the opportunity to work with the Global

Earthquake Forecasting Project in partnership with NASA. Students presented their project at the NASA-Europa Challenge in Como, Italy in the summer of 2015. At this event, Kodiak High School students competed with university and corporate research teams and were awarded first place. They were the first high school team to ever participate in the challenge.

Superintendent McDonald’s primary focus is always students. His theme question when

confronting any circumstance is always “Given what we have, in what ways can we make

this work for kids?” He has brought instructional programs and practices forward as the

primary business of the district.

Superintendent McDonald is an energetic, professional, and fully involved member of ASA. As well as serving as an active board member of ASA, he serves on the advisory board for SERRC and has been designated to the State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

ASA will advance Superintendent McDonald’s candidacy to the 2017 National Superintendent of the Year program knowing that he is highly respected by his colleagues, board members and constituents throughout Alaska.  All State Superintendents of the Year will be honored in March at the 2017 AASA National Conference on Education in New Orleans, Louisiana.

For more information:  Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, ASA Executive Director, 907.586.9702 or

To interview Superintendent McDonald directly please call 907-481-6200.