Ketchikan school board to resume evaluating superintendent after 3-month pause

Ketchikan High School (KRBD file photo)

Ketchikan’s school board will resume its evaluation of the district’s superintendent on Tuesday, and they’re opening that meeting up to public testimony on her performance.

Ketchikan school superintendent Beth Lougee faced criticism from Alaska Native leaders during the first phase of the routine, twice-yearly performance review in December.

The now-president of Ketchikan Indian Community’s Tribal Council, Gloria Burns, testified that Native teachers and staff weren’t given the resources to adequately do their jobs. KIC’s council later issued an unprecedented statement saying the body had “no confidence” in Lougee as superintendent.

After a lengthy closed-door session, the school board president said the body would commission a community survey on Lougee’s performance and reconvene at a later date to complete the evaluation. But the board was unable to complete the review after Lougee went on bereavement and medical leave following the death of her husband and a subsequent battle with COVID-19. She returned to the office last week.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District Superintendent Beth Lougee. (Courtesy Beth Lougee)

Lougee has so far been silent on the proceedings. She did not respond to requests for comment by phone and email Monday.

Lougee’s contract stipulates that if the board finds her performance unsatisfactory, they must give her a detailed list of grievances and recommendations for improvement. Lougee would need to respond in 10 days.

Ketchikan’s school board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Ketchikan High School library. The board will likely recess into closed session for the bulk of that meeting. That’s in line with its policy — the school board doesn’t generally discuss personnel issues in public.

Unlike most other meetings, the evaluation will not be available on TV or live-streamed by Ketchikan’s borough — the high school library doesn’t have the right equipment. KRBD plans to live-stream public portions of the meeting on its Facebook page and post an audio recording at KRBD.org the following day.

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