Candidate for School Board
- Areawide Assembly
- Jeff Jones
- Nano Brooks
- Ella Adkison
- JoAnn Wallace
- Paul Kelly
- Emily Mesch
- Laura Martinson McDonnell
- Ivan Nance
- Michele Stuart-Morgan
- Dorene Lorenz
- District 2 Assembly
- David Morris
- Christine Woll
- School Board
- David Noon
- Britteny Cioni-Haywood
- Paige Sipniewski
- District 1 Assembly
- Alicia Hughes-Skandijs
- Joe Geldhof
Age as of Oct. 3, 2023
Family (immediate/those you live with)
Audrey Noon (17); Orrin Noon (14)
Professor, University of Alaska Southeast
Previous relevant experience or community involvement
Harborview Site Council (2012-2014); UAS Faculty Senate President (2020-2021); UA Faculty Alliance (2019-2022)
Highest level of education
Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Did you attend public school?
Briefly, what do you think is the most important part of K-12 education?
Broadly, K-12 education ought to promote an array of academic skills; support the broadest array of learning styles; and cultivate an atmosphere of fairness, inclusivity, and respect that will serve as a foundation for our students’ lives after we have successfully prepared them for adulthood.
I have lived in Juneau for 21 years. For that entire time, I’ve been teaching American history at the University of Alaska Southeast. I have two children who have been in the district and are in various ways nearing the end of their high school careers, so I’ve had a lot of exposure to the district over the years. I’ve spent some time serving on the site council at Harborview Elementary. At the university, I’ve done some time over the past five years in university governance. I served as faculty senate president at UAS. I also served on the statewide faculty alliance, which is an assembly of officers from all three of the universities, so I’ve had a lot of experience with governance. I’ve, of course, over the years, been increasingly distressed by the state of funding and support for public education. I’m at a point in my career now where I’ve got some time that I can devote to community service and this seemed like a pretty good opportunity to put my name into the hat, so I did.
The biggest challenge right now is obviously the abysmal levels of funding that the district has had to contend with over at least the past decade, if not longer. That’s led to staffing shortages at all levels. It’s overstretched teachers and staff to the point where many of them are leaving or thinking about leaving. They’re at the breaking point or beyond the breaking point. Much of this distress has been created by our political environment. The Legislature has failed to adequately fund education, which is something that the Alaska Constitution requires. We’ve endured a lot of cuts beyond the point at which the district can successfully fulfill its mission to our students, which is the most important job our community has before it. So addressing the funding crisis, resolving the budget deficit is obviously going to be a top priority.
If the school district were to consolidate schools and close certain campuses, what factors do you think district leaders should consider?
I’m not entirely convinced that closing facilities and consolidating them will have the benefits that are often promised. We considered this, for example, at the university level a couple of years ago when we faced extinction-level budgetary vetoes from the governor’s office. There were conversations about shutting down certain campuses or closing off certain facilities, and the numbers never added up. So I think there’s allure to the idea that simply closing facilities and shifting students around will have some kind of benefit, but those facilities have to be maintained. There are costs associated with them even if they were empty.
I think, in my experience as a parent, that the district has a pretty responsive system in place. I get text messages, I get voicemails. As a parent, I appreciate those. We’ve had a few situations lately that fortunately haven’t been momentous but were alarming, and I felt that, as a parent, I’ve been pretty well-informed as to what’s going on. So I don’t have any suggestions for improving those. I feel like it’s working on multiple platforms – email, voice message, texting. So I’m happy with that at the moment but obviously I’m always interested in learning if there’s better ways to do things.
Do you think transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms and play on sports teams that match their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth?
I think that transgender children and all the kids in the district deserve the opportunity to be who they are. I think that there’s reasonable accommodations we can make for students with all kinds of needs. I think there’s a moral panic right now that has been orchestrated nationwide regarding transgender. I don’t think these are issues that need to be distracting us at a moment when we’ve got some pretty severe budgetary problems to be addressed.