Resignation Looms for ASD Superintendent

Anchorage School District Superintendent Jim Browder. Photo by Daysha Eaton, KSKA - Anchorage.
ASD Superintendent Jim Browder prepares to make a statement at the early school board meeting Monday. Photo by Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage.

Anchorage School Superintendent Jim Browder is speaking out publicly for the first time about his decision to look for other jobs. After just 8 months with the Anchorage School District, he announced Friday that he might be moving on.

In the email addressed to staff Friday, Browder announced he was considering leaving the district because one of his daughters and young grandson are experiencing severe medical issues and that he believed it was his responsibility to be closer to them in Georgia. Browder commented for the first time on the situation at the early meeting of the Anchorage School Board Monday.

“I’m still the superintendent of schools, and I’m working everyday in the best interest of ASD students, staff and this board and community,” Browder said. “The board and my administration have a shared vision and a strong strategic plan, Destination 2020.”

“Everyone in this administration and this board and this district is committed to the initiatives and goals within Destination 2020.”

The school board learned Friday that he’s in the running for a job in Des Moines, Iowa. School Board President Jeannie Mackie says Browder had alerted the board that he may need to take time off, about a month ago, to take care of ill family members. But it was news to them that he was applying for other jobs.

“So now we’re in a situation where he is pursuing outside employment, and we will deal with that and move forward,” Mackie said.

Mackie says discussions about finding a possible successor will be addressed this week. Browder replaced longtime Superintendent Carol Comeau in July. He was hired after a more than seven-month-long search that cost the district more than $54,000. Despite the news that he may not fulfill his three-year contract, Mackie says he was the right choice.

“Quite a bit of time was spent on the search. We went over a hundred applications. The board personally read each and every application. We had a search firm that assisted us in that, but for the most part, the board really was engaged in that process and we felt that, and we still feel that Dr. Browder was the right choice. He’s been doing a great job leading our district, and we really do hate to see him have to leave early,” Mackie said.

Over the past eight months Browder has helped the district realign curriculum to the common core standards. Browder makes $180,000  a year. He has not yet submitted an official resignation.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.