Service High principal placed on administrative leave amid ‘community concerns’

A sign says Anchorage School District.
The Anchorage School District Education Center street sign. (Mayowa Aina/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage School District placed Service High School principal Allen Wardlaw on administrative leave Wednesday, according to an email sent to families. 

The district has begun an “investigation into community concerns” about Wardlaw, according to the email, signed by Kersten Johnson-Struempler, the district’s senior director of secondary education. Johnson-Struempler’s message did not elaborate on the circumstances of Wardlaw’s leave.

“We understand you have many questions,” the email said. “As we work through this matter, we will provide updates in a timely manner when we can. Because this is a personnel matter, we can’t comment further at this time.”

Wardlaw was hired by the school district in 2015. He was a teacher and assistant principal at Clark Middle School before moving to Service where he became the principal in 2021, according to district spokesperson Lisa Miller.

Miller said the district could not comment on the nature of the concerns linked to Wardlaw, saying it’s a “personnel matter.”  She said leadership held an emergency meeting Wednesday about Wardlaw, and began the investigation.

Imtiaz Azzam, listed as one of Service High’s assistant principals, has been named acting principal.

Alaska Public Media’s Tim Rockey contributed to this report.

Kavitha George is Alaska Public Media’s climate change reporter. Reach her at Read more about Kavitha here.

Previous articlePet arrives home, dog-tired, after Alaska sea-ice odyssey
Next articleAlaska News Nightly: Wednesday, April 12, 2023