Former Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop named state education commissioner

a woman standing in front of a building
Deena Bishop stands outside an Anchorage School District office in September 2020. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

The Alaska Board of Education and Early Development has selected Deena Bishop as the state’s new education commissioner. Bishop will officially begin her role on Aug. 9. 

The board on Wednesday unanimously approved Bishop, who previously served as the superintendent of the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna school districts. 

Bishop has worked in education in Alaska since 1991, and also served on the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 2015 to 2019. 

“We are excited to bring Dr. Bishop on board for the commissioner position,” Board Chair James Fields said in a statement. “She has a strong passion and dedication to improving outcomes for all students.” 

The board had appointed Susan McKenzie to serve as education commissioner in February of this year, but McKenzie declined. 

Bishop takes over for Heidi Teshner, who has been the acting commissioner since Michael Johnson resigned from the position in June 2022. 

Bishop holds a Ph.D. in learning assessment and system performance. She retired last summer as superintendent of the Anchorage School District, the largest district in the state. She went on to work as a special assistant to Dunleavy on education issues. Dunleavy must approve her appointment as education commissioner.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed McKenzie as commissioner in February, but the board of education made the appointment.

Tim Rockey is the producer of Alaska News Nightly and covers education for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at or 907-550-8487. Read more about Tim here

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