Superintendent’s Corner

July 2nd 2018

Dear Galena City School District (GCSD) Families and Community Members:

As many of you have heard, the GCSD School Board hired me, effective yesterday, as GCSD’s superintendent for at least the next three years. As I begin my journey supporting and advising the Board in its visionary leadership of GCSD, I want to thank the Board for this opportunity to partner with them and with all GCSD stakeholders as we collectively provide our students the support and education needed for lifelong success in the 21st century. And on behalf of the district for which he served for over 20 years, I want to thank former superintendent Chris Reitan for his diligent efforts as a GCSD teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. And now a little about my family and me …

A lifelong Alaskan (born in Juneau), I have commercial fished in Bristol Bay for the past 33 summers. I graduated from Dillingham High School in 1988 and earned my bachelor’s degree in Modern European History from Harvard College in 1993. After a year as a private investigator/paralegal, I received my teaching certification from UAF in 1995 and my master’s degree in Educational Leadership & School Development from Cambridge University in 1996. I then taught social studies for four years at Pacific Northern Academy in Anchorage before moving across town to Grace Christian School where I served as the secondary school administrator for five years. After that, my time as the administrator of Chief Paul Memorial School in Kipnuk (on the Bering Sea coast) was cut short after a semester as the then newly-elected Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell asked me to be his Chief of Staff. After moving to Juneau and helping launch the new Palin/Parnell administration, I resigned and moved back to Anchorage to be closer to extended family (my parents and my three brothers and their families). In fall 2008, I joined the GCSD team as the site. administrator of the Anchorage IDEA office. In March 2015, I finished a five-year stint volunteering on the Alaska State Board of Education & Early Development (two years as Chair). In May 2015, I received from UAA my superintendent’s certification.

My wife of 25 years, Deb, and I excitedly moved to GCSD headquarters in Galena two years ago with our three youngest … Annika just graduated, Carlee is a junior, and Caedon is a freshman (Dalan is studying mechanical engineering at UAA). Deb, a certificated teacher, has homeschooled our kids through IDEA for many years. One of the reasons that I joined the GCSD team and have stayed onboard for the past decade is because of GCSD’s longstanding statewide reputation as a leader in providing school choice opportunities of excellence. GCSD is well known as one of Alaska’s most innovative and healthy school districts. Honored to have been part of the excellence for the past decade, I look forward to what we’ll be able to accomplish together in the next years.

Please feel free to call or email with anything at any time.

Respectfully yours,

Jim Merriner, GCSD Superintendent


Letters from the Superintendent

July 2018 Parent Letter (Galena) 07/02/2018
 April 2018 Parent and Community Member Letter 02/23/2018
 February 2018 Parent Letter 02/23/2018
January 2018 Parent Letter 01/26/2018
 December 2017 Parent Letter 12/15/2017
November 2017 Parent Letter 11/21/2017
GCSD October 2017 Parent Letter 10/05/2017
September 5 2017 Stakeholder Strategic Plan Letter and Draft 2018-20 Strategic Plan 09/05/2017
 GCSD August 2017 Parent Letter 08/12/2017
 GCSD May 2017 Family Letter 05/12/2017
 GCSD April 2017 Family Letter 04/24/2017
 GCSD Strategic Plan Stakeholder Survey Letter 04/17/2017
 March 2017 Parent Letter 03/21/2017
 February 2017 Parent Letter 02/20/2017
 January 2017 Parent Letter 01/20/2017
 December 2016 Parent Letter 12/19/2016
 November 2016 Parent Letter 11/18/2016
 October 2016 Parent Letter 10/20/2016
 September 2016 Parent Letter 09/15/2016