With Superintendent Shake-up, Parents Curious About Graff
As Browder officially retires, Anchorage parents say they don’t know much about new superintendent
ANCHORAGE - Just hours before Ed Graff was to be named Superintendent of Anchorage Schools on Monday, parents outside North Star Elementary in Midtown said they didn’t know much about the man taking over the city’s schools.
“I don't really know him, it would be good to get some information,” said Lillian Amaktoolik, a mother of three.
Ed Graff is taking over the superintendent position at ASD after Thursday’s announcement that Dr. Jim Browder, who had been the superintendent since July of 2012, was retiring. Browder’s announcement came after he notified the school board in February that family medical issues could require him to leave Alaska, and just weeks after he applied—but was not selected—to be superintendent of schools in Des Moines, Iowa.
But if parents had an opinion about Graff, they said they were glad he was familiar with their schools.
“I don't really like the idea of someone from the outside coming in,” said Daniel Ashcraft, the father of a five-year-old special needs student. “I think they should have a connection with Anchorage, or have gone to school here even, or lived the life of an Alaskan.”
ASD School Board President Jeannie Mackie said she thinks parents have nothing to worry about.
“Ed Graff has been involved in most of our initiatives that we have going, so he's very familiar with the district, what we're doing here, with the community,” she said Monday. “In terms of transition, he has much less of a job than Jim Browder.” Mackie said Browder’s transition took place over four months, as he took over after a long tenure by former superintendent Carol Comeau.
“I think this will be a pretty smooth transition,” he said. “Ed Graff is somebody we know and someone we've been working with.”
The school board will officially give Graff the job Monday night, but it may take some time before he shows the community what kind of superintendent he'll be.