ANCHORAGE — Joey Kottre is Alaska born and raised. The teacher incorporates Alaska Native culture into each of his lessons.


“If they have a math lesson, the math lesson might be talking about guinea pigs,” Kottre said. “I’ll change it to caribou, something more they can relate to; somehow they connect more to it.”


Kottre grew up with an extended family in Anchorage. His dad was a pilot and it gave him a lot of opportunities to see what village life in Alaska is like.


“Many of these children really have strong connection to nature and their surroundings, especially out in the villages,” Kottre added. “When they come here to the city, they lose a little bit of that. I’m able to bring a little bit of that back to them in classroom.”


Kottre was an airplane mechanic for most of his life and has been teaching at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School for the past six years. His students say it’s his sense of humor and ability to relate to them that make him a great teacher.


“He can relate to our stories from his past and from when he was a kid too,” said Talia Kalei, a sixth-grader at the charter school.


“They are my friends, yet I am their elder,” Kottre said.




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