A longtime Alaska educator has been named to a state post overseeing a variety of support services for teachers and educational institutions.

Tamara Van Wyhe, most recently superintendent of the Copper River School District including Glennallen, became director Wednesday of the state Division of Educator and School Excellence, according to a statement from the Department of Education and Early Development. Several teams at the division work statewide in the fields of school health and safety, teacher certification and preparation, and school improvement efforts.

“The director will be heavily involved in engagement with the University of Alaska to forge partnerships focused on preparing, attracting, and retaining effective education professionals in Alaska,” state officials wrote. “Additionally, the director represents the division before the Alaska State Legislature and the State Board of Education and Early Development.”

Education Commissioner Michael Johnson, who has been retained in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration from his service under predecessor Bill Walker, had high praise Wednesday for Van Wyhe.

“Tammy is a tireless advocate for students and will serve the department well,” Johnson said in the statement. “She has a teacher’s heart and knows how students learn and how effective teachers teach. She is relentlessly committed to raising student achievement, and has demonstrated repeatedly that she has the character needed for leadership.”

Van Wyhe, who is state-certified as both a teacher and administrator, has spent more than 20 years teaching in Alaska. She will begin her work as director immediately.

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