Principal’s Corner

Students and Parents,

First of all thank you all for your patience and flexibility this year.  This letter finds its way to you a few weeks later than I would normally send it.  I am a little bit behind the curve and will eventually get caught up! 

On behalf of our staff and the Academic Policy Committee, I would like to welcome you to Fireweed Academy.  Over the years, our school has taken pride in providing a unique educational program that makes our school special.  We strive to provide a learning environment in school and through remote learning that develops a community of learners through our focus on the school’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values:

  • Constructivism: learning that is constructed through experience and experimentation, rather than just acquiring it through lecture and rote memorization.
  • Project Based Learning
  • Theme Immersion: providing an in-depth study of questions and subjects.
  • Multi-level groups: including age groups, to best provide for the needs of each individual student.

As we begin this challenging new school year, we will be welcoming new staff and reconnecting with our returning staff! 

This year, we welcome one new classroom teacher to our school.  At Little Fireweed, Erin Pollock is our new Kindergarten teacher.  Raised in Hatcher’s pass, Erin is a true Alaskan having grown up in a cabin without running water or electricity.  She is a perfect fit for Fireweed, having earned a degree in Outdoor Studies.  Did I mention she also plays the ukulele?  Erin will be working along side Sam Kirby, Mo Wilkinson, Kara Bakken-Clemens and Sharlyn Young.  At Big Fireweed, Shannon Riley is joining the team as our new resource teacher.  Some of you are already familiar with Shannon, who worked at Fireweed a few years ago as our Interventionist.  She has returned to our school after having taught two years with the North Slope Borough School District.  Shannon will be working side by side with our returning staff: Katherine Gustafson, Jon Kulhanek, Stephanie Zuniga, Carolyn Norton, and Margie Scholl.  Last, but not least, Janet returns as our splendid secretary to help support students, parents, and staff alike.

As with any successful school, we continually seek to improve our academic program, as

well as the school’s cultural environment.  This year, we will continue to implement Restorative Practices in our effort to make sure that every student’s voice is heard while helping to restore relationships and build a community of compassionate kids.  Even with the challenges presented with social distancing, we will continue to support our use of cooperative learning, in which students work with one another to develop their academic and social skills through Kagan Structures.  The use of Kagan Structures require students to be actively engaged in lessons and promote respectful and responsible behaviors that support a safe and positive classroom environment, as they work with partners and teams.

Experience has taught me that having a strong relationship and partnership with parents and students is vital to the success of a school.  We’ll need to get creative in our use of parents volunteers this year.  Hopefully, we will help you identify ways that you will be able to support the school, at school, on field trips, or even in the comfort of your own home.  I am looking forward to meeting and working with you, so that we can build upon the success that Fireweed Academy has enjoyed.    Together, we will continue to offer a unique academic experience for our students, while providing parents with a great choice for their child’s education. 



My Background in Education

I would like to provide you with my background in education.  Since the beginning of my career, I have worked in small schools that serve as an alternative to traditional schools.  My career began at TA Edison Environmental Science Academy in Dallas, Texas.  TA Edison was a magnet school for 7th and 8th grade students which provided students with the opportunity to take an extra science class, that was completely based on hands-on laboratory investigations and project work.  From there, I spent two years in Sand Point, Alaska before making my way to Nome, my home for 17 years.  While in Nome, I worked at Anvil City Science Academy, a charter school that is similar to Fireweed Academy, in its philosophy.  With the help of dedicated staff members, supportive parents, and a lot of hard work, we were able to expand the program over time, not only in terms of the number of students/families served but also in the rich and varied curriculum we provided.  I am extremely proud of my work there and I am eager to bring my experience and enthusiasm to Fireweed Academy.


Parents and guardians,

School safety is a top priority in the KPBSD. It’s important for you to know what to do before, during, and after a school emergency, weather related delay start, or school closure. Please visit this webpage to familiarize yourself with A.L.I.C.E., KPBSD emergency terms and actions, and how to learn if there will be a two-hour delay start or school closure. Click here for more info:

► If school remains open due to adverse weather, and you as a parent or guardian assess the conditions in your local area and decide to keep children home, please call the school to let the office know. An absence due to road and weather conditions will be excused.