Assistant principal promoted at Homer High

With current Homer High School principal Dr. Allan Gee leaving the school at the end of this school year, a new principal has been selected. Doug Waclawski, the school’s assistant principal since 2010, will become the school’s principal for 2013-2014.

“This is the best school in the state of Alaska,” Waclawski told the Homer News about his interest in becoming the school’s top administrator. “It is Homer’s best kept secret.”

Waclawski’s vision is to “create a world-class school by creating a culture of learning with the support of students, staff and the community.”

Originally from Kalkaska, Mich., Waclawski earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with minors in math and science, from Northern Michigan University in 1993. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., in 2001. 

He spent three years teaching sixth grade in Winslow, Ariz., and 12 years teaching math, science and technology in grades K-12 in Vanderbilt Area School in Vanderbilt, Mich. While at Vanderbilt, Waclawski implemented a high school portfolio program, as well as wrote, received and managed more than 25 grants. 

In 2002, Waclawski was named the “outstanding person in education” at the Vanderbilt Area School. In 2003, he received the “AID Unsung Heroes Award” and grant. From 2002-2004, he also was an online high school math and science teacher for the Michigan Virtual High School in Lansing, Mich.

Waclawski was principal-teacher at Razdolna School for three years, beginning in 2007, before becoming Homer High’s assistant principal in 2010.

Among his accomplishments at Razdolna, Waclawski said he successfully managed the school’s growing staff and student population, collaborated with the community to solve inadequate spacing issues and saw the school achieve adequate yearly progress. 

During the spring break of his last year at Razdolna, Waclawski attended the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ 89th annual conference in Houston, Texas. While there, he participated in NAESP’s community service day by working at a Spanish immersion school. While there, he found similarities to Razdolna.

“I have always known that having sound language skills in one’s native language helps students learn English and other subjects better, but it was great to actually see it in action,” Waclawski told the Homer News at the time.

During his three years at Homer High School, Waclawski initiated the “Raising the Bar” initiative by increasing passing grades to 70 percent, and helped decrease discipline incidents and improved student attendance.

In addition to teaching and serving as school administrators, Waclawski has held a number of leadership positions. Since coming to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, he worked on a laptop initiative pilot program for Razdolna, served on the district’s performance-based education leadership committee, participated in the district’s teacher evaluation pilot program and, this year, was a member of the district’s administrator evaluation committee and co-chair of the Homer High School accreditation team.

Locally, Waclawski has volunteered with HoPP (Homer Playground Project) and volunteered with and been a den leader for Boy Scouts of America. He also is a former Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor and has been active with Habitat for Humanity.

Waclawski is one of several in his family to have chosen education as a career.

“My dad taught fifth grade for 30 years in Kalkaska, Mich.,” he said. “My sister teaches kindergarten in West Virginia. My brother teaches college in Mesa Community College. My uncle was Michigan’s science teacher of the year.”

In addition, his wife of 19 years, Michele, is an adjunct instructor at Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College-University of Alaska Anchorage, and a communications consultant.

The couple has two children. Their daughter, Aurora, is in the ninth grade and their son, Denver, is in the seventh grade.

“I will enjoy being at HHS as my kids go through high school,” Waclawski said. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to see my kids grow up right where I work.”

With Waclawski as principal, the assistant principal position is now open and posted on the district website’s employment opportunities,

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.