Dusek named new superintendent

Interim superintendent Sean Dusek will assume the superintendent of schools position on July 1, 2015.

The Board of Education voted unanimously to offer the job to the 22-year Kenai Peninsula Borough School District veteran following public interviews Tuesday.

“It is very humbling,” Dusek said. “I arrived in this district 24 years ago and never dreamed of being in this position.”

The school board also conducted an interview with Kimberly Bergey, who is currently fills the role of principal, teacher and test coordinator in the Iditarod Area School District, and was previously Superintendent of Schools in the Denali Borough School District.

Both candidates were given the same set of questions, which included two 20-minute periods to answer eight “prompts.” They were then asked three questions given during the interviews by the school board with five minutes to answer each.

The school board received public feedback following the two interviews and also incorporated the results of a survey conducted by the school district that asked Kenai Peninsula community members to weigh in on what traits they want in a superintendent, said school board president Joe Arness.

The school board will sit down with Dusek during a to-be-scheduled work session to negotiate the terms of his contract, Arness said.

The salary will be between $140,000 and $165,000 annually, according to the application advertisement released by the school district.

Montana’s Eureka Public School District Superintendent James Mepham and Idaho’s McCall-Donnelly School District former Superintendent Glen Szymoniak were also selected by the school board as potential candidates for the position during a Feb. 16 meeting. 

“The district did not take any action and the other two candidates contacted the district independently and withdrew from the process,” said school district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff.

During his interview Dusek discussed his long history with the school district. He has worked as the principal of Soldotna High School, which he called one the Kenai Peninsula’s “flagship schools,” and as the director of secondary education before taking the position of assistant superintendent of instruction in 2009.

Dusek has held the interim superintendent position with the school district for 75 days.

“I have been doing this job for a little while, and have been getting a good taste of it,” Dusek said.

There will be some immediate challenges to address as he remains interim superintendent and assumes the superintendent position, specifically the state’s fiscal climate, Dusek said.

“There are going to be some difficult decisions,” he said.

Dusek said he is looking forward to working with the school district’s high quality faculty and staff. He said he hopes to live up to his predecessors, including Dr. Steve Atwater who stepped down in December.

Kelly Sullivan is a reporter at the Peninsula Clarion.