By Ashlyn O’Hara
Beverley Romanin is Sterling and Funny River’s new representative on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education following her appointment to the seat last week by board members. That seat became open following the resignation of Jennifer Waller, who was elected to the position in 2021.
Applications for the seat were accepted from Sept. 13 through Sept. 26 and also came from Benjamin Miller, Leslie Morgan and Pegge Erkeneff. Candidates were interviewed and considered by the board of education during a private session held in a special meeting on Oct. 3. Romanin’s oath of office was administered during the same special meeting.
Romanin holds a Bachelor of Science from Arkansas Tech University, a Master of Science from National University and an educational doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. She has previously worked as an assistant superintendent, a junior/senior high school principal, a long-term substitute teacher, an assistant principal and a classroom teacher at K-12 schools around the United States.
Romanin has also worked in various capacities in higher education, including as a doctoral committee member at the University of Oklahoma and an adjunct professor at both National University and Southern Arkansas University. That’s in addition to experience with the Arkansas and Tennessee departments of education and as an associate director for Modern Red SchoolHouse, a nonprofit through which she assisted schools in 25 states with improvement strategies.
Romanin said Tuesday it is that robust background in education that she hopes can benefit KPBSD in her capacity as a board member and partially inspired her to apply for the vacancy.
“I just felt that I had all this knowledge and I just felt like I could do something with it,” Romanin said.
Romanin relocated to the peninsula about three years ago with her husband, who she said has always wanted to live in Alaska. She said they both fell in love with the state after she spent time working at an elementary school in Fairbanks, but it took a while to make the move. Her roots are in Arkansas, where she lived for 45 years.
Among KPBSD’s challenges, she said, is the size and diversity of the network of schools. She said she’s a longtime advocate of rural schools and would like to know more about the support KPBSD’s smaller schools receive. Romanin’s two areas of interest are literacy and career and technical education.
“Even though I was a science teacher, I think I learned so much about literacy because I had students that couldn’t read,” Romanin said. “Well, if they can’t read, it’s real hard to teach them science and I think that’s true with every subject at the secondary level.”
It’s literacy and vocational opportunities that Romanin said attracted her to the school board’s vacancy, as those are both priorities that have been articulated by the district as well.
Also important, she said, is creative thinking when it comes to recruiting and retaining school staff. Like districts around the United States, KPBSD is experiencing a teacher shortage that is exacerbated by Alaska’s lack of Social Security and pension benefits for teachers.
Romanin said she’s looking forward to sitting down with KPBSD Superintendent Clayton Holland and visiting schools to get a better understanding of the work happening there.
“There’s a lot of great things already going on within the district and within the schools, but I’m just not sure what all those great things are yet and what we’re missing,” Romanin said.
Ultimately, Romanin said her priority is ensuring equal opportunities for all students, regardless of what kind of school they go to. She said she’s data-driven, willing to think outside the box to find solutions to problems and described herself as a “team player.” A school board is most effective, she said, when its members work together.
“We need to make sure that all kids have an opportunity to grow and to learn and do what we have to do to make that happen,” Romanin said.
Romanin will serve on the school board until the borough’s next regular election, when candidates will be able to run for the seat.
Her full resume and other school board documents can be found on the district’s BoardDocs page at go.boarddocs.com/ak/kpbsd/Board.nsf/Public.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.