Superintendent John O’Brien reads to students at Mountain View Elementary. (Photo courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Communications Blog/Pegge Erkeneff)

Superintendent John O’Brien reads to students at Mountain View Elementary. (Photo courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Communications Blog/Pegge Erkeneff)

Superintendent John O’Brien seeking treatment for cancer

The school superintendent was diagnosed with kidney cancer days before spring break.

Superintendent John O’Brien will be taking a leave of absence from his position at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, while he recovers from kidney cancer surgery and treatment.

O’Brien was diagnosed with kidney cancer days before spring break, he said in a letter to the community posted on the school district’s communications blog. Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones will serve as acting superintendent until O’Brien returns.

O’Brien said he’s been out of state receiving medical care and diagnostic testing. On Tuesday, O’Brien said he will undergo surgery and begin treatment.

“I feel blessed that it was caught early and my prognosis is good once surgery and treatment occur,” O’Brien said in the letter. “I am thankful for our incredible Leadership Team which has risen to the occasion and will continue to lead our school district while I focus on my health, treatment, and recovery.”

O’Brien commended district staff for their work for preparing and delivering meals to students and planning remote learning lessons.

“I thank each of you for your courage and resilience during these difficult, trying, and uncertain times,” O’Brien said in his letter. “I wish you all well. We will come out of this stronger and more united than before. Take care of yourselves, your friends, and family.”

On Monday, March 30, students will return to a virtual school, as mandated by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

In an interview with the Clarion Monday, Pegge Erkeneff, director of communications, community, and government relations for the district, expressed support for O’Brien during his cancer treatment.

“Kindly keep him in your thoughts, and be assured that in his absence, your (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District) leadership team is continuing to rise to the occasion of these extraordinary times to deliver education to our youth, and support to our staff and families.”

More in News

Alaska senators break down relief package

Bill passed the Senate on Wednesday, House of Representatives on Friday

Anchorage hospital reports first coronavirus death within Alaska

Alaska Native Medical Center announced the death Friday afternoon

Second Homer resident tests positive for COVID-19

This is Homer’s first case within the city; state total climbs to 102

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a Friday, March 27, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
Shelter in place, in-state travel ban measures announced as COVID-19 cases climb

With the addition of 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and news… Continue reading

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, addresses reporters during a Wednesday, March 25, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
State talks containment, treatment for COVID-19

Total number of COVID-19 cases rises to 59

This 2014 photo shows the South Peninsula Hospital campus in Homer. (Photo courtesy South Peninsula Hospital)
Local hospital update: 37 COVID-19 tests have been performed

19 tests have come back negative; hospital further restricts building access

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the New Hampshire state Democratic Party convention, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Manchester, NH. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Democratic party turns to vote-by-mail primary

All in-person voting scheduled for April 4 has been canceled.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a press conference Thursday, March 26, 2020 in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
State COVID-19 cases climb by 10

State officials are seeking to bolster supplies and infrastructure as the total… Continue reading

Most Read