Homer High School Principal Allan Gee has announced that he will leave the school — and the state — at the end of this school year.
Gee, who has been at the Homer High since the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, cited the health of his wife, Gwenn Gee, as a major reason for the decision.
“Two years ago, my wife was diagnosed with ‘cold urticaria,’ which is causing extreme allergies resulting in repeated anaphylactic reactions which have restricted or stopped her breathing on several occasions,” Gee told the Homer News.
Repeated attempts to resolve the symptoms with medication have been unsuccessful and it has been advised she needs to be in a warmer climate.
Gee has applied for jobs in Florida, Georgia and Texas, but nothing has been finalized.
“The job market is much tougher in the Lower 48, so it will take time,” he said. “However, I know I am making the right decision and it will work out.”
Between 2007 and 2009, Gee was principal of Centerville Elementary School in Snellville, Ga., a K-5 school with 850 students. Prior to that, he had been assistant principal at Richards Middle School in Lawrenceville, Ga., since 2003.
Homer was not Gee’s first Alaska experience. He was principal of Wainwright-Alak School in Wainwright from August 1997-June 1999 and principal of Kodiak Middle School from August 1999-June 2003.
Gee earned a bachelor of education degree from North Georgia College and State University in June 1993, and received a masters of education from the University of Georgia in June 1996. He earned a doctorate of education, educational leadership, through Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in December 2008.
At Homer High School, Gee replaced Rayna Duenas, who served at HHS principal for the 2008-2009 school year.
Among his accomplishments while in Homer, Gee noted working with the HHS site council and faculty to set higher expectations by eliminating Ds for academic credit, something he considered a challenge, as well as a great opportunity for the school’s 378 students.
“As I always remind our students, my goal is to have every Homer High student graduate with access to the Alaska Performance Scholarship,” said Gee. “In raising the bar, currently 80 percent of our Class of 2013 (is) eligible for the scholarship. I am hopeful they will maintain their grades through this semester so they have the option to use these funds for college or vocational training.”
Gee had high praise for the school’s student body.
“Every opportunity I get, I share with various groups that Homer High has the best kids in the state as demonstrated with HHS being ranked second out of 288 high schools in the state of Alaska by U.S. News and World Report, and a graduation rate of 91 percent,” he said.
He has challenged this year’s graduating class to be the first group with 100 percent graduation rate.
“I’m not certain this will happen, but they will be close,” he said.
Gee also expressed appreciation for local support.
“Regarding community support, the amount of fundraising required for our student athletes to participate in high school sports is challenging for a small community,” he said. “However, our parents and the south peninsula community always pull together to support our students and it is much appreciated.”
With the search underway to find a new Homer High School principal, Gee offered his replacement some words of advice.
“When possible, take the time to listen and solicit advice from your teachers, students and parents to gain their perspectives and include them in the decision-making process,” he said.
“However, once the decisions are finalized, be consistent with the implementation and enforcement of the policies and procedures, knowing there will always be opposing viewpoints.”
Looking back on his Alaska experience, Gee said, “As a family, we have enjoyed living in Homer for the past four years and will leave with fond memories, lasting friendships, and our lives have been enriched by having experience the ‘Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea.’”
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has set the following schedule for finding a new principal for the school:
April 4: Community input meeting, 4 p.m.
April 29: Candidate interviews.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.