Homer Alaska - Schools

Story last updated at 9:47 PM on Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New principals selected for southern peninsula

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff writer

Openings created by the resignation of Ninilchik School Principal Terry Martin and the retirement of Chapman School Principal Sharon Trout have been filled and approved by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board.

Jeffrey Ambrosier will leave his post as teacher-principal of Aleknagik North Shore School, a K-8 school in the Southwest Region School District, May 24 in order to make an early appearance attending commencement ceremonies at Ninilchik School.

"I think it's important to not only be there to see the community as they go through (commencement), but also to get a feel for how they go about it," Ambrosier told the Homer News.

Not a newcomer to the area, Ambrosier has been fishing in Ninilchik many times. The May arrival offers an opportunity for him and his partner, Elise Spofford, to look for housing before traveling to Minnesota for another change in their lives: the birth of their first child, due in July.

Spofford is a yoga and massage therapist who also has taught English in Japan.

Originally from Colorado, Ambrosier earned a bachelor of science in biology, with a concentration in marine biology, from Oregon State University in 1992.

He has a secondary science certificate from Colorado State University and earned an Alaska State Type B certificate and master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Alaska Southeast in 2010.

Ambrosier taught high school science for Dillingham City Schools from 2002-2006, was lead instructor at the Bristol Bay Salmon Camp from 2004-2006 and spent the 2006-2007 school year teaching eighth-grade science and reading at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington, N.M.

"I was just there one year. I went down there and, boy, Alaska was in my blood," said Ambrosier, laughing.

In 2007, he was back in Alaska as the principal-teacher at Aleknagik, where he will remain until coming to Ninilchik later this month.

"There were just a couple of districts I was interested in work- ing for and the Kenai Peninsula district was the best school district to work for. It has solid leadership, an outstanding record of student performance as well as a high level of extra-curricular activities," said Ambrosier.

"Because we're starting a family this summer, I wanted to be in the best place I could be professionally and for my family."

Conrad Woodhead comes to Chapman School after serving as assistant principal for the Unalakleet Schools in the Bering Strait School District since 2007.

"The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has a great reputation and a lot of desirable communities," Woodhead told the Homer News.

"Anchor Point is definitely one that has been on my list for quite some time as far as interest goes."

Although Woodhead was raised in Oregon, his grandmother was born and raised on St. Paul Island.

"I'm a generation removed," he said of his Alaska roots.

"I decided to come (to Alaska) for the adventure and the outdoors and, in my own way, to give back and teach in a predominantly Native village. I feel like I've done that."

He met his wife, Jasmine, while the two were teaching in Gambell. She is now a full-time, stay-at-home mom.

The couple has two sons, Carter, 3, and Jackson, 1.

He earned a bachelor of science degree — majoring in multi disciplinary studies and minoring in elementary education as well as English discourse — from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore., in 2002.

He received a master's degree in education administration from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2007.

Woodhead's state endorsements include a Type B principal for grades K-12.

Since 2002, Woodhead has taught for the Bering Straight School District. During 2002-2004, he was an elementary teacher at the Gamble Schools, a summer school teacher in Shaktoolik in 2003-2004, taught upper-level grades in Stebbins from 2004-2006 and in Shaktoolik from 2006-2007, and became the assistant principal for Unalakleet Schools in 2007.

The Woodheads plan to arrive in Anchor Point in June and spend the summer getting settled in their new home.

"It's no secret that Anchor Point is beautiful," said Woodhead.

"I've spent time there getting to know the people, walking around the school, meet- ing teachers and students and the rest of the staff. The more I do that and get closer to the transition, the more I know it's going to be a good fit. My family's excited about the move."

Alex Trout, principal of Voznesenka School, has announced his retirement at the end of this school year.

Interviews for that position were held in March, but a replacement has not been confirmed by the school board according to Tim Peterson, KPBSD director of human resources.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.