Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:41 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Abrahamson named Fireweed's principal

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

The search for Fireweed Academy's first full-time principal came full circle June 21, with the charter school's APC, Academic Policy Committee, accepting the recommendation of the hiring committee to offer the position to Kiki Abrahamson. Abrahamson has unofficially been responsible for the duties of principal while also teaching at Fireweed since the school opened in 1997.

"I have called Kiki and she has accepted," APC President Shawnisty Webber told the Homer News on Friday morning.

In April the APC began the process of finding a full-time principal. Abrahamson has a contract with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to be Fireweed's language arts teacher for grades five and six for the 2012-2013 school year; however, she made it known she would apply for the principal position.

The APC, the hiring committee and the recruitment process were criticized by students, parents and Fireweed staff after learning Abrahamson had not been selected as one of two finalists interviewed on June 4. In a meeting June 7, the APC chose to conduct a second search. The position was posted on the district's website from June 8-June 18, with a total 33 applicants expressing interest in becoming Fireweed's principal. Tim Peterson, the district's human resource manager, did an initial review to determine which candidates had administrative experience.

The hiring committee — Garry Betley, founding member of Fireweed Academy; Kathy Vogl, parent of current Fireweed students; Edan Badajos, parent of a current Fireweed student; Olga Vonziegesar, parent of a Fireweed alumnus; Claire Waxman, parent of a Fireweed alumnus; Kim Fine, Fireweed teacher representing grades K-2; and Kris Owens, Fireweed teacher representing grades 3-6 — narrowed the candidates to Abrahamson and William Hindman, part-time instructor and part-time principal at the Anvil City Science Academy, a charter school in Nome.

After phone interviews on Thursday with Abrahamson and Hindman and taking written comments from an estimated 20 people in attendance, the hiring committee recommended the hiring of Abrahamson. Three of the four APC members present — Kim Fine, Kristen Metz and Kathy Vogl — voted in favor of a motion to accept the hiring committee's recommendation and offer the principal position to Abrahamson; Webber voted against it.

"Because this is a board of consensus, I will not block consensus," said Webber. "The motion passes."

After notifying Abrahamson, Webber also informed Hindman of the APC's decision. In addition, she notified the district that Abrahamson had accepted the offer. Pegge Erkeneff, communication specialist for the district, said that notification being received by July 2 allowed time for approval of Abrahamson's contract to be placed on the school board agenda for approval at the board's July 9 meeting.

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