The Ketchikan School Board did not take any action after exiting its closed-door evaluation of Ketchikan School District Superintendent Beth Lougee late on Tuesday night.
The board exited its executive session at 9:13 p.m., more than three hours after entering the executive session. After emerging from the executive session, Board Member Jordan Tabb read provisions of Lougee’s contract relating to board evaluations “just in the public interest describing this particular personnel matter,” he said.
“In the event that the board determines that the performance of the superintendent is unsatisfactory in any respect, it shall describe in writing and reasonable detail, specific instances of unsatisfactory performance,” Tabb said. “Again, citing the language of the contract, the evalauation shall include recommendations, and a copy of the written composite evaluation shall be delivered to the superintendent. The superintendent shall have the right within 10 days to make a written response to the evaluation and within 30 days of the delivery of the written evaluation the superintendent and the board shall meet to discuss the evaluation.
“Beyond that, it’s not appropriate for the board to discuss personnel matters,” Tabb added.
About a half-dozen people attended the start of the meeting, which was held in the Ketchikan High School library, including Ketchikan School District Curriculum Director Alonso Escalante, District Cultural Coordinator Teresa Varnell and Gloria Burns, the president of Ketchikan Indian Community.
Board Clerk Kerry Watson, District Business Manager Katie Parrott and Glenn Brown, who serves as the attorney for the School District, attended Tuesday’s meeting as well.
Burns and parent Cheryl Yeisley were the only people to provide public comment at the start of the meeting. Both spoke negatively of Lougee, reiterating comments they made at the board’s first evaluation in December alleging that she has not shown concern or respect for Alaska Native teachers, parents and staff in the community.
About 10 minutes after the meeting began, the board unanimously agreed to enter an executive session to continue the evaluation. With the exception of Brown, Lougee and the board members, everyone in the audience, including Parrott and Watson, left the library.
Brown participated in the first 50 minutes of the executive session. Lougee left the library several minutes after the board entered the executive session and stood in the hallway outside the library for about one and one-half hours before reentering.
Before adjourning for the evening, board members reminded the public that the district has a grievance review process to address comments and concerns about treatment by or of specific individuals.
Board President Kim Hodne cautioned that in reemphasizing that board policy, the board might inadvertently be discouraging civic participation and engagement with the board.
“Many times people do come to the podium with a complaint because they have exhausted their realm of teachers, administrators, principals, and such,” Hodne said. “The last thing that I ever want to see is the public feel shy, scared, or intimidated from coming up to the podium and voicing a concern that they have.”