EDITOR, Daily News:

Melissa Johnson is a wonderful educator who students, parents, and staff respect. She has a sincere interest in her students' overall development. She works diligently to enhance the educational opportunities available to all of her students.

As a Ketchikan High School graduate, she has an understanding of our community, its history, its cultures, and its needs. She is a positive person who displays a passion for education and her community. She is organized and shows excellent management skills. Ms. Johnson requires little instructional assistance and will not need additional training in multiple areas, including, but not limited to, cultural awareness. She is more than qualified to represent our community as its superintendent.

I was reading a Daily News article, which omitted her credentials and which I believe portrayed her as unqualified. They reported about her, as if she was just chosen because she was the School Board's pet. It was rude and degrading to Ms. Johnson and the School Board.

Ms. Johnson is more than qualified. She has 20 years of experience in education and administration. She carries all of the credentials, including a bachelor's degree in science and a master's in education leadership. She has an Alaska Educator Certifications — Professional License good through 2024, and administrative-Type B license, expiring in 2023 Superintendent Endorsement PK-12 and Principal, Grade PK-12.

I find it a waste of school funds to pursue other applicants, and then pay for absorbent moving expenses for someone who has no understanding of Ketchikan, except for what they learned in a book. Our community has suffered enough. We need someone who understands it, respects it, and can educate with respect for Ketchikan's cultures and diversity.

Ketchikan has a highly qualified homegrown community member ready to meet our community needs.

Honestly, it is a slap in our community members' faces. Not even acknowledging our community members for local jobs sends the message that those born and raised here shouldn't even bother to apply.

It says that you can get all the education in the world, work hard, achieve all that is needed to work in any other community, but not your own.

The only thing you can do in your hometown of Ketchikan is volunteer, which, based on Ms. Johnson's resume, she does a lot. I have watched talented community members move away to do what they were trained to do and could do here. We need to end that.

I understand that we need to put out an ad for applicants, and my hope is that if Melissa applies she gets equal consideration, and full disclosure of her credentials listed for the community to see.

Ketchikan needs to acknowledge our homegrown talent. I am tired of seeing community members overshadowed and dismissed because they are from here.

I sit on the Ketchikan City Council for full disclosure, and these are my opinions and not that of the council.

JANALEE MINNICH GAGE

6th Generation resident

Ketchikan