BP names Teachers of Excellence
The BP Teachers of Excellence program honored 32 Alaska teachers honored this year. Celebrating its 20th year in 2015, the program attracted about 1,200 nominations.
“We are thrilled to recognize those teachers who make a lasting impact on the next generation of Alaskans by educating our children and who make our communities better places to live,” said Janet Weiss, BP Alaska regional president. “BP is honored to continue supporting this great program. It’s another way we are showing our commitment to Alaska.”
The winners, broken down by area are as follows.
Anchorage: Sarah L. Afoa, Gladys Wood Elementary School; Heather Beck, Goldenview Middle School; Lee Butterfield, South Anchorage High School; Jennifer Childress, AJ Dimond High School; Tommy Heinrich Jr., AVAIL High School; Jacqueline Hoover, Rabbit Creek Elementary School; David A. Kinder, Chugiak High School; Minoo Minaei, Rogers Park Elementary School; Patti L. Paiz, Rabbit Creek Elementary School; Scott L. Shumway, Central Middle School of Science.
Kenai Peninsula: Jake Doth, Nikiski Middle High School; Shannon Adair Dwyer, Skyview Middle School; Judy Gonsalves, West Homer Elementary School; James Harris, Soldotna High School; Matthew Widaman, Kenai Central High School.
Fairbanks: Amy E.M. Brown, Hutchison High School; Natasha Carlson, West Valley High School; James Gilbert, Joy Elementary School; Jeannie James, Joy Elementary School; Harvey Kurzbard, Pearl Creek Elementary School; Olga Napolilli, Randy Smith Middle School.
Mat-Su: Jennifer Bleicher, Cottonwood Creek Elementary School; Jason Froehle, American Charter Academy; Blake Livingston, Wasilla High School; Lukis Nighswonger, Iditarod Elementary School; Lois Randall, Meadow Lakes Elementary School.
Outlying Districts: Robin Lindley Child, Bering Strait Schools; Mary Jean Duncan, Angoon Elementary School; Matthew Hunter, Mt. Edgecumbe High School; Lisa Leeper, Anvil City Science Academy; Rebecca McKennett, Tanalian School; Marleen Moffitt, Mt. Eccles Elementary School.
Each BP Teacher of Excellence will receive a $500 gift card and a $500 matching grant to their school.
Former Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty has joined the law firm Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP based in its Anchorage office. During his 36-year career he has been involved in numerous complex cases, and has tried cases to verdict throughout Alaska, including Kenai, Barrow, Dillingham, Fairbanks and Anchorage. He has appeared before the Alaska Supreme Court in matters ranging from sovereign immunity, insurance bad faith, and administrative law, to attorney-client privilege, OSHA regulations, contract claims, shareholder disputes, products liability, and premises-landowner liability. Geraghty served as Alaska’s Attorney General from 2012-14; prior to his appointment, he was a partner in the Anchorage law firm DeLisio Moran Geraghty & Zobel PC, with a practice devoted exclusively to litigation and appeals before state and federal courts. Geraghty earned his law degree cum laude from the University of Santa Clara. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Hawaii.
Rasmuson Foundation announced the selection of four artists from the Lower 48 who will each spend eight weeks this fall at arts organizations in Alaska as part of the 2015 Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program. Amy Casey, a painter from Cleveland, Ohio, will be in residence at the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer. Kimi Eisele is a writer and performance artist from Tucson, Ariz., who will be in residence at the Island Institute in Sitka. Samantha Hill, an interdisciplinary artist from Chicago, was nominated by McColl Center for Art + Innovation for a residency at the Anchorage Museum. Cannupa Hanska Luger works mainly in ceramic mixed media and resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He will be in residence at the Native Art Center at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Rasmuson Foundation launched the Artist Residency Program in 2013, which sends four Alaska artists to the Lower 48 and brings four Lower 48 artists to Alaska each year for 60-day residencies.
Two researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks are among 17 scholars selected as the inaugural cohort of the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Arctic Initiative. Gwen Holdmann, an energy researcher at the UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power, and Tamara Harms, a biologist at the UAF College of Natural Science and Mathematics and UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, will join their colleagues from eight Arctic nations next month in Iqaluit, Canada, for the launch of their 18-month appointments. Holdmann and Harms were selected from among a pool of more than 100 applicants from the United States and the seven other Arctic Council nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.
Danny Rauchenstein, PE, LEED-AP, of PDC Inc. Engineers has been promoted to Mechanical Department manager overseeing a staff of 15. Rauchenstein joined PDC in 2001, and is a senior associate of the firm. He has more than 18 years of experience as a mechanical engineer and is also an Alaska-registered fire protection engineer. His design experience includes ventilation, heating, plumbing, controls, fire protection and fuel systems, as well as utilidor and plant design. He also has a broad level of experience in the energy field including waste heat recovery, oil and gas development, and energy studies.
Greggory Olson has been appointed as the district attorney for the Fairbanks office. Olson plans to transfer to his new position on June 1. Olson has worked for the Department of Law for more than 15 years. His experience includes working as the district attorney in Bethel from 1999-2004, as an assistant district attorney in Sitka from 2004-07, and most recently as an assistant attorney general in the rural prosecution unit for the Office of Special Prosecutions. In addition to his experience at the Department of Law, Olson worked approximately eight years as a police officer. Five of those years were spent with the North Slope Borough Police Department, where he worked his way up to deputy police chief. In this role, he supervised civilian and police staff in Alaska’s third largest police department.
Dr. Keith J. Hamilton of Soldotna and John T. Harmon of Palmer were confirmed to the State Board of Education & Early Development Hamilton holds a seat for the public at large. Harmon holds the seat for the Third Judicial District. Both members’ terms will expire March 1, 2020. Hamilton holds an associate’s degree from Everett Community College in Washington state, a bachelor’s degree in Christian education from Seattle Pacific University, and a master’s degree in Divinity and doctorate in youth and family culture from Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He is the founding and current president of Alaska Christian College in Soldotna. Harmon holds a bachelor’s degree from Houghton College in New York, a master’s degree in education from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, and a Juris Doctor degree from Capital University. He has practiced law and served as a president of Charter College in Alaska. Harmon is now the principal and a teacher at Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Anchorage.
First Lady Donna Walker announced the recipients of the 2015 First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards who will be recognized during a luncheon at the Governor’s House on May 14. Started by First Lady Bella Hammond in 1975, the First Lady Volunteer of the Year Awards recognizes Alaskan volunteers who have displayed an extraordinary personal commitment to volunteer service, and have made a major impact on their community or state. The 2015 Volunteer of the Year Recipients are: Anna Tadgue Frank, Fairbanks; Diane Peterson, Anchorage; Lani Strong Hotch, Klukwan; Scott Fergusson, Auke Bay; Pamela Orme, Anchorage; Julie Robinson and David Nielson, Anchorage.
Robert Sidro has been promoted to executive chef Millennium Alaskan Hotel. Sidro began his career at the hotel in 1989 as a dishwasher and was promoted to prep cook, line cook, then lead cook. After two other opportunities took him away from the hotel, he finally settled back at the Millennium in 2011 and is here to stay. The Millennium Alaskan Hotel’s culinary team consists of executive chef Sidro, eight line and prep cooks and 25 culinary support staff to prepare meals for their three restaurants.