Karen Melin reflects on time as Interim Chief School Administrator
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After two years as the interim head administrator for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Karen Melin reflected on her experience before she hands over the reigns to new superintendent Luke Meinert.
Melin was hired as the interim head administrator for the district in 2021, after Superintendent Karen Gaborik retired.
“It’s been challenging, coming in when we thought it was post COVID and then COVID came roaring back in a really big way,” said Melin. When she started, the Covid-19 pandemic was still impacting the nation and world at large, putting large dents in the education system. As Melin put it, it was a “very challenging time for the school district and the community and individuals as individuals and as family units.” As educators and students were forced to work from home, enrollment dropped significantly causing large budget cuts and three schools were shutdown.
The disruption to education caused by the pandemic rippled through the district, state, and country, but success stories still surfaced as seniors received diploma’s despite the challenge. It was rewarding to Melin to “[watch] students walk across the stage, collect their diploma, knowing that their education had been significantly interrupted by the global pandemic and yet, there they were, moving on, being the people that they were, grabbing a hold of their future and making it good,” she said.
While reflecting on her time leading the district, Melin said there was something she would’ve done differently everyday. However, she feels that it’s best to focus on the future. The way she spoke about her experience emphasized her positivity. “I never could have imagined such a chance to do something of this magnitude and I am truly and deeply grateful for the opportunity to experience the last two years,” said Melin.
Melin will leave her position in July, when Luke Meinert takes over. She had this advice for him and future administrative staff. “Focus on the learning, student learning, staff learning, your own learning and deepening the partnerships.”
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