school board

Kenai Peninsula Borough

There’s another hat — sort of — in the ring for the Kenai seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education.

Kenai’s Hal Smalley, who has served in the state Legislature, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and Kenai City Council, says he’s agreed to a write-in campaign.

“A couple weeks ago I was asked by some folks if they could put me as a write-in, they said because there was a lack of choice for the school board. They weren’t happy with what was there,” Smalley said. “And I said, ‘Sure, that’s fine.’ And they said, ‘Well, if you were elected, would you serve?’ And I said, ‘Well, by all means, I would.’”

Smalley is retired from a career in education. He was a guidance counselor and language arts teacher in Ninilchik starting in 1976 and finished his career teaching English at Kenai Central High School. He volunteers for the breakfast program at Kenai Alternative School, as well as at the food bank, and serves on the Kenai Peninsula College Council. He says he’s enjoying doing what he likes in retirement but is willing to be conscripted back into public service.  

“I’m sort of a, I guess, somewhat declared write-in candidate. But, again, I’m not campaigning. It’s a very long shot,” he said.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

School boards around the country have been in the spotlight throughout the pandemic, amid heated conversations about COVID-19 and mitigation protocols in schools.

That’s been true in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. And it’s partly what’s inspired some candidates to run for school board this election cycle.

Municipal elections are Oct. 1. We spoke with candidates for the District 1, Kalifornsky seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. Incumbent Dan Castimore and challenger Patty Truesdell were in the studio. Susan Lockwood was not able to make the live show so we connected with her earlier in the week.

Wiki Commons

A race for the school board in Sterling and Funny River is one of the most contested in the upcoming municipal election. Four people are vying for that one seat.


Wiki Commons

The District 2 — Kenai seat of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education is up for election. Incumbent Tim Navarre faces challenger Matt Morse.

Navarre has held his school district seat since 2009, is also currently on the Kenai City Council, has served on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and was the chief of staff under borough Mayor John Williams. He is vice president of the family’s business, Zan, Inc., which owns the local Arby’s restaurants.

Morse graduated from Kenai Central High School, went off to college in Fairbanks and returned to Kenai to work in the family business, Partner Management Recruiters South Central Alaska.


Election coverage continues on the Kenai Conversation. Host Jenny Neyman visits with candidates for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. In District 2 — Kenai, Matt Morse is running against incumbent Tim Navarre. In District 5 — Sterling/Funny River, incumbent Marty Anderson has three challengers — Nissa Fowler, Greg Madden and Karyn Griffin. Anderson is out of state for work and was not able to participate, and attempts to reach Griffin have not been successful.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education looked out at a sea of red in its meeting in Homer on Monday night. Over a hundred teachers and support staff, who are seeing red over unresolved contract negotiations, wore red to the meeting and spoke out about their concerns.

Negotiations for a contract that was supposed to go into effect this school year began in February but have yet to be resolved. The school district and associations representing teachers and support staff went through an unsuccessful round of mediation and now are moving to arbitration. Dave Brighton, president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, says it’s been about a decade since a round of negotiations finished on time and without needing outside adjudication.

“I don’t know why it is that every time we go to the negotiations table we end up going all the way through mediation and then arbitration,” Brighton said. “I can’t remember a contract that we’ve had that didn’t go through that. I’m asking you guys to encourage the school district to come to the negotiation table to bargain.”