Activities director, 3 new teachers join school district

Russin discusses plans for new STEM program offerings

A full-time activities director and three new teachers begin arriving in August to join the Cordova School District, in advance of the 2018-2019 school year, says Superintendent Alex Russin.

Kayti Ammerman, who holds a bachelor’s degree in outdoor studies from Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, was hired to be the district’s activities director, Russin said. The position was created because Cordova will be hosting three regional Alaska School Activities Association athletic events during the school year, including volleyball with nine visiting teams Nov. 15-17, wrestling Dec. 6-8, and the 2A basketball tournament March 7-9.

Ammerman’s professional experience includes working as a sea kayaking guide in Seward. She has also worked with the 21st Century Community Learning Center in South Dakota, is in development and implementation of educational and skills-based programs for students, and has worked as the before/after school and summer camp director for the Wolsey-Wessington School in Wolsey, S.D.

Ammerman’s husband, Rob Ammerman, who holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, with a minor in anthropology from Colorado State University, is joining the school district to teach English classes, as well as facilitating classes for the district’s innovative learning program. That program offers additional help in math, science and other courses for students as needed, plus help for students who will be on extended leave.

Wendy Boatright, of Midland, Texas, will teach fifth graders at Mt. Eccles Elementary School. She has a bachelor’s degree of art in education with minors in kinesiology, math and reading, and a master’s degree in education as a reading specialist, both from Angelo State University in Texas.

The district also hired Tommy Dahill to teach math and science at Cordova Jr./Sr. High School. Dahill holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and has worked in Alaska since 2011.

He enjoys playing the banjo and has competed internationally as an elite bicyclist for more than 20 years, according to the school district.

Veteran teacher Doug Carroll will be moving from teaching math at the junior/senior high school and into the district’s new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher position, Russin said.

Part of Carroll’s job will include incorporating lessons that focus on real-world issues, problems and solutions, guided by the STEM process; immersing students in hands-on inquiry, and involving students in productive teamwork.

“We are excited to begin course offerings in this area and will be developing STEM pathways in the upcoming year,” Russin said.

Another transition will be veteran elementary school teacher Gretchen Carpenter moving from her fifth-grade teaching position to a new districtwide instructional technology coordinator position. Her work will include assisting teachers and students in supporting the integration of various forms of technology into the district curriculum framework by providing leadership, instructional support, staff development and curriculum development as needed, Russin said.

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Margaret Bauman is a veteran Alaska journalist focused on covering fisheries and environmental issues. Bauman has been writing for The Cordova Times since 2010. You can reach her at