The Haines Borough has taken out more than $18 million in bonds to pay for a new school and renovations. (Emily Files)

Haines is beginning the search for a new school superintendent — again.

At a round table meeting this week, community members brainstormed the qualities of an ideal candidate.

Parents, educators, and school board members agreed a new superintendent should have classroom experience, humility, and budget savvy. But most critically? They need to stay in Haines.

“You need stability here. You need someone who’s going to be here long term,” said parent Candice Mustard-Scott. “I mean, the teachers have seen innumerable leaders come through the doors. That’s devastating.” 

Interim superintendent Rich Carlson said finding stability has been hard because it comes down to something intangible.

“We need to find somebody that fits. If they don’t have a particular skill set, people can acquire that. But that fit — that fit is really key, and it’s really difficult to judge when you just bring somebody in for two or three days.”

Superintendent Michael Byer retired in 2014 after eight years. After his departure, the two permanent superintendents hired by the board left after just one year each. Carlson has filled the job in an interim capacity twice.

To find someone with staying power, Carlson says they’re changing the search process. To fill the last opening, Haines paid the Alaska Association of School Boards to find candidates. This year, they’re forming their own search committee.

“In the past we have done what I consider a sort of passive search. We developed the job description; we posted it on various places, and waited for people to come to us. We’re changing the way we’re doing it. We’re actually going out after people,” Carlson said.

The committee will be made up of school board members, staff, students, and two community members. They’ll interview top candidates early next year before making a final recommendation to the school board.

The new process also means that candidate applications will be made public so community members can review them.

The board plans to begin accepting resumes by Thanksgiving.

If you want to offer input on the search, there’s a one-questions survey on the School District website. If you’re interested in joining the search committee, email the District Secretary at