Leadership changes at area schools

Ravenwood, Birchwood ABC, Chugiak High School have new principals


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Clare Gauster stands outside of Ravenwood Elementary on Friday, Aug. 9. Gauster is the school’s new principal.

MIKE NESPER

A few new bosses are in town.

Ravenwood Elementary, Birchwood ABC Elementary and Chugiak High each have new principals for the 2013-14 school year.

Here’s a look at each administrator:

 

Timothy Blake: Birchwood ABC

After bouncing around a lot during 2012-13, Timothy Blake ended the year at Birchwood ABC. He’s hoping he’ll stay put for a while.

“It’s a really nice community,” Blake said. “I really appreciate the ABC philosophy they’re steeped in.”

Blake was busy last year, serving as assistant principal at Willow Crest and Airport Heights elementary schools until October, interim principal at Inlet View Elementary and finally as acting principal at Birchwood ABC, where he took over for Tim Godfrey in the fourth quarter.

Before becoming an administrator, Blake taught at Trailside Elementary for a decade.

Coming from a family of educators, Blake said he was always drawn to teaching.

“It’s been a tradition,” he said.

Blake said he’s looking forward to his new role as a principal and no major changes are on the horizon.

“We’re not going to implement any big changes,” he said.

 

David Legg: Chugiak High

A 1981 Bartlett High graduate, David Legg replaces Sam Spinella, who served as Chugiak’s principal for two years. Spinella is now the top administrator at East High.

Legg, who lives in Eagle River, previously served as assistant principal at Dimond High’s Freshman House for two years. Before that, he worked in the special education department at the ASD office and was the assistant director of pupil services in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

Working as a flight instructor helped push Legg toward a career in education.

“I thoroughly, thoroughly loved instructing,” he said.

Legg said he was drawn to high-school-aged students because of his own experience. Legg said he was unsure what career path he wanted to pursue after graduation and can relate to teens who feel the same way.

Legg said he’s excited to start his new role working with the many experienced employees at Chugiak.

“They have a great veteran staff here,” he said.

 

Clare Gauster: Ravenwood Elementary

Born and raised in Kodiak, Clare Gauster said starting her first principal job at Ravenwood Elementary reminds her of home.

“We have so many parent volunteers,” she said. “Everyone looks after one another.”

Eagle River isn’t too bad on the eyes, either.

“It’s gorgeous,” Gauster said.

Gauster, who taught at Muldoon Elementary for five years, is taking over for Audrey Chapman. Now principal at Gladys Wood Elementary, Chapman was Ravenwood’s top administrator for 10 years.

Gauster, who was in charge of curriculum development for Kodiak’s Alutiq Museum and worked for the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, comes from a family of educators. She said seeing the growth from grade to grade is one reason elementary school appeals to her.

“It’s such a dynamic part of their education,” Gauster said. “Every year they learn so much.”

A job working with at-risk youths was the catalyst for Gauster to pursue a career in education.

Though she’s not in a classroom anymore, Gauster said she plans on being a prominent figure in Ravenwood’s halls and wants to know every one of her students.

“I’m an active principal,” she said. “I really love working with kids.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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