Browder to step down as ASD superintendent

School Board selects Graff as replacement


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ASD Superintendent Dr. Jim Browder speaks during a press conference March 14 at the ASD Education Center. Browder will retire effective June 14 and be replaced by Ed Graff, the district’s chief academic officer.

MIKE NESPER

School Board president Jeannie Mackie announced March 14 that Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Jim Browder will retire effective June 14 and be replaced by Chief Academic Officer Ed Graff.

Mackie made the announcement at a press conference at the ASD Education Center in Anchorage after the board held an executive session earlier that day.

Browder said he was stepping down to be closer to his daughter and grandson, who are dealing with “illness issues” in the Lower 48. Browder did not elaborate on their medical conditions.

“Both of them are doing OK,” he said. “We still have a ways to go with both.”

Sixty-five-year-old Browder, who recently applied for a superintendent job in Iowa, said he doesn’t plan to seek immediate employment but isn’t ruling it out in the future.

Browder won’t receive a severance package, Mackie said, and does not have to reimburse the district for any moving expenses.

Browder has served as ASD superintendent since July 1, 2012. He was hired for $180,000 a year plus benefits after serving as the superintendent of the Lee County Public School District in Florida for seven years. Before coming to Alaska, Browder was a senior administrator at Edison (Fla.) State College.

Browder said he was proud of the accomplishments he’s made during his time with ASD.

“I’ve done everything I was supposed to do and more,” he said. “In a year, we’ve made huge growth.”

Mackie praised Browder for bringing an “outside perspective” to ASD, which the board felt the district needed, she said.

“Now, we need to move forward,” Mackie said.

“We have really great days ahead of us,” she said. “We need to look forward to making progress.”

Graff is the man for the job, said Mackie, who called him a “phenomenal next leader for the district.”

Graff, a 22-year ASD employee, began his career as an elementary teacher and now serves as chief academic officer — a position he’s held since 2009.

After seven years as principal at Rogers Park, Mountain View, Bowman and Kasuun elementary schools, Graff worked for a year as the executive director of elementary education before his current position.

Graff said he was eager to take over as superintendent.

“I’m very excited to continue with my new role,” he said.

Graff will work with Browder over the next three months in preparation for his new job, Mackie said, which should be a seamless transition.

“There’s not a whole lot going on that Ed doesn’t know about,” she said.

The board officially accepted Browder’s retirement and confirmed Graff as the next superintendent at its meeting on Monday, March 18.

 

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

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