Atwater Named 'Superintendent of the Year'

Shaylon Cochran


     Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater has been named Superintendent of the year for 2013 by the Alaska Association of School Administrators.
     For each of the past 25, the AASA has chosen for Superintendent of the Year an administrator who exemplifies effectiveness, knowledge, leadership, ethics and commitment.  It’s that last one, commitment, with which Kenai Peninsula Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater most closely identifies.
     “I think that what I do and set a tone for is to really be committed to doing everything we possibly can for our children here on the Kenai,” Atwater said.  ”I hope I model that for the District and I feel that as a team, we’re really committed to doing what’s best.”
     The award is based on input from administrators from across the state.  He said the award is a reflection of the dedication and hard work of throughout the district, and he’s both humbled and honored by it.
     "I didn’t apply for it, my peers from across the state brought me forward and so that’s very humbling,” he said.
     Dr. Atwater is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Alaska Anchorage and says that experience teaching at the post-secondary level gives him some insight back at home.
     “I’m constantly trying to pick apart ideas and to learn from them (the students), so even though I’m the instructor and supposedly passing on all the knowledge, at the same time, it’s a learning experience for me,” Atwater said.
     One of the most crucial components in education, according to Atwater, is preparing students to be lifelong learners.  That’s done by putting students into situations where they’re forced to become problem solvers, placing the emphasis on analyzation rather than memorization.
     “In most traditional methods of schooling, you just repeat what you learned and if you can do it well, then you get a good grade.”
For Atwater, the key is to assume the knowledge is there, then put it into an applied setting where students have to learn and figure things out. “It’s more of an independent learning style, but once you can establish those practices and get in shape…to learn that way, you’re much better off,” Atwater said.
     AASA will advance Dr. Atwater’s candidacy to the 2013 National Superintendent of the Year program.  All State Superintendents of the Year will be recognized in February at the 2013 AASA National Conference on Education in Los Angeles, California.