Homer High School is losing its principal. Dr. Allan Gee has announced that he will be leaving the school – and the state – after this school year. Gee took over as Homer High principal in 2009.
"It's been a great four years, " said Gee. "I've really enjoyed the community of Homer and Homer High."
Gee’s reasons for leaving are personal. About two years ago, his wife, Gwen, began having health problems related to allergies. After several visits to the emergency room and consultations with physicians, she was diagnosed with Cold Urticaria – or “cold hives” – a disease that is exacerbated by exposure to cold weather.
Gee and his family came from a much warmer climate in Georgia, where he began his education career before taking positions as a principal in Wainwright and then in Kodiak.
He says that the Kenai Peninsula School District is the best he’s ever worked for and that Homer High students are to be commended for their high academic performance and their low rate of disciplinary problems.
There have, however, been a handful of disciplinary incidents at the high school this year that have grabbed public attention, including a high-profile sexual assault incident that happened at on off-campus party last fall. Two Homer High students and one former student have been charged in that case, which brought an intense focus on the school and its principal. Gee says the incident played no part in his decision to leave.
Gee says his proudest accomplishment at Homer High was raising the bar academically by requiring a C for students to receive credit for a class.
"My intent was that every student graduate from Homer High School and ... receive funding to be able to go to college or a vocational school," said Gee. "This year, we are close to 85 percent of our students being eligible for the Alaska Performance Scholarship."
That scholarship program provides three levels of funding for in-state college students who have a high school grade point average of at least 2.5.
Gee is seeking a position as a high school principal and has lined up an interview this week in Brevard County, Florida. He says he would take any position in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee or anywhere with a warmer climate suitable to his wife’s medical condition.
He says that the key to being a successful Homer High School principal – and his advice for his successor – is to understand the Homer community.
"There are a lot of perspectives in Homer, some of which can be quite polarizing," he said. "But understanding those, listening (and) learning from those and engaging everyone that you can in the decision-making process ... helps us as we continually review what we're doing."
Dr. Gee will remain on the job until June 7th. School District Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater will be in Homer this week for a community meeting to gather input on Dr. Gee’s replacement and candidate interviews are scheduled for April 29th.