The principal of both the Nanwalek and Port Graham schools is retiring at the end of this month. Nancy Kleine served as a principal since 2013, and she won a Golden Apple Award from the district for her service this year.
Kleine said her greatest achievement is bringing in the ConnectEd grant from Apple. The school received iPads for each student in addition to technology for teachers and classrooms.
Kleine helped the school use technology to usher in new ways of learning, but also to help students connect with their culture. Teachers and students used the technology to interview elders, preserve their language and make videos about their way of life.
“Their culture here is so important to them and their families are so important to them and their heritage is just so important to them. We basically are letting them use their technology and literacy skills to gather history and information and environmental information and use their iPads in sort of a personalized way to gather those stories,” she said.
Kleine wrote an e-book documenting the projects called “Inspiring New Ways of Learning at Nanwalek School.”
She said she’s also tried to provide more resources for students’ emotional and behavioral health, and Kleine also completed some projects during her time to help ease overcrowding at the school.
“We decided to change the shop into a classroom, and it's now the math and science room. That was a pretty big project,” she said. “That freed up a room so that we had a resource room for our special-needs kids. There's a lot of little changes in the building that we did, but we optimized the space.”
But Kleine said even though the school has made significant strides, there is still a need for more space with a growing population. This year, the school’s two graduating seniors will be replaced by eight new preschoolers.
Charles Crain, who previously taught at Nanwalek, will take over Kleine’s position. But Crain will only manage the Nanwalek school. Susan B English School Principal Joshua Hinds will now oversee both students in Seldovia and Port Graham.