SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Michael Fitzgerald

Candidate for Ketchikan School Board 2007
Three-Year Term

September 09, 2007

jpg Michael Gitzgerald

Hi There!

I'm Michael Fitzgerald and I'd like to serve you and the community by becoming a member of the School Board. I appreciate you taking the time to become acquainted with the candidates and the issues. My Wife and I have been raising our 3 children in Ketchikan for the past 13 years and have witnessed both successes and missteps by the School Board. Lately, it seems like the School Board has been floundering-attentive to adult personalities and pet projects rather than focused on serving the students and their families. I'm grateful to Sitnews for providing this opportunity to introduce myself to you.

Experience and Qualifications

  • Foremost, I am a Father of three wonderful children that have been served by the Ketchikan School District for most of their lives.
  • Two of my children have special needs, so I have developed a keen understanding of how the special education program works as my Wife and I have advocated for our children.
  • I have 12 years experience as a Nurse Manager at Ketchikan General Hospital. Prior to that, I managed restaurants. This work experience has helped me develop the following skills that a School Board member should have:
    • I can read, develop and manage a budget.
    • I can evaluate employees' work performance.
    • I have experience negotiating contracts.
    • I have been successful at setting goals, developing and implementing a plan to achieve those goals and then measuring the outcomes to assess whether or not the goals have been reached.
    • I was instrumental in planning, designing and implementing a major remodel of the Long Term Care Unit at Ketchikan General Hospital, gaining valuable experience in all aspects of major construction projects.
  • 10 years of experience with Special Olympics as a volunteer coach and area management team member.
  • Life-long member and then volunteer leader of church youth groups.


Important Issues/What I Hope to Achieve if Elected

  • Funding that reflects a laser focus on academics
    • If elected, I will help the School Board work with state and local entities to assure funding is always at the maximum allowable level. This will require a solid plan with measurable goals and academic-related outcomes to convince those holding the purse strings that the money will be well spent.
  • Emergency Response and Notification Plan
    • The recently announced email/web/text messaging system sounds like a move in the right direction, but the School Board needs to provide direction to assure that the plan is clear and complete and well-communicated to families so they will feel confident that their children are safe.
    • If elected, I will work to have the School Board direct the Superintendant to involve families in the planning process to assure that every parent will be notified when there is a threat at school.
  • Reading Scores
    • I don't remember the last time we saw a report on reading scores for our schools. The latest Gates test scores are available, but we haven't seen them reported or discussed yet. This valuable indictor needs to be carefully evaluated and used to assess the effectiveness of the instruction that is taking place in the district.
    • If I'm elected, test scores will be discussed openly and frequently with specific goals for improvement.
  • Clear and Measurable Goals for the Superintendant
    • The Superintendant recently suggested some goals for himself. Few of them were actually measurable and many focused on process rather than outcomes.
    • If elected, I will see that the School Board sets measurable, outcome-based goals for the Superintendant.
    • Restoring Credibility and Accountability
    • The School Board has stumbled lately, distracted by personal agendas.
    • If elected, I will focus my efforts on assuring that the Superintendant and our teachers have the direction and resources necessary to assure our children are achieving what they need to be successful.

I decided to become a candidate for the School Board because I believe I can make a difference. I thank you for taking the time to become acquainted with the candidates and the issues. Please be sure to vote on October 2nd.



Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska