SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan Regular Election Oct. 04, 2022
Early & In-Person Absentee Voting Begins 09/19/22

Ketchikan School Board
3 Year Term (2 Seats Open)

Tom Heutte


Received: August 29, 2022
Published: September 02, 2022

Hello Ketchikan!

jpg Tom Heutte Candidate for Ketchikan School Board Oct. 04, 2022

I am writing to tell you about my run for school board. Twelve years ago when my daughter was in kindergarten, I served on the board of the Ketchikan Charter School. I followed her through elementary and middle school serving on PTAs. I started gaining an understanding of the challenges our schools face: among others, the funding mechanisms and the numerous grants, special needs programs, some of the reasons why we fall short of achievement goals, why administrators need curriculums but teachers often hate them, and ways that are being used to counter bullying (which still eludes us all too often).

I’ve always been motivated by curiosity and we all know curiosity is what really motivates a child to learn. Most importantly, our schools will never be the best unless we work as a community, and as adults we strive to learn and work together, like we ask our kids to do.

I have a bachelor’s degree in botany and a master’s degree in GIS (computer map stuff). I’ve worked for the USDA for 28 years and have also worked as a laboratory technician in cancer and HIV research, plumber, camp director for the Boy Scouts, and a substitute teacher. That substitute gig was a long time ago, but the memory remains fresh in my mind. For three months I was a long-term sub, teaching science in a huge high school in a diverse working-class and immigrant community. I had a close-up look at the challenges children, parents and teachers face.

I’ve been in Alaska about twenty years. One thing I learned early on is that the best thing about this place isn’t necessarily the natural beauty, but the people. All of us have a story about how helpful and caring our neighbors are - the time five people stopped to see if you needed help while you are on the side of the road changing a flat tire,-or the stranger who tracked me down on Facebook when he found my credit card and insisted on delivering it to me. Pretty soon you find yourself wanting to give back. In 2019 and 2020 I was appointed to fill vacancies on the school board. I’m currently the president of the Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library and treasurer of KRBD Community Radio.

Our school district will be faced with numerous issues this year, most notably addressing shortfalls in student achievement and graduation rate, funding challenges, and recruitment and retention of professionals and staff. We can only address these problems if we all adopt a positive approach to building a high-functioning school district. We need to focus on building a culture of trust where all voices are heard without fear of retaliation. We need to create a just and equitable culture in our schools, emphasizing accountability with a measure of understanding where problems are addressed promptly rather than focusing on assigning blame.

A friend of mine said this- Good government is open, transparent, and accountable. Good leadership is driven by data, character, humility, ethics and the ability to make hard choices for the long-term benefit of society quickly and decisively regardless of their instant popularity. Thanks for your time.

For over two decades, SitNews has provided a front page section at no cost for all candidates for the local Ketchikan Assembly, School Board, City Council, and Mayors to provide information about themselves and their campaign for the voters to consider.

All candidates are encouraged to participate. SitNews will begin accepting candidates' statements on  September 05, 2022 for publication.  Note: Early or Absentee-In-Person Voting will begin on September 19, 2022. In person voting at the polls will be Oct. 04, 2022.

In your statement please tell the voters:

1. Why you are running for office.

2. Experience and education.

3. Community involvement

4. Identify at least two significant issues and challenges facing our community and your ideas on addressing these issues. (Please do not just say you will be open to public input. Be specific about the issues and challenges and your specific ideas to bring to the table.)

5. Email a digital photograph. 

6. Email your information in text format or as a doc file and photo to

Additional comments are allowed. (Posted Online: August 27, 2022 - Invitations to Participate were emailed to all candidates on August 27, 2022.) Editor SitNews

Printed ballots for inspection for the October 4, 2022 election will be available September 14, 2022. 

Last Day to register to vote in the local election is Sept. 04, 2022

KGB Election Information Click Here
City of Ketchikan Election Info Click Here