BOARD MEMBER PROFILE: Silas Paniptchuk, Bering Strait School District

How did you come to be in Alaska?

I was born and raised in Alaska

How long have you lived in your community?

32 years.

What’s your career background and current job?

I currently work for our Head Start as a Head Start teacher. I have an Associate Degree in early childhood education and currently in progress to attain my BA in Child Development.

Describe a teacher or school staff member who had an influence on you.

My 3rd and 4th-grade teacher, Paul Asicksik. I saw him as not just my teacher but a positive role model for our people. He was a native man (who there are very few of in this state) who taught and lived a lifestyle as our ancestors did. He was an inspiration to me and I could remember him walking to his seal hunting boat straight from the school to hunt seal on a cold October day. I thought that was special.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

That I have a two-year degree in Early education.

Why did you run for the school board?

I ran because I feel strongly about implementing more culture within our schools in BSSD. I also want to be a bridge between our communities, school and District Administration. I want to be in a position where I can hear people’s voices and bring them to our higher-ups. I also ran because I believe in equity. Every school should receive or at least have the option of receiving services provided by the District.

What special strengths do you bring to the board?

I’m a people person. I like to listen and interact with people with knowledge. I’m young and ambitious.

What goals do you hope to achieve during your term?

I hope that I can help be an influence in positive decision making with collaboration among my fellow board members.

How have you helped to improve education in your district?

I’ve only been on the Board for 10 months now and I feel like I am just getting into the realm of things and I am optimistic about my position on the board.

What’s the hardest thing about being a board member?

The hardest thing for me is the fact that I’m a board member and my wife’s a teacher. My hope is that people will know that my interest is in the District as a whole. Sometimes I feel that people feel differently about it but that’s something I can’t control. 🙂 Otherwise, I’m enjoying every moment.

What’s the best thing about being a board member?

The best thing is that I get to work directly with people who have the same goals as I and help make put in place systems that we think are best for our children.

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