Anchorage School District
5530 E Northern Lights Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99504-3135
Biography for Mr. Graff
Ed Graff was appointed superintendent of the Anchorage School District on March 18, 2013.
Mr. Graff began his teaching career in 1991 at Gladys Wood Elementary School. Nine years later, he became an elementary school principal in the district. In 2008, Mr. Graff was named executive director of Elementary Education. The following year, he became the Chief Academic Officer, a position formerly referred to as assistant superintendent for instruction. A graduate in Elementary Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Mr. Graff holds a Master's Degree in Education Administration from University of Southern Mississippi. He has post-masters coursework in curriculum, educational leadership and instruction. Mr. Graff has served on several boards and professional organizations, including Junior Achievement, School Business Partnerships and Alaska Learning Network.
Originally from Minnesota, he has lived in several Alaska towns and villages, including Hooper Bay and Savoonga. He is married to Michelle Prince, an ASD elementary school principal. They have one son.
May 11, 2015
This month will mark an important milestone in the lives of thousands of students in the Anchorage School District. More than 2,600 young adults will receive their diplomas over the next few weeks. It’s a moment in time that highlights many years of hard work and dedication. It’s a celebration of achievement in education, and in life.
As I prepare to personally congratulate our graduates as they cross the stage during their graduation ceremonies, I reflect on how they got to where they are today. Every one of these student has their own story. As superintendent, I feel very fortunate to have crossed paths and made connections with many of them. I’ve had the opportunity to meet them at school events or perhaps they were my students when I was principal at Kasuun and Rogers Park elementary schools. It’s great to see them again and to be a part of their celebration of success.
This year’s graduates have already accomplished amazing things in their lives. I’d like to share just a few examples of who I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about.
Tasha Boyer from Chugiak High School spent her high school years as a prominent advocate for students. She’s provided support to several local and state organizations for the betterment of our community. Tasha has done this while maintaining an excellent GPA and class course load. She’s not only someone who we look to as a future leader but she is someone who is a leader now in our community. Tasha set the bar high for ASD staff and all decision-makers in our state. After graduation, she’ll continue her studies at Yale University.
One of Tasha’s classmates, Alex Culbert, is also garnering community attention. Those who have met Alex say he’s a superb leader and an excellent scholar. He worked to improve his school’s Key Club, as well as clubs across the state, in an effort to provide better volunteer service to communities. A teacher said that if this is what he’s like as a high school senior, she can’t begin to imagine how incredibly impressive Alex is going to be as an adult.
At the opposite end of town, Danielle Poirier from Service High School has taken nine Advanced Placement courses in her high school career. While that course schedule is challenging enough, she also participated in three school sports and a number of school clubs and activities. Following college, her long-term plan is to aid in the exploration of ways to diversify our state’s economy and work to reduce the prevalence of violence against women in our community.
Former high school dropout Preston Bolton says he will succeed thanks in part to the support provided by his foster dad. Preston was homeless and working multiple jobs to help support his family when he said he realized that completing school was the only way he was going to get anywhere in life. He came back to high school, worked hard and last month earned a highly coveted, direct-entry spot in IBEW’s apprenticeship program after demonstrating excellence at the King Career Center.
For Jackie Yang at Bartlett High School, he sometimes wonders what his life would be like if his mother was still alive. While she passed away when Jackie was in elementary school, he said he now understands why his mother wanted him to keep up in school and have a good education. Now that he’s successfully wrapped up his schoolwork and participation in clubs and activities, Jackie will set his sights on his next goal of being an engineer. As he looks toward this next milestone achievement, he remains inspired to be hard-working and caring, like his mother.
Donimalina Gochenouer, a classmate of Jackie’s at Bartlett, was recently honored as a YWCA Young Person of Achievement. Donimalina will graduate with a high GPA and medical honors cord. What people won’t see as she walks across the graduation stage is her story of amazing perseverance and empowerment. Before joining her adopted family, Donimalina stepped up to help raise her younger siblings when her biological parents failed to provide them a stable home. Between a part-time job, varsity sports and volunteer work, She brought awareness of Gaucher’s disease to her high school after her sister was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder. I’m confident Donimalina’s compassion, dedication and strength will help her become an excellent paramedic one day.
The stories of these students are just a few of the thousands that inspire me every day. The accomplishments that our young people have already made are remarkable. It makes me proud to call Anchorage my home knowing that our community has supported these students and helped them succeed, so that one day soon, they will lead our community and help the next generation of students accomplish important milestones in their lives.
Please join me in congratulating the successes of the Class of 2015 as well as all of our other students through the Class of 2027 – this year’s kindergarteners. I believe they each will accomplish great things in their lives. Graduation is only one of many milestones to come.
Destination 2020 is the district’s comprehensive, multi-year plan to increase student achievement. The plan focuses on improving the performance of every child to ensure at least one year’s academic growth each year. Destination 2020 is built on the district's mission, vision and core values as outlined by the school board.
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