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Governor Parnell Announces Board Appointments: August 22, 2014

August 22, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced appointments to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, Alaska Historical Commission, and Alaska State Council on the Arts.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Governor Parnell reappointed Susan Anderson to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. The commission develops and disseminates information for higher education planning in the western states, and provides access and opportunity for students from the 15 member states to share higher education resources.

Anderson, of Anchorage, is the president and CEO of The CIRI Foundation, an organization that encourages the education and career development of Alaska Natives by providing scholarships and grants for post-secondary education. She is co-chair of the ANCSA Education Consortium, chair of the University of Alaska Foundation, and also serves on the boards of the Friends of the Alaska Children’s Trust, Philanthropy Northwest, and Cook Inlet Native Headstart. Anderson previously served as a contractor for the Sealaska Heritage Foundation and the Kake Tribal Corporation. In addition, she was a member of the Alaska Humanities Forum, Alaska Natural History Association, and United Way of Anchorage Board of Directors. Anderson is reappointed to a public seat.

Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education

Governor Parnell appointed Anthony Cravalho, Mallory Hamilton, Jill Burkert, and reappointed Lucy Odden to the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. The council serves as the interdepartmental planning and coordinating agency of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Education and Early Development, and other departments that provide services or special education to people with disabilities. 

Cravalho, of Kotzebue, is the director of planning and development for Maniilaq Association. He is a board member on the Statewide Independent Living Council and STAR Advisory Board for the Northern Region. Cravalho received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Nevada. An Army veteran, he is appointed to represent a parent of a child with a disability.

Hamilton, of Anchorage, previously owned and operated a commercial fishing business and lodge in Kodiak. Once her daughter was born, her family moved to Anchorage, and Hamilton became a full-time parent and advocate. For 18 years, she has served on various boards, including the board for Programs for Infants and Children and the Alaska LEND Family Advisory Council. Hamilton has dedicated her time to participate and speak at trainings and committees that directly impact the lives of people living with disabilities. She is appointed to a consumer seat.

Burkert, of Juneau, has been a teacher in science and special education for 30 years. She is an associate professor and special education program director for the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). In her current role, Burkert travels extensively to schools throughout Alaska teaching how to become special education teachers and advocates. Burkert is a former volunteer court-appointed mediator and special advocate. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in counseling and development from George Mason University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in special education from the University of South Florida. Burkert is appointed to a seat reserved for a non-governmental organization.

Odden, of Anchorage, has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1980 and is currently working as an office automation clerk. Active in the special needs community, Odden has been a member of the Arc of Anchorage Board of Directors, Special Olympics Board of Directors, ASSETS Alaska Board of Directors, and People First Board of Directors. She has also been a camp counselor and assistance nurse for Arc Alaska. Odden is reappointed to a seat reserved for a consumer of disabilities and special education services.

Alaska Historical Commission

Governor Parnell appointed Wayne Jensen and Michael Hawfield, and reappointed Terrence Cole to the Alaska Historical Commission. The commission advises the governor and Legislature on matters related to Alaska's history and prehistory, oversees the state historic preservation plan, and performs a variety of other functions related to historical sites throughout the state.

Jensen, of Juneau, has been an architect for 37 years. He currently is a partner in the architectural firm Jensen Yorba Lott, Inc., a longstanding local business originally established in 1935. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, Rotary Club of Juneau, and Treadwell Historic Preservation and Restoration Society. Jensen received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Nebraska. He is appointed to a seat reserved for an architect.

Hawfield, of Homer, has been a museum educator, historical researcher, and writer since 1982. He is currently the associate professor of history and political science at the University of Alaska Kenai Peninsula College. Hawfield is treasurer of the Alaska Historical Society, administrator for the Art Acquisition Initiative for the Rasmuson Foundation and Museums Alaska, and a member of the American Association for State and Local History. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Lynchburg College of Virginia, a master’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in history from the University of Virginia. Hawfield is appointed to a seat nominated by the Alaska Historical Society.

Cole, of Fairbanks, is the director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Office of Public History. A longtime history professor at UAF, Cole has also worked as a historian with the National Bank of Alaska, an editor of the Alaska Journal of Commerce, and has held a variety of research positions. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alaska before completing his doctorate in history at the University of Washington. Cole is reappointed as a public member on the commission.

Alaska State Council on the Arts

Governor Parnell appointed Mary Wegner and reappointed William Tull, Nancy Harbour, and Peggy Ferguson to the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The council works to enrich the cultural life of Alaskans by encouraging and supporting excellence in the arts, providing opportunities for every Alaskan to experience the arts, promoting the practice and enjoyment of the arts in Alaska, and guiding the development of the arts throughout the state.

Wegner, of Sitka, is the superintendent of the Sitka School District. She has served Alaska as an educator for 24 years and is an active advocate of promoting digital-rich learning environments and art education. Wegner received a bachelor’s degree in comprehensive special education and elementary education from the University of Wisconsin. She also received a master’s degree in educational technology and an administration endorsement in educational leadership from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and a doctorate in educational technology leadership from Pepperdine University. Wegner is appointed to a public seat.

Tull, of Palmer, is the owner of William F. Tull and Associates, a law firm he has owned and operated since 1971. He has served on the board of directors of a number of community organizations, including the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce, Palmer Chamber of Commerce, Valley Hospital, and Valley Bar Association. Named Palmer Citizen of the Year in 1991 and 1992, Tull is a past owner of the Mat-Su Resort, Wasilla Bar and Liquor Store, and Chardonay’s Restaurant. He received a bachelor’s degree from Ursinus College, master’s degrees in business administration and liberal arts from Alaska Pacific University, and a law degree from the University of New Mexico. Tull is reappointed to a public seat.

Harbour, of Anchorage, has spent more than 30 years working in the arts community in Alaska. Currently, she serves as president of the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, where she first came to work in 1988. From 1979-1987, she was the executive director of Arts Alaska Inc. Harbour studied English literature at the University of Washington, and received undergraduate and graduate certifications in public assembly facility management. She is reappointed to a public seat.

Ferguson, of Fairbanks, has been a leader in Alaska’s community theater for more than 30 years, and has worked continuously for arts in education. She currently serves as the managing director of the Fairbanks Drama Association and Children’s Theater. Ferguson received a degree in theater arts and speech from the University of Minnesota. She is reappointed to a public seat.

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