Governor Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions
July 29, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today announced appointments to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, Alaska Student Loan Corporation Board of Directors, Alaska Pioneers’ Homes Advisory Board, Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, and State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board.
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
Governor Parnell appointed Ray DePriest to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. The commission administers state student loan programs and authorizes new facilities and programs for higher education in Alaska.
DePriest, of Palmer, has been an educator for more than 25 years with the Mat-Su Borough School District and currently is the director of career and technical education. He is a member of the Mat-Su College Advisory Council and previous member of the Alaska Board of Agriculture and Conservation. DePriest earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from Montana State University and a master’s degree in public school administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is appointed as a representative of a community college council.
Alaska Student Loan Corporation Board of Directors
Governor Parnell appointed James Johnsen to the Alaska Student Loan Corporation Board of Directors. The board is responsible for the financing of the Alaska Student Loan Program.
Johnsen, of Fairbanks, is currently the senior vice president of human resources and process transformation at Alaska Communications Systems (ACS). Prior to joining ACS, he served as the senior vice president of administration at Doyon Limited, the Alaska Native regional corporation based in the Interior. Johnsen also held several executive positions at the University of Alaska statewide system, including vice president of administration and chief of staff. Johnsen also serves as a trustee of the University of Alaska Foundation, and as a commissioner with the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. His education includes a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Johnsen is appointed to the board representing a member of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education.
Alaska Pioneers’ Homes Advisory Board
Governor Parnell reappointed Bert Hall and Hollis Hall to the Alaska Pioneers’ Homes Advisory Board. The board conducts annual inspections of property and procedures of the Alaska Pioneers' Homes and recommends changes and improvements.
Bert Hall, of Wasilla, is retired and works as a part-time consultant. He has long been active in civic life, including work as the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Alaska liaison for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, director of the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services, and executive director of the United Way of Anchorage. In addition to his many volunteer activities and association memberships, Hall received the Governor’s Distinguished Service Award. He is reappointed to a seat reserved for a member of the public.
Hollis Hall, of Fairbanks, is the former director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, an office he also formerly held at South Dakota State University. Hall also served as program leader for legislative affairs with the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush. He holds a doctorate in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University and is reappointed to a public seat.
Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education
Governor Parnell appointed Alexis Henning, David Fleurant, Angelina Fraize, Alex Gimarc, Christine King, and reappointed Art Delaune, Ric Nelson, Eric Gebhart, and Heidi Haas 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.
Henning, of Anchorage, has firsthand experience working with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, the special education system, and transition programs activities. She is a graduate of Project Search and previously worked as an archeology technician at the Museum of the North in Fairbanks. She has represented the Key Coalition before the Legislature, and was recognized by Spirit of Youth for her advocacy role on behalf of youth with disabilities, independent living centers, and services for disabled youth. Henning is appointed as a primary consumer on the council.
Fleurant, of Anchorage, is an attorney and executive director for the Disability Law Center of Alaska. He is a former VISTA volunteer and a legal coordinator for Standing Together Against Rape. Fleurant holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rhode Island and a juris doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. He is appointed to a seat representing the state protection and advocacy system.
Fraize, of Chugiak, is an officer with the Anchorage Police Department and previously worked as a mental health probation officer with the Department of Corrections. She is a member of the Alaska Crisis Intervention Team and a prior soccer coach for Chugiak Youth Sports Association and the Boys and Girls Club. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington and is currently enrolled in the masters of education, early childhood special education program at UAA. Fraize has two daughters and is appointed to a consumer seat representing a parent of a child with a disability.
Gimarc, of Anchorage, is a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Air Force. He currently is a systems programmer for the Municipality of Anchorage and a small business owner. Gimarc formerly served on the Chugach Electric Association Board of Directors and the Anchorage School District Budget Advisory Committee. He is a senior member of the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics, holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University, and a master’s degree in space technology from Florida Institute of Technology. Gimarc is appointed to a consumer seat representing a parent of a child with a disability.
King, of Anchorage, is the project director for the Center for Human Development at UAA and serves as commissioner for the Municipality of Anchorage’s ADA Advisory Commission. She previously worked as an independent living specialist at Access Alaska. King is a prior member of the Alaska Safety Planning and Empowerment Network and has volunteered on numerous initiatives raising awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Maine. King is appointed to a seat reserved for a program affiliated with higher education.
Delaune, of Fairbanks, has worked with developmentally delayed children for 15 years. He is the independent living supervisor for Access Alaska and parent navigator for Alaska Center for Children and Adults where he currently serves children and families experiencing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder issues. Delaune serves on the board of directors of the Tanana Valley Sportsman’s Association and is the board president for Thrivalaska. He is reappointed to the board representing a nonprofit agency.
Nelson, of Anchorage, is actively involved in his community serving on the state board of directors for Key Coalition, president of Peer Power, member of the Community Advisory Council, and president of Alaska’s chapter of TASH, an organization dedicated to equity, opportunity, and inclusion for people with disabilities. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UAA and is reappointed to a primary consumer seat on the council.
Gebhart, of Nenana, is the superintendent of the Nenana City School District. He is a former member of the Kake Economic Development Council and former councilman for the Kake City Council. Gebhart holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Harris-Stowe College, a master’s degree in counseling from North American Baptist Seminary, and a master’s degree in education administration from Northern State University. He is reappointed to a non-government agency or nonprofit seat.
Haas, of Fairbanks, is the founder and president of the Autism Society of Alaska and is an adjunct instructor of early childhood education for children with special needs at UAF. She is a board member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and is deputy director for the Alaska Center for Children and Adults. Haas is the recipient of the Flint Hills/United Way Golden Hearts Award, Autism Society of America National Volunteer of the Year Award, and the Alaska First Lady Volunteer of the Year Award. As the mother of a child with a disability, she is reappointed to a secondary consumer seat.
State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board
Governor Parnell appointed Dr. Ilona Farr to the State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board. The board issues licenses, permits, and adopts regulations for physical and occupational therapists.
Farr, a lifelong Alaskan living in Anchorage, is a practicing physician and owner of Alaska Family Medical Care. Farr serves on the Blue Cross Physicians Advisory Board and Geneva Woods Homeowners Association. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Practice and American Association of Physicians and Surgeons. Farr received her medical doctorate from the University of Washington. She is appointed to a seat reserved for a physician.