Phone: (907) 352-7457
Bio coming soon
Phone: (907) 352-7465
Janis Bishop was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and received her Bachelors of Science in Education degree at Northeastern State College, and Masters in Education with a Reading Specialist Certification at Northeastern Oklahoma University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Before leaving Oklahoma, she had ten years of teaching experience at the Broken Arrow and Jenks school districts, in first and fifth grade, and as a reading specialist with the Right to Read program.
Her family lived on a farm in Beggs, Oklahoma, before deciding to move to Alaska. Her husband Gary, a bush pilot and owner of Palmer Air, wanted an Alaskan adventure and their adventure to Alaska began with a drive up the Alcan Highway with their nine month old son, Garon. Her daughter, Elizabeth, was born in Alaska, is married and attending Mat-Su Community College. Garon is now a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp at the Marine Corp Air Station in Yuma, Arizona, specializing in aviation electronics and is attending classes at Arizona Western College. He is presently deployed in Asia.
2010 begins her thirty eighth year of teaching. Her Alaskan experience includes kindergarten, first grade, fifth grade, elementary multi-age, and now serving home schooling students and parents in grades kindergarten through third. Her greatest and most rewarding challenge is her high school students. She teaches a high school language arts class in the evenings.
Phone: (907) 352-7454
Connie is a Palmer High School graduate and has been with the Mat Su School District for 23 years. She began her career as a student worker and has advanced while continuing to work in various positions within the District. Connie and Ken Klunder have implemented the use of File Maker, a program used by the school to make appointments and organize student information. Connie loves to travel and plans to go to Egypt in the future.
Phone: (907) 352-7452
Mr. Brown is the Principal at Mat-Su Central School. Being a descendant of a 3rd generation colonist family, he is devoted to education in the Mat-Su Valley community. After attending college in California, studying remote sensing satellite data, he began working at a run-away shelter for kids. There he discovered his passion for education. Mr. Brown has a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Alaska Pacific University, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. In 2000, Mr. Brown was voted BP Teacher of Excellence. He and Mr. Klunder, Mr. Welk and Mr. Roper opened the first middle school in the Valley, Colony Middle School. Mr. Brown has worked at eight different schools within the Mat-Su District, and has been a teacher, coach, principal and parent for 28 years in the Valley. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, fishing, traveling and spending time with his wife (his high school sweetheart) and his daughters. When he retires, Mr. Brown wants to be able to walk away from Mat-Su Central School with a program in place that is parent and community driven and responsive to the needs of families in the Mat-Su School District. As for the future, he says, “there are four continents still waiting to be visited”!
Phone: (907) 352-7494
Bonnie joined Mat-Su Central the Spring of 2011 as a partime librarian. Her mission is to build a Mat-Su Central library and resource center. Bonnie's undergraduate work was at Seattle University. She has a Master's of Library Science from the University of Denver. She has been working in libraries for 39 years including public libraries, Alaskana library and school libraries at each level, elementary, middle school, and high school. Bonnie's favorite activities are spending time with her grandson, biking and of course reading.
Phone: (907) 352-7472
Dawn Coyne was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She has a Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of Colorado and is Highly Qualified with elementary students. Dawn has been a certified teacher for 10 years and advises students in grades K through 12. She grew up hating school herself and, as a result, she works to make others’ educational experience a better one than she experienced. She feels education has a significant impact on students and wants to create a positive atmosphere for those who struggle. She works towards that goal teaching at Mat-Su Central School. She plans to continue teaching for the time being. Dawn is the mom of a rambunctious 4 year old and enjoys playing with her daughter, snow machining, 4-wheeling, and being outdoors.
Phone: (907) 352-7476
Vicki grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington. After graduation, she went on to attend Western Washington University and earned degrees in Education and in Special Education. She taught 4 years of elementary school in Washington and has been with the Mat-Su School District for 29 years. Vicki enjoys seeing students grow to their potential and plans to continue working in the education field for the foreseeable future.
Phone: (907) 352-1356
Mrs. Gardner is from Palmer, Alaska and she has been teaching for 11 years. She is married to Joe Gardner and he is also a teacher. She has two kids, a 4 and a half year old boy, and 3 year old girl. Mrs. Gardner loves to run. She has completed 3 marathons and 15 half marathons. She also likes to hike, ski, fish, travel with her family, coaching cross-country, and cook. Mrs. Gardner graduated from Chugiak High School. She played basketball, track, and cross-country while she was in High School. She attended Trinity Western University in British Columbia. She was in Canada for five years and graduated with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from Trinity Western University. She also attended Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana for two years to complete her Kindergaden-12th grade Health Enhancement Teaching Degree. Her favorite classes were Outdoor Recreation and Social Dance class.
Phone: (907) 352-7485
I grew up in Arizona and attended Arizona State University. At ASU, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education and moved to Alaska a week after graduation. I landed my first teaching job at Adak Public School in the Aleutian Region School District where I served as the head teacher and the 6th-8th grade teacher for all subjects. In 2000, my husband and I moved to Wasilla and began teaching at Houston High School. I had the privilege of working at HHS for 12 years. In 2011, I obtained my National Board Certification as well as a master's degree from National University. My hobbies include horseback riding, hiking, camping,canoeing, and reading.
Phone: (907) 352-7460
Born and raised in Anchorage, Tracy headed to Vermont after high school, earning her B.A. in English Literature at Middlebury College. Upon returning to Alaska, she coached nordic skiing at West High, worked at The Arc of Anchorage, and earned her teaching degree from UAA. After spending a wonderful ten years teaching and coaching at Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak, she decided to take some time off from teaching to be a stay-at-home mom. During this time she was able to finish earning her M. Ed. in School Counseling and homeschool her daughter for the early grades. Recently, she has worked at Birchtree Charter School as a part-time school counselor. She is now very excited and honored to be working as an advisory teacher at Mat-Su Central supporting families in creating optimal learning opportunities for their children. For personal renewal, she loves trail running and cycling with friends and hiking or skiing with her husband and children.
Phone: (907) 352-1357
Kate Johnson was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and graduated from Dimond High School. She went south for college and obtained a degree in both English and History from Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. Even though she loved the warm weather, Alaska was her home and Kate returned to Anchorage to begin her teaching career at Service High School.
After getting married, Kate and her husband relocated to Palmer and Kate accepted a position teaching English at Colony High School. The Johnson’s welcomed their first child, a daughter, in June 2012. At the end of her maternity leave, Kate transferred over to Mat Su Central where she works half time with High School students and their families. Kate believes in the value of Homeschooling and enjoys her position as an Adviser.
Phone: (907) 352-7466
Stacey McIntosh grew up as a farm girl in North Dakota. She has 13 siblings, 11 of which are adopted from different countries around the world including Guatemala, Colombia, and Haiti. While attending Minot State University she received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and met her husband, Brian McIntosh. Brian is a history teacher and football coach at Colony High School. Stacey and her husband moved to Hooper Bay, Alaska in 2000 where Stacey taught 1st grade for three years. Longing to be on the “road system” again, they decided to move to the Valley. Stacey taught 7th grade language arts and social studies at Teeland Middle School for one year and then moved to 6th grade where she stayed for 10 years. Coaching basketball and volleyball were just a few of Stacey’s wonderful memories at Teeland. Stacey and her husband have two amazing children, Rylee and Bridger. Stacey is very excited to be here at Mat-Su Central and is enjoying visiting with parents about their children’s education.
Phone: (907) 352-7461
Ms. Alveta Mitchell is the music teacher at Mat-Su Central School. She holds a Master’s Degree in Music and has many years of teaching experience. Students and families enjoy attending the Winter and Spring Music Concert performances she presents with students. Because she is certified and offers a full spectrum of music classes, students have the choice of enrolling in Concert band, choir, general music, all levels of guitar, steel drums, and piano/strings classes.
Bio coming soon
Phone: (907) 352-7474
Laura Porter was born and raised in Anchorage and graduated from Service High School in 1996. She attended the University of Idaho on a scholarship and received a Bachelor's of Science in Secondary Education (Geology and Health) in 2001 and completed her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2009. After teaching science at Dimond High School for 4 years she moved to the Mat-Su valley. She has worked as a Migrant Education teacher, grant writer, Title IV coordinator, and Tobacco Prevention Coordinator. She was also an assistant volleyball coach at Houston High for 4 years. She is currently working on a second Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health.
In her spare time she likes to train for triathlons, enjoys reading, traveling, and trying out new recipes on friends and family. Riding horses is her main passion and she enjoys competing in hunter/jumper events but also likes to throw on a western saddle and go for trail rides.
Phone: (907) 352-7478
Len Sawyer grew up in Oregon; he earned an Associates Degree at Oregon Polytechnical Institute and then continued school at Portland State, majoring in IT and Business Management. Len has been the IT director for the Kuspuk, Copper River, and Yupitt school districts. Previously he worked for Apple and IBM, traveling all over Alaska installing local and wide-area networks. Len has worked in the Mat-Su School District for 10 years and is now Mat-Su Central School’s Technologist. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, 4-wheeling, and fishing. His favorite expression is “never substitute fear for reason.” In the future, he’d like to live on a sailboat in a tropical location.
Phone: (907) 352-7473
Jay Webber was born and raised in Idaho. After working in L.A. for an Engineering company he decided to come to Alaska. He worked in construction and noticed teachers working with kids in various towns and villages all across Alaska. When the economy failed in 1989 he went to college at UAA. He got his Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a minor in Biology. His student teaching mentor was Mr. Klunder at Colony Middle School. Jay went on to get his Master’s Degree at Western Oregon University. He then taught at Colony Middle for five years and has been at Mat-Su Central School for 11 years. He lives by the philosophy, “carpe diem” (seize the day), and enjoys fishing, hunting and traveling. Summertime finds him on the salt water of Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. He plans to travel to Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand in the future.
Phone: (907) 352-7468
Alexei Basargin grew up on the Kenai Peninsula in Nikolaevsk, near Homer. While in high school, he confirmed that teaching would be his career by developing elementary science lessons and utilizing them with “live victims”. From UAA he received a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Social Studies. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Teaching. After college Alexei returned to his home town and began teaching. He taught various basic subjects at Middle and High School levels and found himself teaching alongside his former teachers and even taught his own brother. Alexei enjoys snowboarding, reading (especially international spy novels) and building toothpick houses. In the future he’d like to visit foreign places, such as New Zealand and China.
Phone: (907) 352-7469
Bio coming soon
Phone: (907) 352-7453
Fax: (907) 352-7482
Jennifer was born and raised in Palmer, AK where she attended school and later earned her GED and certificate of Office Administration at the Alaska Job Corps Center. She has traveled the West Coast and although she hasn’t lived anywhere else, her heart resides here in the Mat-Su Valley, where she intends to raise her two wonderful daughters, who both currently attend a local elementary school. In her spare time you’ll find her with her kids drawing with chalk on the pavement, riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, or watching the Alaska Aces at the Sullivan Arena. She has a timeshare in Las Vegas that she frequents during the spring to watch the Alaska Aces play the Las Vegas Wranglers. GO ACES!
Phone: (907) 352-7463
Michelle Boyden has lived in Alaska since she was 10. She received both her Bachelors and Masters of Education in Counseling and Guidance from UAA. Her first teaching assignment was at Baxter Elementary school in the classroom next to her own 5th grade teacher! She's taught for 13 years, including 8 at Colony Middle school with a number of the current MSCS staff. When the opportunity arose for her to be the elementary counselor for the District, she excitedly switched to counseling, where she was an itinerant counselor for Big Lake, Tanaina and Iditarod elementary schools for two years. She helped open Teeland Middle School in 1991 as a middle school counselor, where she stayed until 2010 when she went back to teaching sixth grade math and science.
Michelle's two children have had all their schooling in the Mat-Su district. Both graduated from Colony High and attended Michigan Tech for engineering degrees. Michelle's husband, Colin, teaches 7th and 8th grade Advanced Language Arts at Teeland Middle.
When Michelle's not working with kids, she can be found quilting, kayaking, or reading a good book (hopefully in the sunshine!)
Phone: (907) 352-7459
Johanna Burger was born and raised in Soldotna, AK. After graduating high school she moved to Anchorage to attend college at UAA where she earned her bachelors degree from the nursing program. While going to nursing school Johanna worked for an Assisted Living home in Anchorage and continued on there as an RN after graduation. She continued working there and commuting to Anchorage until her second child was born. At that point she decided it was time to work less and spend more time at home with the kiddos. Johanna then became a substitute school nurse and subbed in the district for about year until she came to work at MSCS.
Johanna loves spending time with her family and keeping busy. During the summer she spends a lot of time playing in the lake or off on fun adventures outside. In the winter she keeps her kids busy riding snow machines and building snowmen when conditions allow for it.
Phone: (907) 352-7475
Paul Cossette was born and raised in Minnesota. Weighing 10 pounds at birth, his mother could only say, “Uff Da!” every time she thought about his coming into the world. He is a 1993 graduate of St. John’s University in Minnesota.
On Sunday, December 4, 1994 Paul landed in Anchorage AK with “two bags and a dream”. The dream: to live in the Mat-Su Valley and work in the MSBSD. After two and half short years of substitute teaching, coaching, and schmoozing Paul finally landed a job as a 7th grade social studies teacher at Wasilla Middle. After that first year he moved to Burchell High School and remained there for eight years. That was to be followed by an eight year stint as Activities Director at Wasilla High School. If the past is any indicator, Paul will be at Mat-Su Central for eight years as well (hint-hint; wink-wink).
Paul loves working as a “Graduation Coach” at MSCS. Helping young people navigate their path and overcome hurdles on their way to a diploma is extremely gratifying.
When not at Mat-Su Central, Paul loves spending time with family, especially his beautiful bride. He is currently trying to learn how to cook some new meals so that his “night to cook” involves more than a phone call and a tip for the delivery driver.
Phone: (907) 352-1361
Amie was born and raised in Minnesota until she married her husband Mike right after graduating from The College of St. Catherine with a BA in Elementary Education. Mike convinced her that teaching in the “Alaskan Bush” would be an unbelievable adventure…. and it turned out to be true! They taught and coached in Akiachak for three years before they moved back to South Dakota for a short stint. They missed Alaska so very much that they headed to the far North to teach in Barrow for six years. After about as much cold and darkness as they could take, they finally arrived to their dream destination of Wasilla in 2006.
Amie taught at Knik & Goose Bay Elementary for six years before enthusiastically agreeing to a job share with Stacy Strabel at Mat Su Central, where her kids were already enrolled. Amie begins her 19th year of teaching and loves being an advisor where she gets to discuss two of her favorite topics: children and education.
Amie’s greatest treasure is her family of 8 kids and Michael, who is a State Farm Agent and coach. The entire family lives and breathes basketball and also has a passion for music. In her spare time, she relaxes by cooking, working out, scrap booking, camping, and being inspired by non-fiction books and church.
As a Wasilla High graduate, Tina feels blessed to live in the Mat-Su Valley with her husband and four boys, finding ways to give back to the community that she grew up in.
Her work in the arts includes a broad range of approaches from medical drawings & stage design to installations & fine art paintings. Her work can be viewed in local galleries and in private collections. Her most recent work was displayed in July 2014 on the jumbotron at Times Square in NYC.
After earning her Bachelors of Arts at UAA with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing, Tina went on to complete her teaching license through UAF. Tina spent a year at Colony High for student teaching, and was trained at Manhattan College to teach Advanced Placement Studio Arts. Tina enjoyed subbing with the school district for several years, teaching private art lessons out of her home, opened Upper Room Arts studio in 2011, and is excited to be teaching art at MSC.
Phone: (907) 352-7458
Bio coming soon
Phone: (907) 352-7457
Bio coming soon
Phone: (907) 352-7455
Fax: (907) 352-7481
Henry was born in Juneau, Alaska and moved to Anchorage at age 7. He lived in Willow for a few years until he moved to Palmer, where he graduated from Palmer High. After he married in 83’ he moved to Chicago and worked as a bookkeeper. He returned to Alaska and continued school at Mat Su College, working towards an Accounting Degree. He has worked in the Mat-Su District for 11 years and been with Mat-Su Central School for 3 years. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his four sons and two daughters, watch movies, and hang out with friends. He plans to work for the School District until retirement, at which time he’d like to retire to the Kenai Peninsula, buy a motor home, and drive wherever he pleases.
Phone: (907) 352-7479
Jim has been alive for a while now. We will be updating his bio to reflect that...
Bio coming soon
Phone: (907) 352-7464
Karen was born in Montana and spent 10 years in Tokyo, Japan growing up. She graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, with a degree in Education. Karen has taught at Snowshoe, Finger Lake, Colony Middle, Larson, and Academy Charter. She admires what Aristophanes said, “by words the mind is winged.” Karen and her husband have two children one is a senior in high school and the other is in college. In the future she plans to travel with her family.
Becky was born in Indiana where she attended Ball State University earning her Bachelor's in Elementary Education. She moved to Alaska in 1995 residing in Tok where she taught in the Athabaskan village of Tanacross in a K-4 classroom. While in Tok, she married her college sweetheart and they now have three wonderful children. The family moved to the Upper Susitna Valley region in 2005 where she began her work in the homeschool community. She has also earned her Master's in Education Administration from Grand Canyon University. In her spare time, she enjoys perusing cook books, rafting, biking, and spending time with her family.
Phone: (907) 352-7450
Fax: (907) 352-7480
Susan was born in California and came to Alaska with her family in 1956. After spending time in Juneau and Anchorage, her family settled in Valdez, where they stayed until the Earthquake in 1964. She’s married to a 3rd generation Alaskan and has three children, two of which were homeschooled with Mat-Su Central School. She has worked for the School District since 1995. She’s glad to be part of the staff at Mat-Su Central because she enjoys helping people and being part of a program that is able to serve students in many difference circumstances. She looks forward to seeing the positive improvements and opportunities coming for Mat-Su Central families. She plans to keep working for the foreseeable future. She enjoys music, quilting, crafts, being a grandma, and is inspired by Veronica to do more recycling and re-purposing of “trash” into art and useable items.
Phone: (907) 352-7456
Fax: (907) 352-7481
Jim Renk attended Anchorage Community College and graduated from UAA with a BA in education and a minor in political science. He is currently working towards a degree in Accounting at Mat Su College. Jim has been working at Mat-Su Central School for 5 years as a Secretary and specializes in handling reimbursements. Jim says that substitute teaching has taught him to be patient with younger children, as well as his own kids. In the future, he plans to continue to work on his house, collect stamps, and take a vacation with his kids before they grow up and leave the house.
Phone: (907) 352-7467
Stacy Strabel was born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska and was homeschooled from 2nd grade on. She attended UAA, where she was on scholarship to compete on the cross country running and track teams. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Dental Assisting and a Bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Natural Science with minors in Biology and Geology. She had the opportunity to delve into Astronomy completing a senior thesis project on Quasars, and traveled to Kitt Peak with Dr. Travis Rector and other students to use a NOAO telescope. Stacy went on to earn a Masters in Teaching Degree because she wanted to share her love and understanding of science with others.
Stacy also earned and achieved a number of athletic accomplishments and awards over her college career and post college, including finishing 15th at the National Championships in the 10K for track, Conference Champion in the 10K, 1st place finish in the Heart Run, a 3rd place finish in Mayor’s Marathon, and the Dresser Cup (for the student athlete with the highest GPA) 3 years in a row.
Stacy has worked as a Science/Social Studies teacher at Family Partnership Charter School in Anchorage for grades 5-12, as a K-12 homeschool advisor at Frontier Charter School, and as a science teacher at Burchell High School. She is very happy to be back in a homeschool program since supporting homeschool families is something she is very passionate about.
Stacy and her husband Mark love running, hiking, packrafting, Nordic skiing, and having all sorts of fun adventures together. They both are involved coaching various running and Nordic ski teams at the high school and adult level. Stacy is currently in the process of recovering from an injury but would like to race competitively again someday.
Phone: (907) 352-7471
Mr. Welk has been working for the Mat-Su School District for 22 years. He taught at Su Valley, Houston, Wasilla High, and Colony Middle and now focuses considerable energy at Mat-Su Central School. He earned his Master’s degree in Educational Administration from National University; and also holds a BA in Education and English. Matt is constantly amazed at students who graduate despite the hardships and trials they have been given. Mr. Welk’s favorite quote is from Kurt Vonnegut, who said, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” He looks at life from the positive perspective. At some point in the future, Mr. Welk plans to retire to spend more time with his family; he enjoys fishing, and would like to spend his winters in California and enjoy spring, summer and fall in Alaska.