By Ted Land and Chris Klint
Channel 2 News
5:16 PM AKST, January 31, 2012
The Anchorage School District announced its selection of Jim Browder as its next superintendent Tuesday morning. Browder will replace longtime ASD Superintendent Carol Comeau, who announced she will retire in June at the end of this school year.
At Tuesday's announcement, Anchorage School Board President Gretchen Guess said Comeau would remain in charge of the district until June 30. Comeau said she would do whatever she could to assist Browder with the transition.
During the selection process, Browder -- a former superintendent of schools in Lee County, Fla. -- said graduation rates there rose and dropout rates fell during his tenure. His subsequent six-month tenure at Florida's Edison State College was marked by controversy, as faculty said they were concerned about his qualifications.
Guess, however, said after some research, the controversy appeared to be "a lot of local politics at a local college."
"We talked with him about it extensively and also had the research firm research it extensively, we talked to people in Florida at that time and are satisfied with the answers we got," she said.
Browder was one of two finalists from more than 150 applicants for the position along with Steve Atwater, a school superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Both Browder and Atwater traveled to Anchorage earlier this month for a lengthy interview process.
Browder will make $180,000 per year, an increase from Comeau's salary of $165,000 per year but still well below the national average. He will initially be on a three-year contract, although he said he'd like to remain in Anchorage for at least seven years.
Before Browder takes over, he will conduct a "listening tour" of the district for about three months.
Email Ted Land
Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV