Dillingham Elections 2022: School board candidate Heather Savo
Incumbent Heather Savo is running for re-election to the only open school board seat alongside challenger Dianna Schollmeier.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Heather Savo: My name is Heather Savo. I work for Nushagak Cooperative as an accountant during the day. I'm a mom. Of course, four kids — lots of extra stuff to do. I had running for Seat A on the school board.
Izzy Ross: You have served on the school board for a couple years now. Why are you running for reelection this term?
Savo: I feel like it's important to not have a lot of change over because it kind of sets us back as a school district as a whole. So I've committed for three years and I'd like to continue working because of some of the things that we've been working on, like in committees.
I actually just got back from a trip to work with the [Bristol Bay Career and Technical Education] program, I serve on that board through the school board. And it's something that I'm passionate about because it benefits our kids to know that there are other things out there besides a four-year college degree when maybe that doesn't fit their lifestyle or their needs or wants. Maybe they thought they wanted to be a welder after high school. And this gives them a chance to see if that's something they really want to do. And it's free to our students. And we've worked really hard, and the program is just expanding so much. There's just things that I'm already working on on the board that I'd like to continue to do. And also I like being involved in knowing what's going on in the schools. I have children from elementary school to high school, and just being involved to know that things are going in a direction that they should be.
Ross: What other efforts have you focused on during your time as a school board member? You mentioned seen some other things going forward — what are a couple of those things?
Savo: Some of the things — like I've worked with admin hiring, I've been on those committees. I've worked on the calendar committee. I've also worked with the strategic planning that they started right as I was getting on. COVID kind of happened right after I got on so there's a lot of things that I didn't get a chance to do or see or have a part of just because everything got put on hold and that took over the show.
Ross: During your time on the school board there's been some turnover and other challenges that the school has been facing. What are your thoughts on, moving forward, how to address those things? I know the school board has discussed grant applications for housing and things like that. But what are your thoughts?
Savo: So right now we're looking at partnering with someone locally to build housing. We recognize it's a huge issue. We actually talked about it in the last workshop — other avenues, like Grandma's House is up for sale, was that an option with the city to work with making that housing? With the grant that we're looking at through Alaska Housing Finance, it's just not something we can do this year. So we're hopefully going to put in an application and partner with someone locally that's going to build apartment. And then the school will actually hold the lease with the partner for 15 years. That will guarantee housing for teachers. It's kind of like first dibs to give teachers a chance. Because — you know, with the last story you held — we have teachers living in the school this year because we can't find them housing.
Ross: Right. Thank you for taking the time this afternoon to talk about where you're at in the school board and while you're running.
Savo: Thank you very much Izzy.
Disclaimer: Heather Savo has served as the school board representative on KDLG's volunteer advisory board.
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