Koliganek School draws local teachers

Jul 17, 2017

Karen Kapatak of Koliganek will begin teaching kindergarten and first grade at the school in her hometown this fall.

Karen Kapatak will teach kindergarten and first grade at Koliganek School
Credit Avery Lill/ KDLG

One of Koliganek’s own will be taking on a lead teaching role this fall. Karen Kapatak has been working toward becoming a certified teacher since 2008. This school year she will teach kindergarten and first grade.

“I had a teacher that inspired me to work with younger kids,” says Kapatak. “I just love when I teach a kid something and they get it. It’s a lot of fun. I have always wanted to teach here. I know everyone here, and all the kids I know. I’m practically related to most of the village.”

Anastasia McDowell also grew up in Koliganek and teaches there. She has taught fourth and fifth grade in the village for three years. Last fall she completed a master’s degree in education from the University of Alaska Southeast. Both McDowell and Karen Kapatak say that local teachers bring needed continuity to the classroom.

Anastasia McDowell has taught at Koliganek School for three years.
Credit Avery Lill/ KDLG

“The most important thing is the stability for the kids. They know who to expect as a teacher the next following years and the strength of the elementary has really gone up, their strength, their motivation, their work ethic and really trying their best in all the subjects,” says McDowell.

Kapatak is filling the spot of another Koliganek teacher, Genevieve Kapatak, who is moving to Fairbanks after teaching two years in her hometown.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.