Nome-Beltz High School will get a new principal
The Nome Public School District has signed Jay Thomas to be the new principal at Nome-Beltz High School. Mr. Thomas is currently principal at Mountain Village. He has been principal in Teller, at Unalakleet and at Ipalook Elementary on the North Slope.
“I feel comfortable and confident that he’s going to do well here,” said Superintendent Jamie Burgess. “He’s familiar with the region and the culture and he has a lot of contacts already.”
Current Nome-Beltz Principal Jon Berkeley is headed to Valdez. He has been a principal at Nome-Beltz for three and a half years and has been with the school district in Nome since 2004.
“We advertised,” said Burgess, on how the search for the new principal began. “In this case, myself and our HR and Mr. Berkeley, the outgoing principal who is leaving on excellent terms, went through the applicants and ended up selecting four for the position.”
A hiring committee was assembled. It included NES Principal Elizabeth Korenek-Johnson and teachers and parents from Nome-Beltz. “We had students from the high school on the committee,” she said. All four candidates were interviewed on Skype and then the committee was asked to recommend one or two. “In this case they selected two finalists and I did the interview with both of those and made the final selection.”
Mr. Thomas visited Nome last week and met with teachers and administrators as well as students. “His focus is more on supporting teachers so they can be the best they possibly can,” said Jamie Burgess. “He has high expectations for himself and high expectations for others. He’s familiar with some of the things we’re working on such as Professional Learning Communities and Kagan. He’ll be participating in the Kagan training along with other new staff this fall. He did a great job when he was at Teller. He really addressed some student achievement issues and brought up the scores when he was there. He’s good with relationships with the parents and everything we heard from the staff is very good.”
Current principal Jon Berkeley praises Nome for its dynamic atmosphere. “There’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of great stuff going on,” he said. “I feel fortunate to have worked with staff that were engaged with the students.”
Of the new principal Mr. Berkeley had only good things to say. “He’s got rural Alaska experience, probably 12 to 13 years and the admin level. I know he’s been to Barrow. He’s been with BSSD and he’s currently in Mountain Village. To me just on the initial impression it seems like he’s a good fit for Nome.”