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Meet the Board of Education Members

about 1 month ago

Brian Holst, President

Brian Holst is a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School and his parents and most of his extended family live here in Juneau. He is married to Estela and they have four children. 

Brian directs the Juneau Economic Development Council since 2008. Before that, he spent 20 years working internationally in community and economic development, mostly in Latin America and Eastern Europe.  He served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in small business development and has worked as an international consultant and small business owner. Brian participates in service groups, coaches summer soccer, loves bike riding and travel—especially to new places.

Brian is committed to the prosperity of Juneau. He knows that strong economies require great schools. He believes every student has potential and we must support our families and teachers in engaging students where they are and helping them develop their talents. He recognizes that we are fortunate in Juneau to have a community that supports education strongly. With tight budgets, we need to continue to expand partnerships to support youth. Wise investments in early education have a great return for society, families and the individual students and should be supported.

Dan DeBartolo, Vice President

Dan DeBartolo, a father of three, is serving his first term in an elected office.  Dan and his wife intend to see their children through the Juneau School District until they all graduate high school, and this was a primary motivator in getting Dan involved on the School Board.  Dan attended Southern Illinois University for his undergrad in Media and Business Communication and has an OE in Accounting from the University of Alaska Southeast. He is currently a Director of Administrative Services for the Department of Revenue at the State of Alaska where budget creation and oversight is his primary responsibility.

Dan is interested in seeing parent/teacher direct communication improved and standardized within the district.  There is a multitude of inexpensive, electronic options for this type of communication and we should be embracing the availability of that technology.  Dan is also interested in looking at core achievement and how we can improve our numbers in comparison to the lower 48. Our students shouldn't head off to college at an academic disadvantage, and closing that achievement gap is an important long-term priority in Dan's vision for the Juneau School District.

Jeff Short, Clerk

Jeff Short moved to Juneau in 1972 after attending the University of California at Riverside, with majors in biochemistry and philosophy.  He later earned an MS in physical chemistry from UC Santa Cruz and PhD in Fisheries Biology from UAF.  He is married to Wendy Whelan, and has two children who attended the Juneau school system through high school.  He worked most of his career at the Auke Bay Lab as a research chemist, retiring in 2008, and now works as a part-time consultant.  He and Wendy have supported and coached Academic Decathlon at JDHS for the last five years.  Jeff enjoys hiking, hunting, fishing, and reading.

Jeff believes that a strong educational foundation is essential for a vibrant and prosperous community.  While all the component parts of our public education system require careful management, some of the greatest opportunities for improvement are in K5 education, career technology education, and culture and language programs for Alaska Natives.  Our students who don't go to college are the ones who are most likely to remain in Juneau, and they need a strong educational foundation just as much as those who do go to college to lead satisfying and productive lives here.

Steve Whitney, Member

Elizabeth (Ebett) Siddon, Member

Elizabeth grew up in New Hampshire and attended the University of New Hampshire for her undergraduate degree (in Marine and Freshwater Biology). She moved to Juneau in 2002 where she since completed a Masters and PhD in Fisheries at UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. She is married to Chris, who works at ADF&G, and they have one son.

Elizabeth works at NOAA Fisheries for the Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment Program. Her work, focused in the Bering Sea, connects ecosystem science to management. In 2019, Elizabeth was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government.

Elizabeth is very committed to education and outreach here in Juneau and beyond. She co-founded SouthEast Exchange (SEE), a community partnership between local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals and teachers in the Juneau School District. SEE helps bring place-based and hands-on science experiences into classrooms. She also co-teaches a summer field course at the Shoals Marine Laboratory (off the coast of Maine) called Integrated Ecosystem Research & Management. Elizabeth has been the statewide parent representative to the Alaska Early Childhood Coordinating Council (coordinating programs and services for children prenatal through age 8) since January 2017 and was elected to the Juneau School Board in 2018.

Paul Kelly, Member

Kevin Allen, Member