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.
Brian Holst, Vice 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.
Emil Mackey, Clerk
Emil Robert Mackey was born and raised in Little Rock Arkansas. He moved to Alaska in 2007 after finishing his Ph.D. in Public Policy, emphasizing Educational Policy & Leadership, from the University of Arkansas. A lifelong learner, he later completed a M.Ed in Curriculum Design and Instruction from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2015. Since moving to Alaska in 2007, he lived and worked in Fairbanks (2007-2009), Kotzebue (2009-2013) and Fairbanks (2013-Present). He is married to Dayna Mackey and has a son, Emil Mackey IV, born in 2017.
Emil Mackey has spent a career in Public Service. Starting as an Americorps/VISTA volunteer in 1995, he has worked for the Southwest Arkansas Community Development Corporation, The University of Arkansas Little Rock, the Arkansas Division of Youth Services, The University of Arkansas, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Chukchi Campus, and the State of Alaska. He is currently moving to the private sector and plans to open an insurance agency in January 2020.
Deedie Sorensen, Member
Deedie was born and raised in Billings, Montana. She graduated from the University of Montana with majors in sociology, anthropology and elementary education. She later earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Graduate Endorsement in Special Education from Eastern Montana College. She taught in Nebraska and Montana before moving to Juneau in 1981. Deedie taught at Glacier Valley, Gastineau and Mendenhall River for her first 28 years with JSD. During those years, she was actively involved as a parent and teacher on Site Councils and a staff representative on many JSD Committees. Throughout her teaching career she was an active member of the Juneau Education Association. After retiring in 2010 she continued working as a long-term substitute in both regular and special education until 2018. During this time, she was able to spend time in many elementary schools and appreciate the programs and activities that made each school unique.
Deedie brings her years of experience to advocate for the best possible education experiences and outcomes for all of Juneau’s students. She believes that all students and staff need to feel safe and be safe in our schools and classrooms. Deedie is working to ensure that all student assessments used by the district are evaluated for bias and replaced when necessary. She recognizes that the district’s standardized reading scores indicate that many of our students are not competent readers. This impacts students at every grade level and every subject area. After forty years teaching children to read, she knows there is no one instructional method that works for all children. She actively encourages the district to develop and the board to adopt a JSD reading curriculum, provide training to utilize a range of instructional strategies and provide materials that both create and strengthen measurable reading competencies across all levels.