Anchorage superintendent is a finalist for job in Des Moines

Rosemary Shinohara

Anchorage schools Superintendent Jim Browder is one of three finalists for the job of superintendent of the Des Moines, Iowa, school district, the Des Moines district announced Saturday.

Browder told Anchorage school employees in an email just the night before, on Friday, that he is considering leaving Anchorage to be closer to a daughter and grandson in Georgia who "have been experiencing some very severe medical issues which have not gotten better."

"I cannot in good conscience continue to live several thousand miles away when my family members need me to be closer to them as we face these issues," he said.

The Des Moines district reported on its web site Saturday that Browder will compete with Thomas Ahart, currently interim superintendent in Des Moines, and Carey Wright, chief academic officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C., for te superintendent's job.

Ahart and Wright are scheduled for receptions and public, televised interviews with the Des Moines school board Monday and Tuesday, and Browder is scheduled for the same events Wednesday.

The Des Moines district is smaller than Anchorage, which has a budget of $720 million and 48,000 students. In Des Moine, the new superintendent will be in charge of a $474 million budget and about 32,000 students, according to a story in the Des Moines Register Saturday.

Browder was hired by the Anchorage School Board a year ago to replace retiring Superintendent Carol Comeau. Browder worked alongside Comeau from April to June 30, and became superintendent on July 1.

He is being paid $180,000 plus basic benefits.

Browder came from the Lee County School District in Fort Myers, Fla.

The announcement that he is likely to leave Anchorage comes in the midst of district spending cutbacks, with about 200 positions to be eliminated before the next school year. Nearly 100 of them are vacant, the district says.

Browder could not be reached for comment Saturday.


Reach Rosemary Shinohara at or 257-4340.



Des Moines school district announcement