OPINION: Looking forward to a new school year in Anchorage

Hello, Anchorage!

I hope you are enjoying this last stretch of summer break. My name is Jharrett Bryantt, Ed.D. I am humbled and eager to work alongside you as your new superintendent. I’d like to thank the community for welcoming me to Anchorage. You’ve given me great advice on restaurants, challenged me to get outdoors and even pointed me in the direction of where to pick up a pair of Xtratufs. I’m excited to be here for the long haul. I’m slowly but surely setting roots down in Anchorage.

As we prepare for the start of the school year, I am discovering the great diversity and strength of my new school community. The Anchorage School District, or ASD, is committed to strong student outcomes, starting with a diverse, well-trained staff to support individual needs and ensure students are college-, career- and life-ready.

I’m all about getting the basics down right. I value keeping things simple and aligned to the big goals.

District goals are the “what” we are aspiring to do. As superintendent, I’m tasked with leading our district to implement the “how” we get there.

It isn’t lost on me that it’s been a challenging couple of years. Before I came into the picture, this community navigated a flurry of unprecedented events in ASD, including a major earthquake and pandemic, both of which put us in survival mode.

This year, we have already faced unforeseen challenges, including the relocation of Ursa Major Elementary School students and staff due to safety concerns in the event of a large seismic event. We’re also facing staffing shortages in our operations department — particularly bus drivers. The district is working quickly to minimize the impact this will have on families and to convey information in a timely manner so you can plan accordingly. If you or anyone you know would like to join our bus driver team, apply here.


The theme for the start of this school year is acclimating to the future. Similarly to when you’re climbing a mountain and the weather conditions change for the worse, sometimes you have to race back down to base camp, just to ensure you have hope of climbing to the peak. Many districts across the nation are right there — at base camp. I believe that in ASD, we are ready to start the climb again.

I look forward to supporting you as superintendent. Anchorage is a special place, and I am laser-focused on getting things done in a way that works for our diverse community.

I want this year to be about embracing something that resembles normalcy and consistency, and my priorities are 1. urgently working to achieve the district’s goals to improve math and reading proficiency and college, career and life readiness, 2. retaining our highly skilled staff and systemically building pathways for ASD employees to accelerate and grow, and 3. ensuring we’re on a path to financial stability.

We have a big climb ahead of us, but you have my full support and confidence, and together, we’re going to reach the summit.

Please take some time to look through our Back to School page online for all the things your family will need to know to start the school year strong.

Are you ready for the new school year? I am!

Jharrett Bryantt, Ed.D., is the superintendent of the Anchorage School District.

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