Anchorage library manager appointed to national education commission

Judy Eledge

A controversial Anchorage library manager and defeated school board candidate has been appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to a national education commission charged with working on education policy.

The nearly-300 member Education Commission of the States includes governors, state lawmakers, heads of state education boards, university commissioners and think tank executives.

Judy Eledge is a retired longtime educator, the president of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club and an ally of Dunleavy, who previously hired Eledge for education-related consulting services. The governor announced the appointment on Thursday.

Eledge lost a 2021 bid for the Anchorage School Board after several of her social media posts drew scrutiny, including one that denounced pandemic-related mask-wearing and extolled corporal punishment as a parenting tool. Eledge said at the time that some of the posts had been altered or taken out of context.

After Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson appointed Eledge to manage the Anchorage public library, she was accused in 2022 of making racist remarks and fostering a hostile work environment that contributed to the departures of several library employees.

Alaska’s representatives on the commission — which is charged with bringing together “the nation’s top education leaders” to exchange information on learning policy — most recently included Dunleavy, state Senate President Gary Stevens, state Rep. Andi Story of Juneau, and Alaska Board of Education and Early Development Chair James Fields.

Story, who co-chaired the Alaska House Education Committee until the beginning of this last year, will be replaced once House Speaker Cathy Tilton puts forward a nomination, according to Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner.


Eledge fills a seat that had been vacant since December and was previously held by Nancy Norman, a retired educator and education consultant. The seat is reserved for a member of the public.

Turner said in an email that Dunleavy appointed Eledge to the commission “because she has a long and distinguished career in public education” including 32 years of teaching in public schools and holding administrative positions in the Anchorage, North Slope and Copper River school districts. Eledge’s education consulting business that was paid $75,000 by the governor’s office in 2019 for work related to student reading proficiency.

Eledge, who has lived in Alaska since 1981, said she applied to join the commission because she thought “it will be nice to go hear what other people are doing” on education policy in other states. She intends to focus on reading policy and teacher retention, she said.

“I’m the person that has been in the trenches, working with teachers,” said Eledge. “I think I bring what’s most needed in most of these commissions — someone who’s actually been there and done the job that you might be making policy for.”

Iris Samuels

Iris Samuels is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News focusing on state politics. She previously covered Montana for The Associated Press and Report for America and wrote for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at isamuels@adn.com.