AASA Central | Karen Gaborik, Superintendent, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Fairbanks, Alaska
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Karen Gaborik, Superintendent, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Fairbanks, Alaska

Alaska: Leaders Matter 


Nominated By: Nominated By: Lisa Skiles Parady, Executive Director, Alaska Superintendents Association


Karen Gaborik, Superintendent, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Fairbanks, Alaska

Karen Gaborik (https://www.k12northstar.org/Page/114) has been an educator in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District since 1995. She was named superintendent in April 2014.

Gaborik has earned numerous awards throughout her career including Alaska Superintendent of the Year, Alaska Principal of the Year and the Personalized Learning Pioneer Award. She has been active in the Alaska Council of School Administrators since her years as a building administrator and is the current past-president of the Alaska Superintendents Association. She is also a graduate of AASA’s National Superintendent Certification Program®.

In 2015, the Fairbanks Board of Education adopted a 5-year strategic plan with personalized learning as its top goal. In 2016, Gaborik enlisted the partnership of Education Elements to launch a district-wide, three-year effort to build and support dynamic methods of teaching to meet the needs of every learner.

Gaborik was passionate about utilizing a collaborative approach in which teams of education professionals in every school designed individualized classroom instructional models. She supported the development of school-based teacher personalized learning teams to lead site professional development, a cross-functional district personalized learning council to ensure alignment at the school and district levels, and a project team to support logistics and stakeholder communication.

From the initial design phase to the current reflection phase, education professionals have led the effort to transform classrooms and instructional practices so every student can achieve success.

This systemic focus on personalized learning opened doors for critical dialogue around student social emotional needs and creating a culture of equity in the district.

Exemplars of Leadership:

  • Demonstrated national leader among superintendents.
  • Evidence of strong instructional leadership linked with carefully executed strategic plan.
  • High profile of accessibility for stakeholders.
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