Career Services partners with Alaskan school for teaching opportunities


Photo courtesy of Lower Kuskokwim School District LEARNING—Alaskan’s Lower Kuskokwim School District was established in 1991. For the last 18 years, the school district has came to NMU in hopes of recruiting new employees.

Ayanna Allen, Staff Writer

Northern Michigan University’s Career Services will be collaborating with the Lower Kuskokwim School District to host an information session about teaching in the “bush” of Alaska. The information session will be held in room 3301 of Hedgcock today, Dec. 2, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The session will go over important details on living and working in the “bush.” Common questions involve how cold the area gets, how expensive it is to live in the “bush”, what healthcare is provided and more. In addition to the information session, time will be provided for attendees to ask their own questions. 

The LKSD does roughly 70 job fairs per year in the lower 48 states in order to meet their need for educators. Alaska only produces about 18% of the educators needed in the state. 

According to the National Education Association, the pandemic did not help the United States’ already dire teacher shortage. Nearly 1 in 4 teachers felt that they would leave their job by the end of the school year compared to the 1 in 6 prior to the pandemic. 

Tom Briscoe, a recruiter for the LKSD, stated that due to the lack of variables in the rural villages that the pandemic took longer to reach their area. The district utilized the local Intranet for virtual learning and presently, most of the villages are back to in-person learning. 

Attendees interested in this experience will be able to enjoy smaller class sizes ranging from 10 to 18 students, secondary teachers will have around three to 10 and special education teachers can have anywhere from one to nine. The commute to work is a 3 to 5 minute walk and there are many opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors. 

“I have been stopping at NMU for the past 18 years either attending job fairs, doing info sessions or assisting with the ‘mock’ interview day held each semester,” Briscoe said. “We have found many top-notch candidates in the UP over the years and keep coming back for more.”

For students that feel wary of being so far from home, Briscoe said that the tight-knit community, culture and the use of technology to reach family makes it easier. 

“Bonuses to living in the bush are things such as developing lifelong friends amongst staff, learning about a different culture, enjoying all the things that Alaska has to offer and growing in different ways than you might have elsewhere,” said Briscoe. 

Those who are unable to attend the event and are interested in teaching with LKSD can direct questions to Career Services via email at [email protected] or phone at 906-227-2800.