The Wrangell Public School Board voted Monday to offer a contract to a new secondary school principal.

The board offered a contract to William Schwan, who is currently principal of the Dillingham Middle School/High School.

Wrangell Superintendent Patrick Mayer said a four-person hiring committee went to a job fair in Anchorage.

“We went through an extensive interview process with, I believe there were eight candidates, and met many people at the job fair,” Mayer said. “Mr. Schwan was interviewed and unanimously selected by the committee to be the candidate before the board.”

Mayer said Schwan has also been a high school principal in Wyoming, and before that, he was a special education teacher.

Secondary School Principal Kendall Benson is resigning after one year on the job. Wrangell’s previous secondary school principal also left after one year.

Board members said they were sad to see Benson go.

Superintendent Mayer also presented the district’s “report card to the public.”

He said because these are the first results from the new state assessment, the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP), there’s no historical data for comparing progress over time. But Mayer said they can see how Wrangell’s students performed compared to the rest of the state in language arts and math.

“The 700 score is the median that the state is using to say, ‘If you’re on the left-hand side of the median, you have some work to do, and if you’re on the right-hand side of the median, then you’re in the safe zone.’ So you can see in most cases, Wrangell is quite close to the median here of 700,” Mayer said. “And you can also see that in all cases, we are above the state average.”

The state’s department of education is scrapping the AMP assessment after this year.

The school board also continued to discuss its communication with the public, which came up as a major issue about a year ago. One response to complaints of staff and parents was a monthly informal coffee session for people to talk openly with school board members.

Board President Susan Eagle said “coffee with the school board” has not been well attended.

“We’ve had that now for four months. And we’ve not had more than two members of [the public] outside of the board members and district staff attending those meetings,” Eagle said.

The board decided to stop hosting those Saturday morning meetings, and instead focus on holding more workshops when dealing with contentious topics.

Board Member Aleisha Mollen presented the results of the district’s communication survey, which was another strategy for addressing community concerns.

School board communication was rated as “somewhat ineffective,” and most respondents thought there was not a change in communication from last year to this year.