By Melinda Munson

Skagway School Board President John Hischer was watching football when the congratulatory texts started rolling in. He won the 2020 MacKinnon Educational Excellence and Human Recognition Award. The accolade was announced on Sunday by the Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA).

“I had no idea,” Hischer said. “It was a huge surprise.”

The ASA gives out the state award each year to “a school board member who has demonstrated meritorious service to their school districts and communities.”

Josh Coughran, superintendent of Skagway City School, nominated Hischer for the honor.

“For nearly a decade, Hischer has been a visionary leader with the courage to make difficult decisions in the best interest of the district,” Coughran said.

Hischer has served on the school board for nine years. He is a licensed clinical social worker employed by the Dahl Memorial Clinic. He helped form the Skagway Opioid Task Force, conducts mental health first aid training and periodically teaches Parenting With Love and Logic, along with heading many other community initiatives.

“Even beyond his pledge to Skagway School’s success in education, John exercises patience, empathy, generosity and commitment to supporting all the people of this community as it applies to their overall health, safety and welfare,” said Jaime Bricker, school board member.

Hischer’s wife, Sara, added to the praise.

“I think the best part of him as a school board member is that tries his best to represent all families. Besides the work he has done on the school board, he is always working for the community. This includes time devoted during the weekends, nights, days off and even when on vacations at Disneyland,” she said.

Hischer said he feels “very lucky” to work with a great superintendent, school board and student body. 

“It makes being on the board a pleasure,” he said.