About Us: Advisory Board of Cultural Knowledge Bearers
Moses Dirks —
Moses received his bachelor's degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and his master's in arts teaching from Alaska Pacific University. After receiving a degree, Moses developed teaching materials for use in Unangax/Aleut language classes for the University of Alaska's National Bilingual Materials Development Center. Continuing work as an Unangax/Aleut specialist, Moses served as co-editor for the Alaska Native Language Center's "Aleut Tales and Narratives" project. He taught Unangax/Aleut language, culture and history, and fine arts, among other disciplines, for the Aleutian Region School District. Moses was also an adjunct professor at UAF teaching introductory classes in Unangax/Aleut language and history, a teacher of various grades and subjects in Unalaska, and a summer culture camp director for the Qawalangin Tribe. Most recently, Moses has been teaching for the English Language Learners program, as well as Unangax/Aleut language and culture for the Anchorage School District.
Carol Lee Gho —
Carol earned an associate's degree from Ricks Jr. College in Rexburg, Idaho followed by a bachelor's in math education from Brigham Young University. She then earned her master's degree in northern studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Over the course of her career, Carol taught math and science courses at the junior and senior high school levels in various schools in the western United States and in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has also served as an assistant professor of mathematics at UAF's Interior-Aleutians campus. Carol has partaken in numerous councils, associations and committees, highlighted by a presidential appointment to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.
Arnaq Esther Ilutsik —
Esther received her bachelor's degree in elementary education/English from Fort Lewis College and a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1990. Following university, Esther served as a bilingual coordinator with the Southwest Region Schools and as a classroom teacher for various grades in the village of Aleknagik. In 1995, she became an assistant professor of cross cultural studies and Yup'ik instructor at UAF's Bristol Bay campus. After several years in various faculty positions, Esther became principal of the Southwest Region Schools in Aleknagik and later became principal-teacher in Twin Hills. In 2011, Esther became the Director of Yup'ik Studies for the Southwest Region Schools, serving seven school sites in the Bristol Bay area.
Susan Paskvan —
Susan Paskvan, known as "K'etsoo" in Denaakk'e (Koyukon Athabascan), is the daughter of Benedict and Eliza Jones of Koyukuk, Alaska. She is the Native language coordinator of the Yukon-Koyukuk School District, which serves nine Interior Alaska schools. Susan teaches Denaakk'e; develops curriculum, lessons, and materials; and coordinates professional development workshops for language speakers and educators. Throughout her eight years at Y-KSD, Susan has worked to document Native place names throughout the Interior; genealogy; traditional memorial songs and stories. Susan strives to continually improve her Denaakk'e speaking ability through constant interaction with fluent speakers. As an advocate for Native language, Susan contributes to a weekly Athabascan Word of the Week for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. These weekly articles promote village life in a positive manner throughout the year. She has been awarded the Doyon, Limited Citizen of the Year Award, the Alaska Association of Bilingual Educator's Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award, and the Alaska Federation of Native's Culture Bearer Award.
Qanglaagix Ethan Petticrew —
Ethan received his bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Alaska Southeast and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Ball State University in Indiana. After receiving his degree, he worked as a primary school and high school teacher in various regions of Alaska; including Bristol Bay, South Central, and Southeast. After teaching, Ethan served as principal teacher of Yakov E. Netsvetov School in Atka and, afterward, took on the position of curriculum coordinator for the Aleutian Region School District. He is currently serving as the Executive Director for Cook Inlet Native Head Start.
Yurrliq Nita Rearden —
Nita was born in Kotlik, Alaska and raised by her grandmother, Nanirquksuaraq "Theresa" Kameroff, until entering school at the age of six. As part of a large family, Nita was brought up with traditional Yup'ik values and learned teaching skills at an early age while helping to care for her younger siblings. She graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1971 and went on to study at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, receiving a bachelor's degree in education. After obtaining her degrees, Nita taught primary grades in the villages of Bethel and Kotzebue. She then worked as a language specialist for LKSD's bilingual department and, during this time, earned a master's degree in cross-cultural studies. She later became the district's arts specialist until retiring in 2011. Nita emphasizes the importance of keeping her Yup'ik culture alive among her family and community, cherishing the opportunity to help pass on traditional knowledge and skills to future generations.
Chris Simon —
Having grown up in rural Alaska, Chris Simon knows what it takes for education to be successful in that cultural climate. By encouraging students to become teachers in their communities, Chris hopes for homegrown educators, especially school administrators, to cease to be a rarity. During high school, in the community of Nulato, Chris was inspired by his social studies teacher. The way the teacher was able to connect to the students made Chris and his fellow classmates look forward to the class. Through all of Chris' years in the field of education, his focus remains on bush communities. It is his hope that today’s students become encouraged and inspired by their own teachers and that they too decide to become a teacher, a principal, or even a superintendent. Chris currently works for the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development as the Rural Education Coordinator.