Sitka | Before Wednesday night’s regular meeting, members of the school board and the community at large gathered at Sitka High School to bid farewell to Mollie Kabler, who stepped down from the school board after 12 years.

Kabler was appointed to the board in 1999, running the next year for the seat. She was one of the board members who hired Steve Bradshaw as superintendent. Bradshaw says her longevity has served the district well.

“It takes that consistency in a school district to have board members that are willing to stay long enough to see the progress that’s being made, or lack thereof,” Bradshaw said. “It’s been an outstanding experience having Mollie on the board that long.”

Kabler said as her own children became involved in the school district, she found herself attending parent committee meetings or volunteering in the schools. Eventually, she decided the school board would be a good place to make a bigger difference.

As her kids grew up in the district, Kabler says she did, too.

“And it pushed me,” she said. “I made mistakes in the beginning, and I learned a lot, and then I grew a lot, and I always felt like I was working all the time at trying to make the environment of the Sitka School District better for everybody. And along the way, I grew a whole lot, too.”

Kabler is also executive director of CoastAlaska, the consortium of public radio stations to which KCAW belongs. Her seat on the school board was filled by Tonia Rioux, who was sworn in to office on Wednesday night, along with incumbent Tim Fulton. Both won election on October 4th.