The April 15 meeting was billed as a "final" budget hearing, but the School Board postponed a final vote until after the legislature makes its decisions on education funding. From left: Sitka Schools Superintendent Mary Wegner, and School Board members Tom Conley, Jennifer Robinson, Lon Garrison, Tim Fulton, Kaya Duguay, and Cass Pook. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)

Sitka School Board President Lon Garrison speaks at a meeting in April, 2015. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)

Sitka School Board President Lon Garrison is stepping down, after eight years on the board and five as its head.

He’ll be moving to Juneau to take a position as the School Improvement Coordinator for the Association of Alaska School Boards.

“I will be working with school boards all over the state, doing board training,” Garrison said. “And working with school boards and school districts that need some assistance based on how well their district is progressing with student achievement, those kinds of things.”

The Association offers training in everything from Robert’s Rules of Order to putting together a budget and reviewing curricula — in other words, everything a newly elected official might need to oversee a school district.

That new role will be a big shift for Garrison, who has spent the last four years as the aquaculture and facility manager at the Sitka Sound Science Center, managing the center’s hatchery and its recent renovations.

“It’s a pretty massive change,” Garrison said. ” You know, the school board has been a really important part of my life for the last eight and a half years, and I’ve really grown to enjoy it and love it. I think it’s one of the best things that we can do, and so it’s grown into maybe a next career for me.”

Garrison’s two daughters both graduated from the Sitka School District, in 2008 and 2011.

“I’ve been involved in fisheries for 30 years,” he said. “Maybe this is my midlife change.”

Garrison plans to submit his formal resignation at the next board meeting, on August 26. It’s too close to the October municipal election to put his seat on the ballot. Instead, the board will appoint someone to fill the seat for the coming year.

Meanwhile, board member Tom Conley had also announced that he would step down this fall, for health reasons. But in an email this weekend, he told the board that he won’t be handing in his resignation quite yet.

Either way, there will be two school board seats on the October ballot — those are currently occupied by Cass Pook and Jennifer Robinson, whose terms are expiring. So far, Pook and Sitka resident Ed Gray have filed as candidates. There are five seats total on the board.

The deadline to file for both school board and assembly is this Friday, August 7, at 5 p.m.