The name of Baranof Elementary School in Sitka will remain unchanged – for the time being.

The Sitka School Board on Wednesday evening (4-6-22) voted down a motion to rename the school Charlie Joseph, Sr., Awdigaan Hít, 4-1, with member Paul Rioux opposed.

The vote was largely a formality, as the board remains interested in a name change for the building. At its next regular meeting in May, the board will discuss how to proceed. Board member Blossom Teal-Olsen suggested asking the Sitka Tribe to form a name-change committee, and to propose three names that could then be put before the community.

Although there was much support for the name Charlie Joseph, Sr., Awdigaan Hít within the tribal community, there was not consensus, and some testified that the name-change process undertaken over the past year was flawed.

Andrew Hames elected to succeed Amy Morrison

When the school board convenes next in May, it will be under new leadership. Board president Amy Morrison is leaving Sitka, and submitted her resignation effective May 18. In a secret ballot, the remaining board members named Andrew Hames as the new president of the board. Vice-president is Paul Rioux, and clerk is Blossom Teal-Olsen.

Although next steps weren’t discussed at Wednesday’s meeting, if the board follows past procedure, it will soon solicit letters of interest from candidates who’d like to fill Morrison’s vacancy. The appointed candidate would serve until the municipal election in October.