Tom Williams

Age: 65

How many years have you lived in Sitka and in Alaska? Total time – 5.5 years. I lived here in the ’80s

Occupation: Retired

Family: Cathy, my wife of 43 years; 2 sons and their fabulous wives, and 5 grandchildren.

Community involvement, past and present:
Since returning to Sitka (May ’22) I haven’t had any community involvement.

Previous government or other relevant experience:
As a City Administrator, and Department Director, I worked with local officials providing information for policy development. Also, conducted and participated in focus groups and public forums concerning community issues.


Have you previously run for public office? When and what office?
No. My previous work was for local government which restricted or prohibited holding local office.

Why are you running for a seat on the Sitka School Board this year?
To be part of the team that improves the education experience for our youth, teachers, and staff through academic achievement, activities, and social interaction.

What are your top priorities if elected? 
Address deferred maintenance of our facilities; ensure our teachers and staff receive adequate compensation; maximize funds that will provide for activities.


Ballot Prop 2

Sitka voters will be asked to dedicate a one-percent seasonal sales tax to support the repair of school buildings. Do you support this proposal? Why or why not?

Yes. The additional funding will provide the ability to address both critical and routine repairs and maintenance without jeopardizing funding for operations, activities, or staffing.

Without preventative and continuous maintenance our facilities will experience failures. Repairs that require immediate action often cost significantly more because of expedited shipping, availability of labor, cost of materials and equipment that could have been sourced competitively, and other cost saving opportunities.


Ballot Prop 1

Sitka voters will consider amending the charter to allow municipal employees (but not school district employees) to serve on the Sitka School Board. Do you support this proposal? Why or why not?

Yes. If the purpose is to increase the opportunity for more candidates for the Board, it seems there are enough potential candidates in the community already. The concern I have heard from several people is conflict of interest. Municipal employees may have a vested interest in a decision before the Board. However, this concern could apply to any elected official.



Student Activities Funding

This summer a number of school staff and parents complained to the board that student  activities funds were not being properly distributed. Do you have any thoughts on how to correct this perception?

Transparency. The Board may be able to do a better job of showing how the funds are distributed during public forums. I believe our finance folks will be able to present the budget processes more effectively in the coming cycles.

Gender Identity 

The Alaska Board of Education is considering a ban on the participation of transgender students in sports and activities under their gender identity (except on multi-gender teams, or under their identity assigned at birth). Although this issue has yet to come before Sitka’s school board, do you have a position or a point of view that would guide your thinking?


I don’t believe we should have biological males competing against biological females. I certainly don’t believe they should share dressing and showering areas.


Budget Priorities

In building its budgets, the Sitka School Board typically has to balance academics, activities, and class size (also called pupil-teacher ratio, or PTRs). In your view, should any of these three areas receive more weight?


Great question! I would have included facilities as well, as this is an important budget area. These areas are all related. This is a complicated question that requires more depth in a response than this opportunity provides. In short, the primary purpose of schools is academics. But academic performance relies on adequate facilities (classrooms, equipment and materials, etc.). It also requires social development from activities. To achieve the level of accomplishment we want from our schools, we need the appropriate class size. To make the hard decisions, the Board will need to rely on the input from the stakeholders. Parents, teachers, staff, and the community will all have valuable contributions. I am confident that the Board will make the best decisions because of the processes.