This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

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Postby marymatt718 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:03 pm

There are 8 openings, but before you totally freak on me, remember, people leave Togiak because of things going on elsewhere, not because of Togiak. Read my post from July called PLEASE LOOK AT TOGIAK for an explanation.

Here are the current openings and why:

1. Kindergarten: Because one of our kindergarten teachers moved up to 1st grade when 1st grade opened because THAT teacher got engaged and is getting married in August.

2. 1st/2nd Combo class: Because that teacher is moving home to Montana. A job opened up in the town she and her husband owned a home in and in the school where she had done her student teaching. She had to go for it because jobs don't open that often in Montana, and in her home town? Too good an
opportunity to pass up!

3. 3rd Grade: She's retiring, but she isn't leaving Togiak. She lives here.

4. 4th grade: She's also retiring...for the third time, total, and her second time in Togiak. Yep, she took a break for a year, but came back because she
missed us. She has too many new grandchildren now, so I think, if you get this job, you'll be safe for a few years. :lol:

5. 5th grade: Because he's married to the 1st/2nd teacher and will also be going back to Montana.

6. CTE, etc: He and his wife want to buy a home on some property somewhere on the road system in Alaska.

7. SpEd (MS/HS): Because the guy in the job at present has been promoted to Dean of Students. He will still be here, just in a new position.

8. Secondary Science: This, ladies and gentlemen, is my job. Yes, I am leaving my beloved Togiak to be closer to a town with a vet for "my boys" who are
getting on in years. This is the only school in our district with a separate teacher for science and math. I have the largest classroom in the HS wing with a fully
stocked, totally awesome lab. I will still be in Alaska, so you can call me if you need help. My kids will treat you horribly your first year because you aren't me
and they have all gotten used to me...they did the same thing to me my first year, so don't take it personally. :? Just remember...they are tactile learners, so if you do lots of labs and activities, you will win them over in a flash. :ugeek:

If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them. I'll be here in Togiak until 18 June and then I'll be heading north to Galena, AK. Check out Togiak. It has warm friendly people and lots of great kids who need rigorous, understanding, kind, and generous teachers. Hopefully, you will be one of those teachers. If not, well, don't make me come back there! :x :lol:

Good luck!
Donna Matthews
Togiak School
Togiak, AK
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:27 pm


Postby macuser64 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:14 am

Hello and thanks for the great information. I was fortunate to interview for the SpEd position with Sherry on Wednesday of this week. I'm waiting to hear how it pans out but the information you provided this year and last year about Togiak really makes me interested. Thank you!

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:31 am


Postby marymatt718 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:02 pm

Hey Mary/macuser64
I sent a reply to your private message. Let me know if you didn't get it and I'll try again.
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:27 pm


Postby jblaile » Sun Apr 03, 2016 2:30 am

Good morning! You convinced me...and I have accepted the contract for the 5th grade at Togiak! :D Go Huskies! I am not completely unfamiliar with life in Alaska, but I am feeling a little daunted by the moving process. If you could give your top 5 pieces of advice for moving there to teach, what would they be?
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:33 am


Postby marymatt718 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:33 am

Top 5 pieces of advice? Hmmmm, okay, but I am a scientist by trade so I have trouble paring stuff to the bare minimum. I'll list some here, and if you send your email address to me at I'll send you the 15 page (told you I was a wordy scientist :geek: ) packet I send to all our newbies each year.

1. Sign up for Amazon Prime. Amazon will become your best friend out here. Also get some kind of physical address from the school (Togiak's is Togiak School, Togiak School Road, Togiak, AK 99678) because some things can be shipped to Alaska, but not to a PO Box.

2. Use totes, not cardboard boxes to ship your stuff or you will be sorry. Don't use those prettily colored thin ones or the clear ones. Make sure you spend the money and buy the heavier totes. Drill holes in the tops and edges to secure them with zip ties (unless you get the Sterilite Toughboxes from Target. They already have those boxes!) DO NOT CUT THE ZIP TIES!!!!! When you do, you leave cut edges that are just sharp enough to slice into an unsuspecting finger, wrist or hand, which could be yours or some cargo guy. Leave them long, and if the long ends bother you, tape them down against the side of the box. Limit the sizes of your totes so they store easily, plus you might be schlepping them up a flight of stairs if you end up with an upstairs apartment...not fun.
A note on cardboard boxes...there are very few bush communities with covered cargo areas. Most things come into Togiak and sit out on the airstrip for a bit or ride on the open mail trailer to the post office. (Letters and such are in waterproof bags), so they are not protected from rain. Cardboard begins to disintegrate when it gets wet and your boxes fall apart. even the priority mail boxes are out and exposed. I have a story about...okay I'll tell it, since you insist... My first year, one teacher got the bright idea to send all her rice, couscous, beans, etc in Priority mail boxes. (in her defense, there was a recommendation for this on the old forum...bad advice in her case.) There must have been 20 to 30 of them. Well, it was a rainy year, almost all of them got wet, deteriorated, and broke open. I vividly remember the stuff all over the back of the school vehicle, and the post mistress was "greatly annoyed" with the mess in the post office. This teacher had also not seen fit to line the boxes with an extra plastic bag so when the box broke, the bags then broke, and stuff just went everywhere. (It's not wise to annoy the folks at the Post Office!)
Don't ship UPS, FedEX or Priority Mail from the lower 48...too expensive. UPS and FedEx don't have offices here, so, as I have found from personal experience, they take longer to get here than regular mail. My family ships care packages to me by Priority Mail in those one-price boxes, and theystill take 5-7 days to get here. Use regular mail and SHIP EARLY, because your totes can take up to 6 weeks to get here. Separate your books and media and ship it all Media Mail which is MUCH cheaper. If it isn't of personal significance, BUY IT IN ANCHORAGE and mail it from there...less than half the cost of shipping from the lower 48.

3. Sign up for the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan...NOW, can also cheat a bit and use the school address for a Club 49 card, which you have to have an Alaska address for, but technically, right now since you have signed a contract, the school address IS your Alaska address....but definitely get a mileage plan card. You can get miles when you pay your cell phone bill (ask them to link it at the GCI store when you get your phone), when you book a flight on Alaska Airlines, when you shop on
I LOVE THAT SITE! It only takes 7500 miles to get a free flight into Anchorage. I just bought some things on mileageplanshopping in the last few days and got 3300 miles for printer ink (10 miles/$), Toms shoes (3miles/$ and Toms gives shoes to kids for every pair I bought) and some clothes (2 miles/$) there is half of a trip into Anchorage from Dillingham in 3 purchases I would have made anyway. I usually buy my dog food on Amazon, but there is a pet food site that carries my brand for about the same price. It will give me 2 miles/$ so I will earn 300 miles every month when I buy dog food (I have really big dogs with expensive taste.). I just discovered recently (so ashamed that it was a newbie who told me about it! :oops: ) but I am making up for lost time in using it now! :lol:

4. If you don't have a bank with a mobile app and photo deposit, change banks to one that does...and get a debit or credit card to use in the village. The village stores don't take checks, and cash is often in short supply, so you will need some kind of card to shop with. If you don't like credit cards, get a debit card. Sometimes you will purchase things for the school and the school will write you a check to reimburse you. If you don't have a way to photo deposit that check, you will have to mail it out to someone who can do that for you...very annoying. You also need to have this bank account before in-service because the district will ask you for a voided check to set up direct deposit for your paychecks. The only national bank chain in Alaska is Wells Fargo, but you aren't limited to them. I still have my Bank of America account from Texas, and I use their mobile app to deposit checks.

5. In your first year, COME EARLY. You are going to be in a whirlwind of stress for the next few months as you get ready to move here. If you get to the village, and this is ANY village, early and get settled in before the new teacher in-service, you will have a chance to relax, unwind, get to know your new colleagues, and become familiar with the village BEFORE your first day of school. (I think the couple who are taking over my newbie duties, and who will be contacting you soon, are aiming to meet all of you in Anchorage at the end of July.) It makes a HUGE difference in your mental state on the first day of school if you have everything unpacked, you have your classroom set up (and had time to order things for your class room, you felt were missing, from Amazon AND have them arrive in time), and you have had some time to explore your new place. Some may not agree, but I did that my first year, and had the newbies do it the first year I started this welcome wagon, and it made a difference in the camaraderie and the stress level for the entire year. After the first year, this isn't so critical, but in your first year, I highly recommend it. Others on this Forum may disagree, and that's fine, but my personal experience is that arriving early is preferable to going straight to in-service, then going to your village and going through MORE in service, then unpacking for a day, having one day to set up your classroom, and BAM! it's the first day of school, and you haven't even had time to go down to get your PO Box yet.

I think, hidden in those 5 are a few more bits of advice, but I did warn you...I am a teacher and a scientist...of course I am going to give wordy, detailed explanations!
There is a lot to think about for this relocation. Email me at (This email address is good until the end of May, 2016.) and I'll send you the information packet. I will do that for anyone out there who wants it. It has many specifics to Togiak and SWRSD, but there is quite a bit of "moving to Alaska" advice on it too. I guess I'll be starting a new one for Galena this year. :D

Congratulations on your new job in Togiak! I am sorry I won't get to meet you, but I am always here for (rather wordy) advice!
Donna Matthews
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:27 pm

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