Board of Directors2022-2023
Kate Hillenbrand, President
Board Seat: Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (Term ends with Office)
Kate Hillenbrand is a longtime supporter of postsecondary education and access, and has been an AlaskaCAN member since its inception in 2015. Growing up in Massachusetts, Kate moved to Alaska in 2005 and has been grateful and fortunate to call this beautiful land her home ever since. After moving to Alaska, Kate held positions at public and private postsecondary institutions, with responsibilities and oversight in admissions, recruiting, marketing, strategic planning, and change management. Currently, Kate serves as the Director of Communications & Outreach for ACPE and was appointed to the ACPE seat on the AlaskaCAN Board of Directors in early 2020. Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast, Kate is committed to the mission of AlaskaCAN in building and strengthening partnerships to increase the percentage of Alaskans completing postsecondary education.
Teresa Novakovich, Vice President-President Elect
Board Seat: Student (Term ends in March 2024)
Teresa Novakovich started classes at UAA in 1987 as a young adult. She dropped out in 1988 to marry and start a family. At the time, she felt that she had to choose between being a parent and having a college degree. She chose to be a parent thinking she had burned her bridges for an education. She was a stay-at-home mom for the next 20-plus years as she raised five wonderful children. Financial hardship hit Teresa’s family in 2016. She found herself working in an entry-level job with little hope of promotion due to her lack of formal education. She knew that she had untapped potential and had a lot to give to her employer and community. Teresa re-enrolled in UAA at 53 years old. Since then, she has received three promotions and is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in spring of 2022. Teresa has personally experienced the opportunities that having a college degree offers. She would like to inspire and help others in similar situations overcome barriers to postsecondary education and enjoy those opportunities.
Arth Brown III, Vice President-Immediate Past President
Board Seat: Non-Voting Member
I dropped out of college the first time and joined the Carpenter Joint Apprenticeship. Working full time, family and children at home, and after three years of evenings, online, and Saturday classes, I completed my AAS degree. I then completed my bachelors degree in Construction Management, again working full time. A career shift, I received an Alaska Type M Teaching certificate for vocational education. Attending UAS, I completed the MA in Teaching program. I then completed my MS in Educational Leadership. I have transitioned back into the construction industry as a Safety and Employee Development Manager. I am working to create workforce development opportunities and an employee development program for a specialty trade within the construction trades. I continue to teach through my current position as Adjunct Professor-Construction Trades at Iḷisaġvik College. I have a strong desire to give back to those who started in my same shoes. Everyone deserves an opportunity to thrive in life. At Iḷisaġvik College we say: More education, More options, More out of life.
Dr. Pearl K. Brower, Treasurer
Board Seat: Alaska Native (Term ends in March 2023)
B.A. Anthropology and B.A. Alaska Native Studies from University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2004. Masters in Alaska Native and Rural Development from University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2010. Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies, with an emphasis in Indigenous Leadership from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, May 2016.
Dr. Brower just joined the University of Alaska in August of 2021 and serves as the Senior Advisor for Alaska Native Success, Institutional Diversity and Student Engagement. Prior to joining the University team, she was the President and CEO of Brower Consulting Services, an independent consulting service around the state of Alaska. In October of 2020, Dr. Brower left the Presidency of Iḷisaġvik College, Alaska’s only Tribal College where she had been in administration at the college for 13 years, the last 8 serving as President.
Dr. Brower grew up in both Barrow, Alaska and in northern California practicing a subsistence lifestyle in both areas. She and her husband, Jesse Darling, have two daughters, Isla and Sindri. Brower was named one of Alaska’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2015, the First Alaskans Institute Young Alaska Native Leader in 2019, and received the 2019 YWCA Women of Achievement award. Brower is active around Alaska. She serves as the Alaska Native representative on the Alaska Postsecondary Access and Completion Network (AlaskaCAN), serves on the Alaska Airlines Community Advisory Board, on the Foraker Group’s Operations Board as Chair, as a Commissioner for the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE), a Board Member on the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Board of Directors, and serves her village corporation as a Board Member for Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation.
Leslie Vines, Secretary
Board Seat: State Agency (Term ends in March 2025)
Leslie A. Vines, born and raised in Butler, Alabama, moved to Anchorage in 1995. Early on, Leslie’s career path focused on social reform of low-income or socially disadvantaged adults, youth, and children. In 2001, Leslie began her career in the nonprofit sector with Nine Star Education and Employment Services, and her passion for improving opportunities for all people ignited. Throughout her 20-year nonprofit career, Leslie has leveraged her keen knowledge of programs and policies to provide professional development and community building to thousands of individuals in our community. Leslie’s passion for advocating for access to social programs for the vulnerable populations has afforded her the opportunity to train and engage some of the best-known nonprofits, Nine Star, YWCA, Campfire, Easter Seals and state department. She also has experience working with women who are survivors of physical, mental, and financial abuse. Leslie received her B.A. in Human Services minor in Business Studies from Wayland Baptist University. She also holds a master’s in human resource management, specializing in Organizational Development Wayland Baptist University. Since COVID-19, Leslie has developed a passion for cross country skiing and biking, while spending time with her three daughters, granddaughter. and dog, Buddy.
Board Seat: At Large (Term ends in March 2023)
I grew up in Florida and joined the U.S. Air Force at the age of 18. For 20 years I traveled throughout the world as an Air Weapons Control Technician. Realizing how important education was and the fact that I would need a degree once I left the Air Force, I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology while still on active duty. After leaving the military, I eventually moved my family to Alaska to work as the Youth Instructional Program Specialist on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER). In that position, I researched and obtained the Darden “Recipe for Success” College-Going Experience Grant for the youth program, which funded Career Nights and local College Campus Tours. I went on to accept a position with the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE), first as the Community Liaison and then as the Community Partnership Manager. In my last position with ACPE, I worked closely with the AlaskaCAN Board of Directors on various projects to increase the percentage of Alaskans who complete postsecondary education and career training. In my current position, as the Mat-Su Reentry Coalition Coordinator, I work with the coalition in identifying and implementing strategies that increase former prisoners’ well-being within the community and reduce the likelihood of their recidivating. One of these strategies is providing educational opportunities to inmates prior to and after their release from prison. I believe I now have a unique perspective on the Board regarding an Alaskan population that sometimes gets overlooked.
Board Seat: Community Organization/Non-Profit (Term ends in March 2023)
My name is Tiffany Caudle and I’ve been a proud Alaskan since I was 2 years old. I love the outdoors, my rescue dogs, and my beautiful family. With my background in education from a degree in Education at the University of Idaho, I have always had a passion for educating youth about postsecondary opportunities including apprenticeships. I have been working for a non-profit called Alaska Works Partnership that offers free construction training to youth and adults in our community for 12 years. As the program coordinator, I also do case management and enjoy working with our community members to help them gain skills that lead to better jobs and careers. It is very rewarding to work with youth and adults and offer educational and career guidance that can help to better their lives, and in turn better our great community. I have an ambitious, positive attitude and am always learning and working in creative and innovative ways.
Board Seat: Postsecondary Student Services (Term ends in March 2023)
Stephanie Sanderlin is an enrolled member of the Curyung Tribal Council and Bristol Bay Native Corporation shareholder originally from Dillingham, Alaska. Her parents, Jim and Jeanie Timmerman, raised Stephanie along with her three younger siblings in a subsistence and commercial fishing family with an appreciation for traditional values and a high priority on learning. Stephanie was taught that education is a tool for helping others and improving self; both vital parts of building stronger and healthier communities. After graduating from Dillingham High School, Stephanie attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa and received her B.A. in English Teaching. She spent a career in secondary education before moving to the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) School of Nursing to work for Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN), a support program housed in the UAA School of Nursing. As a secondary education teacher for the Anchorage School District (ASD), Stephanie managed a successful classroom through a balance of engagement, challenge, and constructive discipline, and served as a cross-country running coach. She also created two novel study curriculums for use District-wide, hosted multiple student teachers who got teaching jobs of their own in desired school districts, served as a Mentor Teacher through the ASD Teacher Mentor Program, and served as a delegate for the Alaska Teacher Delegate Assembly. In her work at RRANN, Stephanie has participated in the Associates of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing Science Admissions Committee, the Della Keats Program (a bridge program for high school students interested in healthcare career pathways) Selection Committee, and was a presenter at the Pathways into Health National Conference on the effectiveness of infusing traditional Alaska Native and American Indian values into student support initiatives. Most importantly, she works every day with students determined to become nurses, helping students discern their challenges and strengths and determine how to address those challenges and maximize strengths.
Board Seat: Registered Apprenticeship (Term ends in March 2023)
Suzanne comes from the Copper Basin region where she spent 20 years serving as the director of the Copper Basin campus of the University of Alaska, focusing on creative ways to bring education to remote communities and villages. In 2013 she became the statewide director for the Alaska Laborers Training School, providing vocational education and career pathways into commercial and heavy construction. She has a MS degree in Natural Resources Management, a BS degree in Geology and 35 years of experience in education and workforce development. She is passionate about empowering others and helping to provide opportunities through education that will help individuals to prosper while developing a strong, skilled workforce for the State of Alaska. She oversees three registered apprenticeship programs in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Southeast Alaska, which provides opportunities for those with little or no construction experience a pathway into a solid, high-wage career that includes full benefits. Registered apprenticeship is considered the other four-year degree, which can help Alaskans gain post-secondary credentials while earning a living wage: earn while you learn without educational debt.
Board Seat: At Large (Term ends in March 2024)
As the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE’s) K-12 Specialist, Shelly Morgan manages the early college & career exploration programs I Know I Can and Kids2College, connects schools with Early Career Explorer educational resources, and assists upper elementary and middle school classrooms with establishing AKCIS Junior curriculum. Shelly trains volunteers, teachers, campuses, and coordinators in program implementation and best practices. She currently serves as Highland Academy Charter School’s PTSO President, and a member of their Academic Policy Committee. After completing a middle college program during her junior and senior years of high school, Shelly earned her Associate degree in Biology and Multiple Disciplinary Studies from DeAnza College in California. She moved to Santa Cruz, California to complete her Bachelor Degree in Biology and Environmental Studies and spent six years working as a field biologist before moving to Alaska to work for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). While working with TNC, she managed the Board of Trustees, developed a volunteer program, and worked on conservation projects. While volunteering during the Presidential campaign season of 2008, Shelly was hired to the campaign, and shortly after began work in the Alaska State Legislature as staff to Senator Bill Wielechowski. With a young child at home, Shelly knew that her next career interest was to help others find and achieve opportunities, which led to her current position at ACPE, where she has worked since 2011. An avid gardener and student advocate, Shelly enjoys planting seeds, nurturing them, and watching them grow!
Board Seat: At Large (Term ends in March 2024)
Chuck Seaca (formerly Herman) grew up in Bethel and is now the Director of Youth Programs at the Alaska Humanities Forum, where he oversees youth programs including the Ilakucaraq Project, Take Wing “Tengluni,” AK|Next, and Alaska History Day. He attended Ayaprun Elitnaurvik (the Yup’ik Immersion elementary school), Bethel Regional High School (BRHS) and then earned a BA in Public Policy and Sociology from Pomona College. Chuck also holds a Master’s in Public Policy with Distinction from the Harvard Kennedy School. He now lives in Anchorage with his family and two dogs.
Dr. Alex Tatum
Board Seat: Business (Term ends in March 2024)
As Superintendent for the Kashunamiut School District, I administered a preschool-12th grade school district. Specific duties included: Budget management (federal, state and private sector grants and funds), implementation of board policy, curriculum development in alternative and traditional Yup’ik Eskimo arts and values; Grant writing, coordinating the district’s special education program and functioning as a board member and board chairman representing the school district in the Trust Insurance Plan for Southwest Alaska a consortium of over 40 Western Alaska organizations. A highlight of this experience was overseeing the transfer of the Federally controlled P.L. 93-638 school district to the state operated REAA school district of the same name. I’m presently working on two scholarly manuscripts. One on Alaska rural education (Title I is a major part), the other is on family travel and home school research titled: “An Alaskan Family Odyssey: Education on Wheels” … Having been trained in radio and TV broadcasting and having served as an on-air personality I can provide leadership and direction in all matters of media communications and represent the school district in community related activities.
Board Seat: Vocational/Tribal (Term ends in March 2024)
Angela Peacock is BBNC Education Foundation’s Deputy Director, whose mission is to provide support for BBNC shareholders to pursue educational opportunities, and to promote and preserve cultural heritage. Angela currently lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. She is Yupik Eskimo and grew up around the Bristol Bay Region living in Twin Hills, Aleknagik, Togiak, Manokotak and Dillingham, Alaska. Angela is married to Noyuk Peacock and has three children, Camryn, Aviana and Fin. Angela’s background reflects over eighteen years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, she has established a reputation facilitating programs working with Alaska Native Youth to better direct services to support students and connecting them to their future through job training, education, and guidance. Prior to her current role, Angela worked at Cook Inlet Tribal Council where she managed daily youth operations; developing, planning and monitoring of youth opportunities programs and directly worked with staff overseeing numerous program budgets daily for operation. Angela also collected necessary data, maintained and managed the electronic information for grants management and documented program updates as needed for reporting quarterly updates to grantors. Angela completed the Foraker Group’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management, Foraker is a recognized organization who provides guidance to nonprofits. Angela is a graduate of Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s Training Without Walls Program, designed for emerging leaders and she also participated and completed Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s PLANT program, a year and a half leadership program for promoting employee development. Angela recently served on the Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee where she successfully completed a three year term as secretary, the JOM committee met quarterly and discussions and decisions were made on where funds of discretionary grants from the Bureau of Indian Affairs would be delegated to, all of these funds support Alaska Native and American Indian Youth K-12 in the Anchorage School District.
Board Seat: At Large (Term ends in March 2025)
Marcy Herman grew up in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Marcy in now the Director of Strategic Projects & Initiatives at Cook Inlet Tribal Council. She graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast with a Bachelor’s in Business Management. After graduating high school and attending college, Marcy moved to Juneau with her family and lived there while raising her family. While in Juneau, Marcy served as the Director of Development at a local 8(a) construction firm as well as the Legislative Liaison at the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development for 10 years. During her time at the department, she was part of the team that helped pass legislation establishing the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS). In addition to the APS legislation, Marcy oversaw the Governor’s legislative agenda around education under three Commissioners. In 2019, she returned to her hometown of Anchorage to be closer to her parents. At CITC Marcy is currently working on a grant with DEED to explore culturally relevant ways to remove barriers in education for Alaska Native and American Indian students and expanding the Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) to a Super FabLab that will include expanded youth programs, entrepreneurship, and a community maker space. Marcy is passionate about education and students. She is interested in student outcomes and helping learners to follow their passion beyond K12 education.
Board Seat: Postsecondary Education (Term ends in March 2025)
Amy Bristor has over 20 years of experience in student services at the post-secondary level with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Areas of experience include working in the realm of career and technical education in promoting occupational endorsements through associate degrees, Tech Prep, professional development and continuing education units, admissions, scholarships, and advising. Currently, she is focused on dual enrollment as the coordinator of the Alaska Advantage program which is a virtual middle college model for students around the state of Alaska. Her passion lies in helping students find the program or educational journey that works for them, as well as coaching students and families through the web that navigating post-secondary education can sometimes feel like.
Bessie Lea Weston
Board Seat: Rural Alaska (Term ends in March 2025)
Bessie L. Weston is a Cup’ig Alaskan from the community of Mekoryuk on Nunivak Island. She is the result of public rural education in Mekoryuk and Bethel. After high school she earned a vocational diploma, three associate of applied science degrees and one bachelor of science degree. Bessie’s work experiences are in industries/areas of automotive, oil and gas, gold exploration camp support, university administrative support, tribal programs and administration, grant writing on a rural municipal level and current public service as a Board of Education member for the Lower Kuskokwim School District. Her education and experiences have been successful due to scholarships, internships, hard work and the love for learning. One of the outcomes of Bessie’s education and experiences has been an understanding of the importance of postsecondary education and a personal desire to encourage and support pursuits and completion of postsecondary education.
Board Seat: Secondary Education (Term ends in March 2025)
Missy Fraze is the CTE Director from the Anchorage School District. In her role as the CTE Director, Missy has implemented several new dual enrollment programs in Aviation Technology, Certified Nurse Assistant and Engineering. She is responsible for overseeing CTE programs across 10 middle schools, 8 comprehensive high schools, 1 technical high school and 2 alternative schools. Missy is a co-lead for the Career, College and Life Ready initiative in the Anchorage School District. She was recently selected as the Alaska ACTE Leader of the Year and the Project Lead the Way National Administrator of the Year. Missy served as the President for the Alaska ACTE Board and is an active member of the National Association for Career and Technical Education.