Alaska Native charter school teacher named a finalist for state teacher award

Sep 14, 2018

Middle school teacher Danielle Riha, left, is the first teacher from Alaska Native Cultural Charter School to be a finalist for the Alaska Teacher of the Award. She and four other finalists will give presentations before the selection committee before the 2019 selection is named. Also pictured is school principal Sheila Sweetsir. (Photo courtesy Alaska Native Cultural Charter School)

The Alaska Native Cultural Charter School recently learned one of its teachers is a finalist for the 2019 Alaska Teacher of the Year.

Middle school teacher Danielle Riha is the first finalist for the school.

"I've been working here for 10 years. This is my 11th year since the school has been open," Riha said. "We've made this place safe; we've made it welcoming; it's a real family. You feel it from the second you walk in. The students know the history of the school. And they're proud of their school and where they come from and their families."

The school offers classes from pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade.

 "Our middle schoolers really get involved the community: they go to AFN, Elders and Youth Conference," she said. "One of our sixth-graders last year wrote a resolution that passed in all the villages. So they're very involved and they're very connected to their history, their state history, with ANCSA and they understand why they have corporations why they have medical care."

Four other teachers are also finalists. They include:

  • art teacher Jacob Bera from Eagle River High School;
  • third-grade teacher Ingrid Cumberlidge from Sand Point School;
  • science teacher Steve Hall from Houston High School;
  • science teacher Chohla Moll from Mount Edgecumbe High School.