Commissioner of Education takes job out of state


Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy today expressed his gratitude and appreciation to Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson, who is departing from his role as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. Commissioner Johnson publicly announced his departure during the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development quarterly meeting this afternoon. His official last day is June 30, 2022.

Sources say he has taken a job at a college out of state. Dunleavy and Johnson have for many years been friends and fellow educators in rural communities and the move is not seen as a rift, but an opportunity for Johnson to get back to the roots of education. Helping to pass the Alaska Reads Act has been one of his achievements in the Dunleavy Administration.

“From the moment he stepped into a classroom, Commissioner Johnson has been a true asset to Alaska’s public education system. His accomplished background in a rural Alaska school district gave him a unique perspective to be a successful and thoughtful leader,” said Dunleavy. “Michael has been a friend to many and I have valued his insight and commitment to our future generations. I wish him well in his future endeavors and thank him for his many years of dedication to Alaska’s students, educators, and administrators. It is only fitting that we cap off Michael’s years of service to the state with the historic passage of the Alaska Reads Act which earned bipartisan support and will greatly improve the trajectory for Alaska’s students – a feat that could not have been achieved without him.”

Commissioner Johnson began his service as Commissioner on July 1, 2016. He previously served in the Copper River School District as superintendent, school principal, district curriculum and staff development director, elementary teacher, and special education program assistant. During his tenure as its principal, Glennallen Elementary School was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Commissioner Johnson also is a recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award.

“It has been an honor to work with Governor Dunleavy and the State Board to improve student outcomes in Alaska. He has always made time to support the work necessary to support Alaska’s students,” said Commissioner Johnson. “There are far too many friends, colleagues, and fellow Alaskans to thank individually. I’ll look back on my time as Commissioner with enormous gratitude. I will continue to support Governor Dunleavy and an effective public education system in Alaska.” 

Commissioner Johnson holds certification in Alaska as a teacher and administrator. He holds a BA and a MA in teaching degree in elementary education from Columbia International University, and a doctorate of philosophy in education and intercultural studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks


  1. When you think about what Alaska’s education industry did to “education” in Alaska, on this Minister of Education’s watch, it’s no wonder he’s deserting what looks ominously like a sinking ship.
    Seems reasonable to assume a suitably woke, teachers union-approved replacement’s already chompin’ at the bit, “send me in, coach!”.

  2. Thanks, Suzanne – this is the first that I have read that the Commissioner is taking a job out of state. Naturally sorry to see him go, but saw the celebration on the passage of the Alaska Reads Act, which I watched on Livestream. Everybody else out there seems to be speculating on reasons for people leaving, including James Brooks on the Beacon. Glad to see some clarification.


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