Mr. John O'Brien, Superintendent of Schools


John O'Brien, Superintendent  

Contact Information:
Lisa Gabriel
Administrative Secretary
Superintendent/School Board

Strategic Plan - District Goals
Superintendent Blog  


Superintendent's Message

Dear parents, students, staff, and Kenai Peninsula Borough communities: 

For the past several weeks, a 20 person planning team is designing the safe start-up for school in August when we welcome all children and staff into the new 2020-2021 school year. Our sincere hope and planning goal is to open up all 42 schools for onsite and in-person teaching and learning.  

The Alaska Departments of Education and Health and Social Services requested every school district in the state to develop alternative plans in the event it becomes necessary to provide for safe social distancing measures, or a more drastic return to remote learning if the COVID-19 virus makes a strong return in our communities. Part of the planning process includes how we will be able to accurately determine community and school risk levels. Information and guidance will come from both the state and public health. The risk levels and the implemented actions in KPBSD may include:  

  • In a Green or Low Risk  environment, school will open on a normal schedule, and be as typical as possible with increased health and hygiene measures in place.
  • In a Yellow or Medium Risk  environment, plans may require safe social distancing in schools and during bus transportation, smaller groupings of students, the possibility of wearing cloth face masks in some settings, and options for remote work or learning for higher risk students and staff.
  • If we were experiencing community spread and transmission of the COVID-19 virus, this would trigger Red or High Risk  plans to be implemented which will likely result in the closure of some schools, and the need to provide remote off site instruction in that region of the district.  


In July, the KPBSD Board of Education and the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development will receive our draft plans for final approval. I offer a special thanks to the hundreds of staff and thousands of families who participated in the survey’s that took place in May.  

Our critical mission is to provide equitable educational support and opportunities for all students, all school year. For information and the latest updates about the KPBSD 2020 Smart Start team’s work, please frequently visit our KPBSD 2020 Smart Start web page at, or access it from the homepage.  

Wishing you success and positive impact,
John O'Brien, Superintendent


Learn more about PL, or read on:   

Personalized Learning in KPBSD

Personalized learning shifts from a one-size-fits-all factory model of education to better prepare students for the jobs and needs of their future. The design of instruction and the classroom allow educators to respond to the individual needs of students instead of expecting students to fit the current mold or adapt to unsuccessful learning structures. PL does not replace teachers with computers. Many of our teachers implement elements of PL in their classrooms right now, and we will now build on this foundation to create an even better learning environment. Key elements your child will experience include:   

  • Teachers integrate digital content, which allows for a differentiated path and pace based on individual student needs
  • Teachers use targeted instruction based on specific student needs and learning goals
  • Teachers use current and relevant data to help inform instructional decisions and groupings
  • Students engage in ongoing self-reflection that promotes ownership of their learning 

When will PL formally start in KPBSD schools?  

Every KPBSD school is doing some degree of work with personalized learning. However, the formal work of individual schools and teachers working directly toward personalized learning will be rolled out in three "waves" over the next year.   

  • Wave 1 schools began their work in spring 2017, and will continue in the fall of 2017.
  • Wave 2 schools will begin their formal work with Education Elements in the fall of 2017.
  • Wave 3 schools will begin their formal work with Education Elements in the spring of 2018. 


Personalized Learning webpage
KPBSD Personalized Learning Blog  

Personalized Learning FAQs