Koliganek, Dillingham school principals to depart at the end of the year

Mar 24, 2016

Bill Schwan is heading to Wrangell after four years at DHS, and Cody McCanna is leaving after 15 years in Koliganek to head a charter school in Kenai.

Bill Schwan will finish his fourth year at DHS, then head to Wrangell.
Credit Kevin Tennyson

A pair of well-respected school principals in the Bristol Bay area are leaving their posts this spring.

Bill Schwan says the culture at the Dillingham Middle-High School has come a long way since he became principal four years ago.

"I think probably the biggest thing is taking a divided, non-engaged staff and turning them into a cohesive team," said Schwan. "And I don’t mean I did that individually, but when you build teams, it takes a team to do that. And I think our staff has accomplished that, and we’re headed in a great direction."

Schwan has accepted a job as principal in Wrangell – he says it’s a move he’s making to be closer to family.

"Two weeks ago, I wasn’t looking for a job, necessarily," explained Schwan. "I had the opportunity to spend spring break with my son, and really recognized how much I missed the opportunity to spend time with him. This presents a closer, one-flight-away type thing, so that really was the thing that solidified it for me."

Schwan says Dillingham City School District is just starting the search for a new principal.

Cody McCanna, longtime SWRSD educator and Koliganek Principal, stopped by KDLG studios for our sports show in 2013.
Credit KDLG

In the Southwest Region School District, Cody McCanna has been an educator for 18 years, spending a few years as itinerant science teacher between Manokotak, New Stuyahok, Koliganek and Togiak before joining Koliganek full-time 15 years ago.

McCanna says there have been many highlights during his seven years as Koliganek School Principal.

"You know, seeing a lot of kids go on and get an education, and even the ones who stay around, just the quality of life that they have. And seeing the next generation of your students' kids now back in the building, it's just very rewarding," said McCanna. "And being a part of this community has been a lot of fun. It's a close-knit community with a lot of great people." 

Next year, McCanna will be the new administrator at Aurora Borealis, a K-8 charter school in Kenai.

Taking over the lead position in Koliganek will be Michael Lee, who was an assistant Principal in Togiak a few years ago.