Rau retires after 15 years at Seventh Day School

Jun 3, 2016

Rod Rau has been principal at the school for eleven years; teacher Sueal Cunningham will take over in the fall.

Credit Hannah Colton/KDLG

Teacher and principal Rod Rau is retiring after fifteen years at the Dillingham Seventh Day Adventist School.

Rau has been in Seventh Day education since his own school days; he has also taught in Sitka, Anchorage and California.

He says many parents choose the private school for its smaller class sizes and one-on-one attention kids get from their teachers.   

"This year I had six students in my classroom, grades five through nine," said Rau. "A lot of our schools are multi-grade schools, and many people think it’s a disadvantage, but it really is an advantage because students in fifth grade are hearing what the eighth graders are learning. There’s a lot of cross-age tutoring, so the kids are helping one another."

Another advantage he sees in the Seventh Day Adventist schooling is that teachers aren’t bound by regulations like they are in public schools. 

"That gives us freedom to choose our own curriculum, which is a Bible-based curriculum. We’re not restrained from having prayer in school. And that’s what the school is built on, being able to introduce Jesus to our kids, and I think that makes  a big difference."

Rau says he and his wife are sad to leave the community, but looking forward to doing different mission work elsewhere. 

Teacher Sueal Cunningham will be stepping into the principal position next year.

The Alaska Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists operates schools in Anchorage, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Juneau, Palmer and Sitka, and teaches about 130 students statewide.