Letter: Dickens will miss Skagway

March 1954 – January 2010

 The following letter was submitted for publication

Dear Skagway School Board,
With a profound sense of sorrow, I must advise the Skagway School District School Board that I am unable to return to my position as school superintendent for the 2010-2011 school year. My continuing plethora of health issues will keep me focused on achieving a successful recovery for a very long time.
I will never forget the truly wonderful time I had for seven years while living and working in Skagway. My interactions with our amazing students, fantastic teachers and staff, supportive community members and the magnanimous assistance of our dedicated school board will forever be a highlight of my life.
I miss you and will always have a special place in my heart (pacemaker) for Skagway. I love you!
Thank you so much,
Dr. Michael Dickens

Opinion: Skagway will miss Dickens

Unlike any superintendent Skagway has ever had, Dr. Michael Dickens was smart as a whip, knew how to find money for his small district in rough times, successfully improved academic quality at the school, had an excellent relationship with teachers, staff, parents, board members, and the community, and most important, had a cheery disposition that warmed the hearts of the children in the school. They wanted to learn under him. He was the ideal principal-superintendent and it’s a shame all those long hours added up and his health probably suffered from it. He will be missed.
It is now extremely important that the district and the municipality not lose sight of where Dickens took them. Some may say the path toward a better academic school led to the financial predicament we are in. But that is not true. The enrollment decline is no one’s fault, no more than the rising costs of fuel and the state’s blunder with the teachers and public retirement plans a few years back. Times change, but quality education should not suffer.
The district has to move forward with two goals in mind: keeping academic quality high and encouraging a positive environment where kids want to learn and have pride in their school. That will take some creative thinking so we don’t lose good teachers. The economy will come back, and the kids will come back. Don’t make it so they wouldn’t want to come back. – WJB