In 2000, Carol Comeau became head superintendent of the Anchorage School District. It was the final stretch of a 30-plus year career that included time as an elementary teacher, education advocate, and 7 years as an assistant superintendent.
She focused her tenure on expanding protections for students, including a successful push in 2001 to add sexual orientation to the school’s harassment and nondiscrimination policy.
In 2012, Carol retired and moved to Washington to be closer to her children. But her heart is still in Anchorage, and she follows developments in the city and school system closely. In 2015, she was overjoyed to hear that the Anchorage Assembly had passed an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. The ordinance ensured transgender students—and all LGBT Anchorage residents, including teachers—would be protected from discrimination inside and outside the classroom.
“All Anchorage residents deserve to live safely,” she says, glad to see that progress inside and outside the schools has carried on since she retired. “Safety in schools should be available for all regardless of their gender identity or orientation. And all adults in the schools should be able to work in a safe and nurturing learning environment.”
“The mission of the Anchorage School District is ‘To educate ALL students for success in life. The ALL is in caps for a reason. Every student should be able to go to school to focus on learning, not being targeted for discrimination because of their gender identity.” —Carol Comeau, Former Superintendent, Anchorage School District
Now, her attention is fixed on Proposition 1—which, if passed, would bring discrimination back to Anchorage, and even require schools to discriminate against transgender children. This, she says, would not only be cruel—it’s against the mission of the Anchorage School District.
“The mission of the Anchorage School District is ‘To educate ALL students for success in life,’” she says, quoting the motto she’s had memorized for more than 30 years. “The ALL is in caps for a reason. Every student should be able to go to school to focus on learning, not being targeted for discrimination because of their gender identity.”
That’s why Carol has signed a pledge to stand with fair-minded residents of Anchorage against Proposition 1, and why she’s encouraging all of her friends and former colleagues to vote against Proposition 1 when it’s on the local ballot in April 2018.