Awards & Recognition

Alaska Afterschool Champion

The Alaska Afterschool Champion Award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure access to high-quality afterschool programing. This individual exemplifies extraordinary dedication to our field and was selected by the Alaska Afterschool Conference Planning Committee.

2018 Alaska Afterschool Champions: Sen. Cathy Giessel & Rep. Matt Claman

In the spring of 2018, Senator Giessel and Representative Claman lead a successful legislative effort to create the Alaska Marijuana Education and Treatment Fund, which established the Positive Youth Development Afterschool Grant Program. This new grant program will expand access to afterschool and summer learning programs for the 45,000 kids in Alaska waiting to be engaged in positive out-of-school-time activities. Research shows that youth engaged in high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs are less likely to engage in risk behaviors, such as substance use.

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2017 Alaska Afterschool Champion: Dale Austermuhl


Dale Austermuhl has been publicly sharing his family’s afterschool story to help save federal funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC). Dale has spoken at local events, was featured in national outreach videos, spoke on Capitol Hill, and engaged our federal delegates in Washington D.C. Dale’s daughter, Eva, participated in the 21st CCLC program at Joy Elementary in Fairbanks. In his own words, “This afterschool program has had a phenomenal impact on our family. It’s indescribable.”


2016 Alaska Afterschool Champion: Barb Dubovich


Barb Dubovich began her career as an elementary school teacher in rural Alaska.  Just 35 short years ago she started at Camp Fire Alaska as a site director at one of the first afterschool programs the agency offered. Barb spent more than 20 years growing Camp Fire’s programs and has for the last 13 years provided leadership as the agency’s CEO. 


She holds a Master of Arts in Education, with a concentration in youth development, and is a recognized YWCA Woman of Achievement. In past years, she served on the National Afterschool Alliance Board of Directors and has held both local and national leadership professional roles. As a strong advocate and voice for children and their families in Alaska, she has worked passionately to ensure all youth have access to nurturing and supportive out-of-school time environments.


2016 Alaska Afterschool Champion: Kevin Ritchie

Kevin Ritchie has been a tireless advocate for Juneau’s youth. He has actively served at the director of the Juneau Afterschool Coalition, which launched the BAM (Body and Mind) afterschool programs at Floyd Dryden Middle School and Dzantiki’ Heeni Middle School. He is passionate about expanding access to afterschool and early childhood programs throughout Juneau. Kevin was a founding member of the Alaska Afterschool Network’s leadership team.


Afterschool Superheroes

The Afterschool Superheroes Award recognizes outstanding afterschool professionals who step forward every day to help children in need, support academic growth, provide healthy snacks and meals, and serve as role models.


2019 Afterschool Superheroes

Kristina Rush | ASP Coordinator at Ticasuk Brown Elementary School in Fairbanks North Star

Drasida Basargin | STEAM TEAM Academic Coaching Assistant

Lynette Ortolano | Executive Director at Kids Kupboard

Kristy Peterson | 4-H Leader at Hope 4-H

Kiara Kearns | Child Development Leader with Campfire Alaska at Spring Hill Elementary

Click Here to read more about our 2019 Superheroes

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2018 Afterschool Superheroes

Deanna Baier | Bristol Bay 4H Coordinator & Tribal ICWA Worker at UAF Cooperative Extension Service & Bristol Bay Native Association

Jorden Nigro | Youth Development and Services Manager at City of Juneau Park and Recreation Department

Kyla Dammann | REC Room Coordinator at Kachemack Bay Planning Clinic

Marilyn Eggleston | Joy Elementary 21st CCLC Coordinator at Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

Brad Fidel | Science Instructor at Bureau of Land Management Campbell Creek Science Center

Click Here to read more about our 2018 Superheroes.

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2017 Afterschool Superheroes

Tracey Hupe | Club Manager at Boys & Girls Club of Eagle River, Eagle River

Missy Odsather | Afterschool Program Coordinator at Barnette Magnet School, Fairbanks

Janice Hadley | Onsite Coordinator at SERRC 21st Century Community Learning Center, Kotzebue

Thomas Burek | Executive Director at Trailside Discovery, Anchorage

Courtney Havrilek | Lead Afterschool Coordinator at Lathrop High School, Fairbanks

Click Here to read more about our 2017 Superheroes.

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