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Governor Announces Appointments to Boards

June 14, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced appointments to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee, University of Alaska Board of Regents student seat, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Statewide Suicide Prevention Council

Governor Parnell appointed Sharon Fishel to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council. The council serves in an advisory capacity to the governor and the Legislature with respect to what actions can and should be taken to improve health and wellness throughout the state by reducing suicide and its effect on individuals, families, and communities.

Fishel, of Juneau, is an education specialist for the State of Alaska working in the School Health and Safety Unit. She serves on the Mental Health Board as the representative of the Department of Education & Early Development (DEED) and is a licensed professional counselor. Fishel has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in counseling. A member of a family impacted by suicide, she is appointed to the council as a representative of DEED.

State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee

Governor Parnell reappointed David Berube, Teresa Sarabia, and Pat Wendt to the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee. The committee promotes statewide interest in the rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities.

Berube, of Anchorage, serves as the legal rights advocate for the Disability Law Center of Alaska. Previously, he worked for a variety of organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Alaskans with disabilities, including ACCESS Alaska and Fairbanks Resource Agency. He volunteers as a member of the Alaska Brain Injury Network and has served on the board of directors of the Resource Center for Parents and Children. Berube holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a bachelor’s degree in industrial and vocational arts from Fitchburg State College. He is reappointed to a seat reserved for a representative of a client assistance program.

Sarabia, of Juneau, is currently the program manager of the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program for the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. She worked for the State of Alaska for 17 years in various departments and for 10 years in various school districts. Sarabia has worked with Alaska Native students, primarily those with disabilities, in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. She is a recipient of the Oregon Indian Education Association’s Counselor of the Year award. Sarabia is reappointed to a seat representing an Alaska Native organization.

Wendt, of Anchorage, is a member of Hostelling International, completing terms on the national and regional boards. He has served as president of the Alaska Music Guild and the Alaska Council, American Youth Hostels, Inc. He is a former deputy director, administrator, program director, and training director for the Alaska Special Olympics. Wendt was executive director of Anchorage Housing Initiatives until his medical retirement. He is reappointed to a business seat.

University of Alaska Board of Regents

Governor Parnell appointed Courtney Enright to fill the student seat on the University of Alaska Board of Regents. The board governs the University of Alaska, formulates policy, and appoints the president of the university.

Originally from Ketchikan, Enright is working toward a degree in mechanical engineering and business administration at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is currently a research lab technician for the Alaska Space Grant Program. Active in her community, she is a member of the Alaska Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, Society of Petroleum Engineering, Aurora Borealis Rotaract Club, and the Honors Student Advisory Council. Enright is appointed to the board as a student representative.

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

Governor Parnell appointed Jerry Covey and Andrew Lessig to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. The commission administers state student loan programs and authorizes new facilities and programs for higher education in Alaska.

Covey, of Anchorage, is the managing partner for JSC Consulting, LLC. For 15 years, he has provided education consulting for K-12 and higher education, local and state government, health care organizations, military, and nonprofits. Covey is a former commissioner of the Department of Education for the State of Alaska, and he currently serves on the board of directors for the Alaska Performance Excellence Foundation. Covey holds a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Central Michigan University. He is appointed to a public seat.

Lessig, of Anchorage, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and is currently the student body president. He is a previous university ambassador and served as senator for the Union of Students at UAA. Lessig is appointed as a student representative.

State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

Governor Parnell appointed Gage Dabin to the State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The council works to provide coordination among state government agencies, local education agencies, and military installations. Their aim is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents.

Dabin, of Anchorage, will be a senior at Bartlett High School. He is president of the JBER Kennecott Keystone Club, publicity advisor for Anchorage Youth Advisory Board, student board member for the Inter-Disciplinary Honors Program, and Delta Company first sergeant for JROTC. In 2013, Dabin was chosen as the State of Alaska Military Youth of the Year, JBER Youth of the Year, and Pacific Air Force Youth of the Year. He is also the recipient of the University of Alaska Fairbanks business expert scholarship. Dabin is appointed to the council as a student representative.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Governor Parnell reappointed James Johnsen to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. The commission develops and disseminates information for higher education planning in the western states and provides access and opportunity for students from the 15 member states to share higher education resources.

Johnsen, of Fairbanks, is currently senior vice president of human resources for Alaska Communications Systems. He previously worked as the senior vice president of administration at Doyon Limited, the Alaska Native regional corporation based in the Interior, and he was also a member of the State Committee on Research. Johnsen has held numerous positions with the University of Alaska statewide system, including vice president of administration, vice president of faculty and staff relations, and chief of staff. His education includes a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Johnsen is reappointed to a seat reserved for a higher education representative.


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