Karen Melin

Karen Melin, far right, visited North Pole High School in 2019 as deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to help announce the winner of Alaska's Milken Educator Award, Rebecca Missler, who won $25,000. 

An administrator with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District from 2015-2018 is leaving a top job with the state of Alaska to lead public schools here temporarily as the school board continues to recruit for a new superintendent.

Karen Melin, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, was named interim chief school administrator.

School board President Tim Doran said she begins the new job in July. The Board of Education voted unanimously this week to appoint her to the position pending contract approval on Tuesday.

“We wanted someone who really understood education, who understood Alaska, and who understood our district and community,” Doran said. “She will keep us moving forward. She is not one to just tread water. I think this will really position us well for the longer-term search.”

Melin started her career in education in Missouri in 1979 as a kindergarten teacher. She taught elementary school in Juneau in the 1990s and later became a reading and literacy specialist.

During her time with the Fairbanks school district, she served as a teacher mentor, intervention specialist and assessment coordinator.

The state education department hired Melin in 2018 as a project coordinator and she was promoted to deputy commissioner five months later.

According to her resume, she oversees a state agency with 208 employees and a $293 million operating budget.

Doran said Melin, who could not be reached, is excited to return to Fairbanks. He personally called her references and was impressed, he said.

“She is a team player, a great collaborator and she has got a really nice personality — friendly,” Doran said. “She is a listener. One of the things that was described was if she knows something, great. If she doesn’t know something, she wants to learn.”

“There is an energy about her in terms of education, working with students and working with adults,” Doran added.

Melin and her husband, Bo, have served as senior associate pastors at True North Church, according to the church website.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMborough.