Terri Mynatt - Principal/Teacher
It has been a childhood dream to live above the Arctic Circle. The summer of 2013 the dream became my new reality. I began my Arctic Teaching Adventure in Venetie, Alaska at John Fredson School teaching the combination grade levels, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd. It is a wonderful opportunity to be a teacher here at John Fredson School. This unique opportunity allows me to be part of the children’s lives as they grow. I have learned so much from the community and have had opportunities that dreams are made of.
Teaching for the Yukon Flats School District at John Fredson School, has given me many opportunities that were not available to me previously as an educator. Here my students are able to combine scientific research, with local indigenous knowledge. By listening to our Elders, we all learn. Elders are the wisdom keepers that hold the knowledge of the past. By listening to them, we can walk with knowledge into our future.
I have been asked what is my secret to teaching in a remote, isolated area in rural Alaska for so many years. I have come to believe that being involved in the community, learning about the history and culture, and staying curious, is a big part of my joy that remains to this day. The best advice that I have been given, was to reach out and participate in the events in the community.
The experiences of teaching at Yukon Flats School District are many. The dances, potlatches, carnival, and Gwich’in gatherings are the icing on the cake!
I have embraced the many opportunities to learn about the geographical area and environment of the Arctic region.
The science community of UAF, NASA, ARCUS, GLOBE, and Space Center Houston, has been a gift for the students and myself. I wish every teacher could be as fortunate as I am, being a “Bush Teacher” is a unique opportunity that only a few have the “right stuff” to even try on. For me I could never go back and teach where adventure is going to the teacher supply store. I could list pages of things we do, hopefully the pictures share with you some of the wonderful life of being a bush teacher in Alaska. For me the best school district is Yukon Flats, and the best school is John Fredson and the greatest village is Venetie. We are the Venetie Wolf Pack!