Eagle's Nest Newsletter

Monthly Newsletter to the Aurora Elementary Family

Welcome to an Exciting New Year!


My name is Margaret Jones and I am honored to have been selected as Aurora Elementary’s principal. I am excited to be coming back to the military community to help serve those who serve our country.

I have been in education a little shy of 25 years and I began my career as a volunteer teaching assistant in a remote village in the Bristol Bay area. I soon realized that I found a love for teaching and for engaging students and I began taking coursework through the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I worked through college as a substitute teacher in the village where I lived and one of my first positions as a teacher was creating and providing content for an online delivery program for high school students in Alaska. I went back into the classroom and I have taught in the Anchorage School District since 2006 in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades. I later became an Instructional Coach and was encouraged to go into Educational Leadership. I became the Assistant Principal at Clark Middle School and truly enjoyed my time there.

As with anything in life, change happens. When JBER principals were invited into a meeting to discuss the relocation of Ursa Major Elementary, our first and most important goal was to keep all students enrolled at Ursa Major on JBER. I was not surprised by the resolve that Aurora’s staff had in creating a welcoming environment for Major’s students and teachers. Aurora staff knew, and understood all too well, how devastating this news would be to our teachers and families. As teachers at Major packed up their classrooms, Aurora staff rallied together to move their classrooms to create grade level teams and space within our building for new staff and students. Some of our staff had to double up to make room for our larger student population and we also added the 3-year-old preschool program to our school.

This year is already looking like a year where we will have exciting challenges. I am looking forward to what this year will bring and am excited to be a part of this new Family.

Margaret Jones

Principal, Aurora Elementary

First Day of School for 1st - 6th grade is August 18th

First Bell rings at 9:05 and Tardy Bell is at 9:15. Our school day begins at 9:15 and ends at 3:45.

The first day of Kindergarten is August 25th.

Meet our Family

Front Office

Principal - Margaret Jones

Administrative Assistant - Kimberly Buskirk

Secretary - Allie Paskin

Nurse - Amy Hollon

3 Year Old SpEd Preschool

Teachers - Julie Rahm & Jen Maple

Paras - Jen Dittbrender & Dolly Pequit

Primary Wing

Kindergarten - Amy Bragg, Samantha Berman, Amber King, & Brianna Lundberg

Kindergarten Paras - Rachel DeVore, Katricia Moody, & TBA

1st Grade - Jessica Wright, Julianna Booth, & Allison Weinzirl, Marna Johnston

2nd Grade - Renee' Wade, Christina Howard, & Jennifer Haupt

Intermediate Wing

3rd Grade - Michelle Eicher, Laura Reynolds, & Kathy Earhart (3/4 Combo)

4th Grade - Liz Larson & Kelsi Hagen

5th Grade - Cord Lindquist & Megan Poulisse

6th Grade - Robert Ritchey & Carey Newsome


Librarian - Theresa Pajot

PE - Eric Dahl & Andy Bydlon

Music - Kyle Drake

STEM - Ann-Marie Foust

Art - Margaret Hannah

Band - David Hagen

Orchestra - Kyle Lindsey

Special Education Services

Teachers - Stephanie Hertel, Brannon Shedd

SpEd Paras - Ruth Hansen-Peters, Gloriann Mcleary, Svetlana Kolodii

District Chair - Lauri Sinnott

School Support and Related Services

Instructional Coach - Deb Atwell

ELL - Chrislyn Hall


Speech - Judy Dyrenforth

OT - Kailah Happ

PT - Beata Grochowski

Psychologist - TBD

Back to School Night / Open House

Join us for our annual Back to School Night/Open House. This will be an opportunity for our families to meet their teachers and be able to go into classrooms. Our teachers will share their class expectations, grading/homework policies, contacts, and any other important information for families. If the weather is nice, we will start off with introductions on the playground with a cold treat and then move families into the building to meet teachers in their classrooms.
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Kindergarten Academy

Family Connection Meetings: During the delayed start week, kindergarten teachers meet with families and students to welcome them to school and talk about each child’s strengths and needs.

Kindergarten Academy. Each school hosts two to three opportunities for kindergarten students to come to school and learn in the classroom for an abbreviated class session during the delayed start week. These sessions allow children and families to practice school routines and responsibilities like pick-up/drop off, packing for school, and saying goodbye before the full-day kindergarten program begins.

During our Back to School Night, you will have the opportunity to meet your child's kindergarten teacher, sign up for a Family Connection Meeting, and sign up for one of our Kindergarten Academies held on August 22nd from 2:00 - 3:30 or August 23 from 9:30 - 11:00.

Meal Service at Aurora Elementary

We were notified recently that we do not have a Cafeteria Manager yet for this school year. This will impact the meals that we serve at Aurora. Until we are able to hire a Cafeteria Manager, Aurora Elementary will not be able to have breakfast service. For lunch, we will be providing students with a pre-packaged meal that will include shelf-stable milk and another food item.

If you know of anyone that would be a good candidate for Cafeteria Manager, please encourage them to apply. You can find more information about this position on ASD's Website.

Transportation to Aurora Elementary

As you may have seen in the news recently, ASD is experiencing a shortage of School Bus Drivers. ASD Transportation had to make the difficult decision to separate bus routes into a cohort system. Bus routes will be impacted city-wide on a rotating schedule. Parents will be able to check online on August 13th at 5 PM to find out if their child's route is affected and when.

I will be holding an Aurora Town Hall Meeting on Monday, August 15th @ 4:30 PM to give updated information and answer questions about bussing to Aurora via Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 979 7181 7079

Passcode: 376249

ASD Transportation Department currently has a hiring incentive for those interested in becoming a bus driver. ASD will also pay your salary while you go through the training program. To find out more information, check out ASD's Website.