News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Sunday February 18th 2018



Up in the Air!


BSSD’s Travel Team in front of 406SD: Doug, Mark, Teresa, and Tim

By Dr. Virginia Degnan, Director of Program Support, District Office

10,000 hours! That’s 417 24-hour days, and that’s how long Doug Hemnes has sat in the pilot’s seat of the BSSD plane during his 11.5 years with BSSD. Known and respected as one of the best pilots in Alaska, Doug has flown students, teachers, school board members, fire marshals, and dignitaries to St. Lawrence Island, Diomede, and all around Norton Sound. He has been involved in flying students to almost all of our sporting events. District office personnel depend on Doug to get them to the sites for professional development activities, site evaluations, and community engagement events. He has an excellent record for his flying ability and his punctuality.

As Superintendent Jim Hickerson said at Monday’s celebration of 10,000 hours, “BSSD has a great travel team. Besides Doug, we depend on Tim Daniels to keep the plane in excellent mechanical shape. I can count on one hand the number of times the plane has been out of commission due to a mechanical problem. It just doesn’t happen. Tim is on top of it and does a great job keeping our plane in the air,” commented Hickerson.

Teresa Hickerson, travel clerk for BSSD, has the job of scheduling all of the flights for students and employees. “Teresa does a great job of juggling schedules and making adjustments as weather and other flights dictate. She looks for ways to make it happen,” Hickerson said.

The BSSD plane carries more than passengers. It also carries a lot of freight. Lonnie Ivanoff will attest to its being a lot! From frozen food to test materials to media center tubs to copiers and computers, the plane seldom makes a flight that is not full. “Lonnie does a great job of making sure that things get to and from the hangar and that the plane is loaded properly,” said Hickerson.

Supt. Hickerson gave a lot of credit for BSSD’s travel operations to Kerry Jarrell, former Assistant Superintendent until his retirement last year. “Kerry had the foresight to know that having our own plane was cost effective and beneficial to the whole district. He put together our travel program and it has served us well.” Hickerson also thanked Mark Vink for his oversight of the travel department now.

Cake and ice cream were served and Teresa handed out personally made “flight bags” as everyone celebrated 10,000 hours of safe flying. Way to go, Travel Team!


Judie Kotongan decorated the cake to celebrate 10,000 hours of Safe Flight Operations.


Teresa Hickerson serves the rest of the Travel Team: Lonnie Ivanoff, Tim Daniels, and Doug Hemnes


Darla Grediagin, Maggie Ivanoff, and Annie Woods show off their “travel bags” made by Teresa.