Well done group projects require every team member to buy into them and give them plenty of focus.
That’s how the new Region 16 Comprehensive Center Alaskan Director Tamara Van Wyhe sees things. Or, as she puts it, “we’re better together.”
Van Whye took over her new leadership position on July 19, 2021. She brings over 25 years of education experience to the job, including the last two and a half years at the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
“I’m still wrapping my head around the job,” Van Wyhe says. “There is already a lot of work to be done related to engaging educators. There are some tremendous opportunities to bring educators back to the table and invest in them.”
She began her career as a teacher in the Midwest after earning her master’s degree in South Dakota.
Her teaching passion is language arts. One of her main goals at Region 16 is to help Alaska achieve the first of its five priorities: increasing student literacy rates.
“Honestly, I can’t think of a more significant or worthy goal to spend our time and energy on,” said Van Wyhe. “I know how important it is for students to be good readers and strong writers. I’m also a mom and a grandmother and I’ve seen what a significant role literacy plays in the life of a child.”
While Alaska is her main focus, Van Wyhe is looking forward to working with the other member states of Region 16.
“Sharing our expertise and sharing our resources can strengthen programs in our individual States and across the region,” states Van Wyhe. “We’re really invested in each other but also really invested in the work of the region and the work of the individual states. It’s an exciting environment to work in. I’m super jazzed to be a part of the team.”
The missions of each state may look different on paper, but they all share the goal of advancing education. Van Wyhe looks forward to learning from them while helping ensure that Alaska meets the objectives in its Education Challenge.
“I’m looking forward to the hard work,” added Van Wyhe. “There will be challenges but I’m really excited to dig in and continue to make really good things happen across Alaska and the region.”
She is a fifth-generation farm girl from Southwest Minnesota.
She lives on a 320-acre farm in the Copper River Basin of Alaska currently.
Her favorite vacation location is Northern Minnesota.
Her husband was once the largest pork producer in Alaska.