Position: Program Coordinator
School: Tundra Swan Academy
School District: Lower Kuskokwim School District
City, State: Bethel, Alaska
About the Nominee: Jaimie Kassman was nominated by a colleague, Jerry White. Mr. Kassman has been working with at risk boys at McCann Treatment Center and Tundra Swan Academy for roughly fifteen years. McCann Treatment Center (MTC) is a Residential Psychiatric Treatment Center (RPTC) located in Bethel, AK, which provides clinical psychiatric and substance abuse services for 14 Alaskan youth between the ages of 10 and 18. During his time at TSA, Mr. Kassman has taught hundreds of boys the skills they need to succeed as good men in remote western Alaska or wherever life takes them. Although he is not a teacher, Mr. Kassman possesses the knowledge and ability to be successful in the classroom at any grade level. His academic skills are put to the test almost daily as he visits classrooms and lends a hand where it's needed. He is a master at finding service learning opportunities for his students. The students volunteer thousands of hours to help the community, learning how to butcher meat, harvest and process fur, maintain conventional and hydroponic gardens, catch and process salmon, etc. Every service learning activity directly benefits the elders and less fortunate in the Bethel community and contributes to sustaining the TSA program. With a seemingly endless amount of energy, Mr. Kassman works long days and often works for weeks without taking a day off. His dedication to the boys and the program is obvious. The lessons he imparts make positive, life-long changes in his students.