In 2000, Carol Comeau became head superintendent of the Anchorage School District. It was the final stretch of a 30-plus year career that included time as an elementary teacher, education advocate, and 7 years as an assistant superintendent. She focused her tenure on expanding protections for students, including a successful push in 2001 to add sexual orientation to the school’s harassment and nondiscrimination policy. In 2015, she was overjoyed to hear that the Anchorage Assembly had passed an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. The ordinance ensured transgender students—and all LGBT Anchorage residents, including teachers—would be protected from discrimination inside and outside the classroom.
“The mission of the Anchorage School District is ‘to educate ALL students for success in life,’” she said, quoting the motto she’s had memorized for more than 30 years. “The ALL is in caps for a reason. Every student should be able to go to school to focus on learning, not being targeted for discrimination because of their gender identity.”