Advisory Board of Cultural Knowledge Bearers

Sperry Ash

Gguitka Sperry Ash —

Gguitka Sperry Ash received his M.A. Ed. Language and Literacy and Alaska Native Language Endorsement, B.A. Elementary Education from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK. He has taught in Nanwalek and Akiachak, and was also a co-creator of Sugpiaq DictionaHe was raised with his traditional Sugpiaq values and understandings from his mom’s family in Nanwalek. He was influenced especially by his late grandmother through her storytelling, shadowing her on land, and following her to church. Today he admits to not having realized just how rich that early education was in helping him learn about medicinal plants, local history, and respect for resources from the land and sea.


Shx'éi Nancy Douglas

Shx'éi Nancy Douglas —

The Shee Atiká Board appointed Nancy Douglas to another term on the Scholarship Committee, in November 2017. Nancy was the 2013 recipient of the Charlie Joseph, Sr. Cultural and Heritage Award for her lifelong commitment and continued support of Native education with the Sitka Native Education Program, the Sitka School District and the Juneau Douglas School District. She has worked as Sitka School District's Cultural Programming Director and Sitka Tribe of Alaska's Sitka School District's liaison.

Carol Lee Gho

Utuanna Carol Lee Gho —

Carol earned an associate degree from Ricks Jr. College in Rexburg, Idaho followed by a bachelor's in math education from Brigham Young University. She then earned her master's degree in northern studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Over the course of her career, Carol taught math and science courses at the junior and senior high school levels in various schools in the western United States and in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has also served as an assistant professor of mathematics at UAF's Interior-Aleutians campus. Carol has partaken in numerous councils, associations and committees, highlighted by a presidential appointment to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

Arnaq Esther Ilutsik


Nitsush Martha Gould-Lehe

As a mother of young children, Martha returned to college at age 30 and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She graduated Cum Laude and received the Dean of Education’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Study. Five years later, she received a scholarship to attend a summer institute at Kansas University to study methods in teaching Alaska Native and American Indian students math and science. She had to submit a culturally integrated unit as a final project. Kansas University wanted to publish her project along with four others, so they offered her two more summer sessions free of charge to complete a master’s degree, which she did. After 18 years in the classroom, she felt the strong need for an Alaska Native Charter school in Anchorage. It took three years of hard work on behalf of her and other dedicated people to see the dream come into fruition.

Qanglaagix Ethan Petticrew

Arnaq Esther Ilutsik

Esther received her bachelor's degree in elementary education/English from Fort Lewis College and a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1990. Following university, Esther served as a bilingual coordinator with the Southwest Region Schools and as a classroom teacher for various grades in the village of Aleknagik. In 1995, she became an assistant professor of cross cultural studies and Yup'ik instructor at UAF's Bristol Bay campus. After several years in various faculty positions, Esther became principal of the Southwest Region Schools in Aleknagik and later became principal-teacher in Twin Hills. In 2011, Esther became the Director of Yup'ik Studies for the Southwest Region Schools, serving seven school sites in the Bristol Bay area.

Qanglaagix Ethan Petticrew

Qanglaagix Ethan Petticrew —

Ethan received his bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Alaska Southeast and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Ball State University in Indiana. After receiving his degree, he worked as a primary school and high school teacher in various regions of Alaska; including Bristol Bay, South Central, and Southeast. After teaching, Ethan served as principal teacher of Yakov E. Netsvetov School in Atka and, afterward, took on the position of curriculum coordinator for the Aleutian Region School District. He is currently serving as the Executive Director for Cook Inlet Native Head Start.

Yurrliq Nita Rearden

Yurrliq Nita Rearden —

Nita was born in Kotlik, Alaska and raised by her grandmother, Nanirquksuaraq "Theresa" Kameroff, until entering school at the age of six. As part of a large family, Nita was brought up with traditional Yup'ik values and learned teaching skills at an early age while helping to care for her younger siblings. She graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1971 and went on to study at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, receiving a bachelor's degree in education. After obtaining her degrees, Nita taught primary grades in the villages of Bethel and Kotzebue. She then worked as a language specialist for the Lower Kuskokwim School District's bilingual department and, during this time, earned a master's degree in cross-cultural studies. She later became the district's arts specialist until retiring in 2011. Nita emphasizes the importance of keeping her Yup'ik culture alive among her family and community, cherishing the opportunity to help pass on traditional knowledge and skills to future generations.