Richard J. Toymil
Alpenglow Elementary School
Anchorage School District
Eagle River, Alaska

Richard Toymil describes his job as a school leader in artistic terms: “Leadership is the brush in the hand of the steward. Management is the paint. The students, staff, community, and facility make up the canvas.” A principal for 20 years, Toymil has led Alpenglow Elementary for the past six. The suburban school enrolls 535 kindergarten through grade 6 students. Toymil has transformed the environments of all four schools he’s headed by introducing a model for leadership that takes advantage of staff skills and aptitudes. With the “Quality Schools” model in place, Toymil has led the staff, students, and community to maintain a positive and proactive school climate. Toymil’s career achievements include his success in spurring teachers’ professional growth in Native Alaskan village schools. Toymil hired and provided training to teachers, including cultural orientations for those new to Alaskan Bush schools. He also developed community-based, suicide-prevention programming, delivered through outdoor school camps for students. His current school serves 279 children of active military families. This population’s transition rate has been between 25 percent and 40 percent annually. To better meet its needs, Toymil developed the Alpenglow Military Outreach Network, which engages military spouses who are parents of his students. The group coordinates grant-funded events and services for military families. Toymil earned a B.S. from the University of Oregon and an M.Ed. from the University of Alaska Southeast.