After-school superheros

Press Release

For Release Monday, April 25

Contact: Thomas Azzarella, (907) 602-0569


Shirley Craig Named Alaska Afterschool Superhero

MENTASTA LAKE- Shirley Craig of Gateway Afterschool Program has been named an Alaska Afterschool Superhero- 1 of only 6 awardees chosen this year. The award is a highly competitive, statewide award that recognizes spectacular afterschool professionals. Shirley is a site coordinator at Mentasta Lake Katie John School and is recognized for her outstanding work in the out-of-school-time field. Shirley goes above and beyond in her role, on top of coordinating program activities, she supplements learning and fun with cultural and physical activities like beading and yoga. But perhaps her biggest strength is how she goes the extra mile- literally! Shirley provides transportation so that all kids who want to are able to attend the Mentasta Aftershool Program, even transporting kids 50 miles twice a day, 5 days per week, for the entire month of summer camp. She knows that without this support, some kids would not be able to attend.

Shirley represents the hard work of afterschool providers across Alaska- an often unvalued but critical part of many kids’ learning. It’s no surprise that caring individuals like Shirley are what help Alaskan afterschool programs rank 4th in the nation overall. Colleagues say “Shirley is definitely an extraordinary person and valuable to Mentasta Lake Katie John School.  She is conscientious and dedicated to providing the best afterschool program for the students in Mentasta.”  

The full list of six Afterschool Superheroes for 2022 are:

SHIRLEY CRAIG | Site Coordinator of Gateway Afterschool Program (GAP), Mentasta Lake Katie John School (Mentasta Lake, AK)

VALARIE JACKSON | Afterschool Specialist, Lathrop After the Bell- 21st CCLC (Fairbanks, AK)

LEA HOOD | Program Coordinator, Anne Wien Elementary 21st Century Community Learning Center (Fairbanks, AK)

CONNOR TETLOW | Site Director, Chester Valley Camp Fire (Anchorage, AK)

KATIE HOLMLUND and BECCA MADSEN | Director and Teacher, KinderSkog Nature Program (Petersburg, AK)

For more information on the Alaska Afterschool Network, visit or to read more about all 6 Superheroes, go to our blog.


Alaska Afterschool Network is statewide collaboration supporting, strengthening, and advocating for afterschool programs in Alaska and is a program of Alaska Children’s Trust. Contact Thomas Azzarella, Executive Director, for more information.