Anchorage School Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson is disappointed in Anchorage School District Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt, who unilaterally decided to bar famed brain surgeon and national hero Dr. Ben Carson from visiting a local elementary school.

“I’m disappointed that Superintendent Bryantt has banned Dr. Carson from visiting ASD schools,” Bronson stated Aug. 18. “Dr. Carson is a highly accomplished neurosurgeon, Medal of Freedom honoree, politician, and public servant and we are fortunate to welcome him to our great city next week.”

Controversy erupted following the Aug. 17 school board meeting where Bryantt was questioned by School Board Member Dave Donley on why he nixed a previously scheduled visit by Dr. Carson to Mountain View Elementary School.

Bryantt admitted that the planned visit did not violate any board policy, but that it was within his authority to “make that call.” Bryantt offered no other rationale, other than to say he “respectfully declined the invitation” to have Carson visit the school.

In disinviting a past presidential candidate and former secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development under President Trump, the dismissal may be the most prominent in the history of Anchorage.

Dr. Carson is headed to Alaska for a couple of fundraisers for the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, but he is also planning several other visits while in Alaska, including stops at a couple of private schools.

President George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Ben Carson in 2008 for his work with neurological disorders.

Mayor Bronson is working to facilitate some of these stops.

“My staff has been working hard on organizing his visit, and I was looking forward to visiting some of our elementary schools with Dr. Carson as we have one of the most diverse student demographics in the nation,” Bronson said. “For those who know Dr. Carson know that his story exemplifies what can make public schools so great: family involvement, diverse opportunities unavailable elsewhere, and excellence amid challenge. This is a rare and unique opportunity for Anchorage School District students to have a visitor as accomplished and renowned as Dr. Carson and I hope Superintendent Bryantt will rethink his decision.”

In addition to his public service, Dr. Carson directed pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Children’s Center for three decades. He assumed that post at age 33, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. Since then, he has received myriad honors and awards for his achievements, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.


— Click here to contact Anchorage Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt.

— Click here to contact members of the Anchorage School Board.

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Anchorage mayor ‘disappointed’ by superintendent blocking Dr. Carson from visiting students

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.