Board of Trustees



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Mary Jane Michael - chair

Mary Jane has been actively engaged in disability advocacy and community development for more than 25 years. She served as the executive director for the Office of Economic and Community Development for the Municipality of Anchorage where she oversaw city planning, public lands, and major city initiatives. She also served as the executive director for the Arc of Anchorage for nearly 20 years, advocating for services and legislation for persons with developmental and other disabilities. Additionally, she was the executive director for Anchorage Neighborhood Housing Services promoting affordable rental housing, home ownership, and neighborhood revitalization.

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Jerome Selby - vice chair, finance committee chair

Jerome is a longtime resident of Kodiak. He served a total of nine terms as the mayor of Kodiak Island Borough, ending his service in 2013. Jerome is also the owner of a tax service business in Kodiak. He is actively engaged in the community and has served on numerous boards including the Resource Development Council, Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center Citizen Advisory Board, American Red Cross National Board of Governors, Department of the Interior Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee, and the Alaska Municipal League.

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Carlton Smith - secretary, resource management committee chair

Carlton resides in Juneau and has an extensive executive management background with timber, natural resources and commercial real estate. He owns and operates the only business located in Southeast Alaska devoted exclusively to commercial real estate. Formerly, Smith was the CEO of one of the largest Alaska Native village corporations, Kootznoowoo, Inc., in Southeast Alaska. He has served on numerous boards including Salvation Army Alaska, Sealaska Heritage Institute, National Native News and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. Smith served on the Juneau Assembly from 2011-2014. Smith is a graduate of Stanford University.

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Verné Boerner

Verné has been the President and CEO of the Alaska Native Health Board since 2013. She is Iñupiaq and an enrolled tribal member of the Native Village of Kiana. She is a Native American Research Center on Health (NARCH) Fellow and received her Master of Public Health from Oregon Health and Sciences University. She has over 23 years’ experience in tribal health including 13 years serving on a tribal institutional review board including primary reviewer responsibilities and has served as a co-lead investigator. She is a firm believer in community-based approaches to best tap the existing strengths and resources these resilient populations already possess to garner a greater understanding of the overall health needs and priorities of indigenous peoples.

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Christopher R. Cooke - program & planning committee chair

Originally from Southern Ohio, Mr. Cooke came to Alaska as a VISTA lawyer in 1968 after graduating from Yale University and the University of Michigan Law School.  He was admitted to the Alaska Bar in 1970.  He lived and worked in Bethel for more than 30 years where, both as a private attorney and for 10 years as a State Superior Court Judge, he traveled extensively to Alaska’s small towns and villages.  Moving to Anchorage in the late 1990s, Mr. Cooke continued to represent clients primarily from rural Alaska until retiring in 2016.  Mr. Cooke’s prior public service includes the University of Alaska’s Board of Regents, Alaska Bar Association’s Board of Governors, Alaska Humanities Forum Board, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and the Alaska Commission on Rural Governance and Empowerment.

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Laraine Derr - audit & risk committee chair

Laraine is a Juneau resident who spent much of her career in public service. She served two years as director of the Alaska Boards and Commissions Office, where she was responsible for recommendations to the governor for 120 boards and commissions. Prior to that, Laraine was president and CEO for the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. She also previously served as commissioner of the Department of Revenue whose duties include service on the Permanent Fund Board, Alaska Housing Finance Board, and the advisory board for the Alaska State Retirement Systems.

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Paula Easley

Paula’s years of service to Alaska have come in many forms, especially in the public policy arena regarding land-use issues and natural resource development. She served as the executive director of the Resource Development Council and handled federal regulatory affairs during Anchorage Mayor Tom Fink’s terms of office. Paula was appointed to the Regulatory Fairness Advisory Board by President Clinton and the National Public Lands Advisory Council by Presidents Reagan and G.H.W. Bush.