Looking back, and giving credit to Bill England (formerly at Mtn View Sports), the techniques learned in tying these basic flies can form a good foundation for independent learning:
Beginner: 1). GloBug, 2). Wooly Bugger, 3). Mickey Finn (or similar smolt) and 4). Prince (or similar) Nymph. Some would add Parachute Adams or other dry pattern here, but I think the delicate materials make dries best suited to Intermediate level.
Intermediate: Parachute Adams (working with small, delicate materials), Sculpin ptrns (woolhead and spun deer hair techniques), more elaborate leech patterns -articulated leeches, weighted eyes, etc, epoxy-coated smolts.
Opinions from more experienced flyfishers: What would you teach at AK Fly Tying University? What AK species you fish successfully might influence what you'd recommend beginners learn first, but what works and what would you say is best for beginners (and intermediate tyers) to learn to tie first?