Members of the House Education Committee held their first meeting of the young legislative session on Wednesday.
In the coming days and weeks, committee members will tackle a series of education initiatives springing from Gov. Butch Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education.
In the meantime, here are five things you may not know about the committee members.
New Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, is the superintendent of his schools district – and is having the time of his life.
“My hobby is discussing education policy,” Kerby said. “I’d rather do that than go to Disneyland or on a cruise. When you look up here, picture me sitting on the beach in the Caribbean. That’s how much fun I’m having.”
Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, is more punctual now that he has become a businessman and been elected to the Legislature.
“I found an old elementary report card from Edgemont Elementary in Idaho Falls and realized how patient my teachers were with me,” DeMordaunt said. “I had a hobby (back then). Every Tuesday was garbage day, and I loved to find treasures on my way to school. That resulted in tardies, and my report card said I had 30 tardies.”
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DeMordaunt is also one of the fastest Idaho lawmakers to get behind the wheel of a go kart, but loyal Idaho Ed News readers already knew that.
New Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, is a homeschooling advocate.
“I am the father of seven children, six of whom have been homeschooled,” Dixon said. “I hope to bring a little different perspective to this committee here.”
Dixon’s oldest child attends medical school in New York City.
Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, knows first-hand the power of education.
“I owe everything I have in this world to an excellent education,” Rubel said. “I was born into poverty and went on to go to Harvard law school and other things. I agree with the governor that education is one of the most critical and fundamental roles of government.”
Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, has been promoted to vice chairwoman of the committee.
“When my children where small, I was involved in the PTA,” VanOrden said. “The local PTA, at the state level and the national level.”
VanOrden also served for 10 years on her local school board in Blackfoot before she was elected to the Legislature a little more than two years ago.
Committee members will begin the session by completing the rulemaking and review process. VanOrden said committee members will save a rule dedicated to the controversial tiered licensure certification proposal until the end of the rulemaking process – and will consider it as a whole committee, rather than in a small subgroup.