Two new superintendents find transition smooth

Not every educator had the summer off.

For 15 experienced teachers and principals, a promotion to the top spot meant a summer packed with preparation. And newby superintendents have their hands full this year. Not only do they need to craft their own leadership role, they also are responsible for implementing Idaho Core Standards, a new required standard for teaching and learning that must be implemented this fall.

“It’s an incredible challenge,” said Wendy Johnson about taking over the top spot for the Kuna School District. “The good news for me is we have a fabulous team here. I have a lot of people to collaborate with.”

Kuna superintendent Wendy Johnson

Johnson’s leadership style is to involve others in the planning and decision-making process. She meets regularly with principals to listen and respond to their ideas.

“I’m really proud of the culture we have here,” Johnson said. “We work together.”

Johnson’s transition was relatively seamless because she served as the assistant superintendent in Kuna for seven years under Jay Hummel.

“My role feels new, but then it doesn’t,” Johnson said. “I’ve already been in so many situations that I have great experience.”

With new leadership comes job shifts. Johnson promoted Devan DeLashmutt to assistant superintendent. He’s not an educator but has worked in the education field his whole career as a technologist. He will supervise operations for the district.

“Technology integration is a big priority for us and he understands that and is a good listener,” Johnson said.

Johnson, whose background is in secondary education, also promoted Arnette Johnson. Her background is elementary education compliments her new superintendent and her responsibilities are student services.

“We hit the targets of our three-year plan and we’re moving forward down our five-year plan,” Johnson said. “We’re continuing on to the next level.”

In other Kuna news, teacher Shelby Harris will be featured in a CBS documentary in September. She was selected because of her unique teaching methods using the online tool called Khan Academy. Because of her efforts, Kuna Middle School was awarded a grant from the State Department of Education to implement a pilot technology plan that has the potential to be replicated and scaled in other parts of the state.

In the Minidoka School District, Sandra Miller was promoted to superintendent in June. Miller’s entire life and career has been in this part of Idaho. She graduated from Minico High and after earning her multiple degrees, she returned to teach at Minico High for 13 years. She transitioned into vice principal and principal jobs before moving to the district office as the director for school improvement.

“This is home for me,” Miller said. “I know the schools, the staff and the culture.”

Her first month has been busy, she said, but the transition smooth. The biggest difference has been moving to another office.

“Our schools are doing awesome things and our principals are doing an excellent job,” Miller said. “I see myself working along side others. It’s still the same partnerships here, I just have a different title now.”

Here is a list of new Idaho superintendents provided by the Idaho Association of School Administrators.

School District



Ron Anthony


Interim Robert Donaldson




Greg Bailey

Mountain View

Kent Stokes

West Jefferson

Dwight Richins


Lindsay Park


Chad Williams




Jeff Dillon

Coeur d’Alene

Matt Handelman


Brad Baumberger


Sandra Miller


Wendy Johnson


Interim Pete Koehler




Chester Bradshaw


Dennis Wilson



Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over two million pageviews a year. Jennifer has more than 35 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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