As State Board launches one president’s search, another search comes under fire

The State Board of Education has two high-profile jobs to fill: the president’s posts at Lewis-Clark State College and Idaho State University.

As the State Board unveiled its process to fill the LCSC vacancy, critics are sounding off about the search at ISU.

The State Board hopes to name a successor to retiring LCSC President Anthony Fernandez by June. The process begins next month with a series of listening sessions with stakeholder groups at the Lewiston campus.

The State Board also named a 12-member search committee, headed by board member Don Soltman.

“Dr. Fernandez became president of LCSC in 2011,” Soltman said in a news release. “Since then, he has grown student enrollment and degree completion while improving the academic programs. We want the next LCSC president to continue this process and will conduct a national search to select that individual.”

Meanwhile, Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad is calling the process to replace retiring ISU President Arthur Vailas “ridiculous” — partly because Blad was left off the search committee.

“I don’t know how open this process really was,” Blad told the Idaho State Journal. “It’s odd to me that the State Board would not include some of the city leaders that you would expect to see on that committee.”

On the advice of consultants, the State Board decided against adding sitting elected officials to the ISU search committee, spokesman Blake Youde said.

“You have elected officials at every level and the next step becomes why a House member and not a senator or why a city council member but not the mayor,” Youde told the Journal.

Not all search committees are created the same, Youde told the Journal. And the LCSC committee includes one sitting elected official, state Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston.






Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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