Ybarra announces another hire in media team

State superintendent Sherri Ybarra has a new spokesperson: Jeff Church, a three-year veteran in the State Department of Education.

Jeff Church
Jeff Church

Church will take over as Ybarra’s new chief communications officer, according to a news release Tuesday afternoon.

In essence, Church will succeed Melinda Nothern, who was Ybarra’s spokeswoman during her 2014 fall campaign. Nothern has been on the department’s staff since Ybarra took office, and will remain on staff during the transition.

Church has held several capacities at the department. Most recently, he has worked with the department’s IT staff “in communication to districts, speech writing and messaging around software and data,” according to the department’s news release.

Church is Ybarra’s second hire in the communications shop. On Jan. 19, the Mountain Home Republican hired former Mountain Home newspaper editor Kelly Everitt to her staff. Everitt was hired as a communications specialist, and will remain in that role.

Here’s the full news release from Ybarra’s office:

The State Department of Education (SDE) has announced that Jeff Church has been named to the position of chief communications officer for Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra. Melinda Nothern has been supporting the SDE in an interim capacity, and will be working with the staff over the next several weeks in the transition.

“Jeff is uniquely qualified to lead the communications efforts of the department of education,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra. “We are excited to have him take on this new role as we move education forward in Idaho.”

Church has been with the SDE for nearly three years, supporting school districts in software implementation, training and professional development and most recently supported the IT department in communication to districts, speech writing and messaging around software and data. Prior to working at the SDE, Church has experience in public advocacy, communications and politics in several capacities.

“Having worked in a capacity supporting school districts throughout the state in my prior positions, I support Superintendent Ybarra’s vision for education in Idaho,” Church stated. “Supporting schools and students to achieve is not only the vision for the SDE, but will be echoed in the communication that comes from the department. It is the great work of Idaho school districts that needs to be recognized.”

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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