Blaine County hires new superintendent

GwenCarol Holmes
GwenCarol Holmes

The Blaine County School District has a new superintendent.

GwenCarol Holmes, chief academic officer of public schools in Alexandria, Va., will begin work in the district in early July. The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to offer Holmes the job.

“You have strong schools that are working tirelessly to provide our children with an excellent education,” Holmes said in a statement after she was hired. “This work will continue as we strive to ensure that we provide each and every child a personalized and excellent education. To continue to do this and to close the achievement gap that exists for some of our children, we need the entire community’s help.”

Holmes is no stranger to the Blaine County community. In a district news release, Holmes says she first visited the resort community as a teenager.

“The people of Blaine County are the reason I’ve been motivated to keep coming back and they are the reason I am humbled and excited to be a part of this wonderful community.”

Blaine County’s superintendent’s job has been vacant since September, after Lonnie Barber and the district parted ways. Neither Barber nor the district have said much about his departure, which the  district attributed to “differences in leadership style and approach.” Barber left with nearly three years left on his contract paying $186,526 a year. He was awarded a $600,000 settlement.

In another superintendent’s search, the Gooding School District has selected two finalists — but district officials aren’t naming any names yet.

The finalists will come to Gooding next Thursday, interviewing with trustees in a closed executive session and meeting with the public at a luncheon at the El Cazador restaurant, 530 Main St.

Trustees hope to hire a new superintendent by May 2, the Twin Falls Times-News reported Wednesday.

Gooding has been looking for a superintendent since January, when trustees accepted Heather Williams’ resignation on a divided 3-2 vote. Williams has stayed on with the district in a part-time role, and works part-time as a teaching consultant with the Idaho Leads project, a professional development team from Boise State University.

Disclosure: Idaho Education News is housed under the Idaho Leads Project. Both projects are funded by a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.