Boise school board candidate forum set for Aug. 21

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce is hosting a candidates forum for the six candidates running for the Boise School District Board of Trustees. The public is welcome to attend the forum on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 9 a.m. at the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce office located at 1101 W. Front St #100, Boise, ID. 

Register here if you plan to attend.

For those unable to attend the forum, you can watch via Facebook LIVE. Follow the “Idaho Education News” Facebook page to view the forum.

Three six-year terms are up for grabs: the School Board seats now held by A J Balukoff, Maria Greeley and Troy Rohn. The candidates will run on a single ballot. The top three vote-getters in the Sept. 4 election will be elected to six-year terms.

Get to know the candidates

(Bios were provided by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.)

Branden Durst

Durst is a husband, parent, third generation Boise schools graduate, former state senator, education policy expert and candidate for the Boise School board. As an independent thinking public servant who previously served as a state Senator and Representative in Idaho’s 18th Legislative District, Durst is seeking to put his substantial expertise in public education to work as a trustee in the Boise School District.

Durst was born and raised in Southeast Boise. He attended Boise schools through high school, where he became a third generation graduate of Boise High School in 1998. In November 2006 Durst was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives, representing Legislative District 18 (South and Southeast Boise). He was re-elected two years later. In 2012, Durst was elected to the Idaho Senate as an ardent opponent to the so-called Luna Laws.

Durst was also the author and sponsor of the first-ever early childhood education bill to pass both chambers of the Idaho Legislature, which regrettably, was vetoed by Governor Otter. The bill, Parents As Teachers, was a step in the right direction to increase access to early childhood programs. As a legislator, Durst was very supportive of expanding early childhood education and fought for the pre-K program at Hawthorne Elementary.

Durst is married to his wife, Cheri and they have three children, Broden, Carter and Graciana.

Alicia Estey

Estey is a long-time advocate for high quality public education and has dedicated most of her career in public education administration. Since 2006, she has held various roles at Boise State University including Senior Policy Analyst and Regulatory Compliance Officer, Director of Tax, and Executive Director of Institutional Compliance and Ethics. 

She is currently the Senior Associate Vice President of Campus Operations and the University’s Chief Compliance Officer. In that capacity, she oversees real estate services, capital projects and space management, facilities, architecture and engineering, environmental health and safety, Title IX, public safety, risk management, and the Office of Institutional Compliance and Ethics. She manages a $45 million operating budget and currently oversees more than $75 million in capital projects.

Prior to joining Boise State, Estey worked in the tax department of the J.R. Simplot Company. She holds a BBA in Accountancy from Boise State, a Master of Public Health from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Idaho.

Estey is a strong supporter of the Boise School District; her daughter is entering her senior year at Boise High.

Shari Fernandez

Fernandez is an advocate for access to quality education, and for providing our educators and students with the tools they need to be successful.  Fernandez is the Director of Events and Community Engagement for Boise Regional REALTORS®. 

Additionally, she is the board secretary and staff liaison for the REALTORS® Community Foundation. She assumed her present role in July of 2017 after spending a year and a half as the BRR Director of Communications.  Fernandez brings more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit communication, program management, and fundraising to her position at the association. She earned a Masters in Public Administration from Boise State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Washington State University.

Fernandez and her husband David have two daughters who will be starting at Hidden Springs Elementary in the fall.

Maria Greeley

I am a mother of three sons who graduated from Borah High School and a daughter who will be a junior at Borah this year.  I know firsthand, the importance of having teachers who are passionate and dedicated, and courses which meet the varied needs of our students. I appreciate being a part of a community which values and has high expectations for public education.

My first foray into public service was as co-chair for the PAC to reject the Luna Laws and later, as a member of “Friends of Boise” for the successful 2012 levy to maintain class sizes. 

I have served as a trustee for the Boise School District for the past six years. During my term, I have served in leadership as vice-chair of the board for the past four years, co-chair of the Governance Committee for several years and have been a team member on the Facilities Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and Superintendent Evaluation Committee.

My desire to serve on the Board of Trustees is because our students are not just the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today.

Troy Rohn

Rohn is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University. During his 18 years at BSU Rohn has established an internationally recognized research program studying the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases including to a large extent, Alzheimer’s disease. 

In 2012, he was elected to the Boise School District Board of Trustees and views serving on the board as one of the most important responsibilities that can be assigned to any citizen; helping to plan the education of the community’s youth. Rohn also serves as chair of the Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee.

His role is to advocate for legislation that supports a well-funded, high quality K12 education.

Jim Tooman

My name is Jim Tooman, and I am a candidate for the Boise School District Board of Trustees. I believe that being involved in our children’s education system helps strengthen our families and lets our children know that education is important. I strongly support education for our children as they are our future. Great education has the power to change lives.

Since October of 2015 I have been on the Policy Council for FOCAF (Friends of Children and Families), for our local Head Start program. I have served as a parent representative and as a community representative, and have held the positions of Parliamentarian, chair of the Policy and Procedure Committee, and chair of the Family Engagement Committee. I was also honored to be a part of the Fathers Panel at the Strengthening Families Conference, hosted by the Children’s Trust Fund, in April 2018.  

The election for the Boise School District Board of Trustees is Tuesday, September 4, 2018.  Traditionally this event has a very low voter turnout, which is why your participation would be greatly appreciated.  It is important for the future of your school district, your families and your children. I would be a valuable asset to the Board of Trustees, because I care.  



Andrew Reed

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