Cassia looks out of state for new leader

BURLEY — The Cassia County School District’s board of trustees hired Jim Shank to replace retiring superintendent Gaylen Smyer.  He begins on July 1.

Shank has been the superintendent of schools in Coupeville, Wash., the past five years.

Jim Shank

Board member Bruce Thompson said the decision followed hours of phone calls, conversations, meetings and research. The months-long process culminated in the decision at a special board meeting Monday evening. Shank was among three finalists the board formally interviewed after a search and selection process facilitated by the Idaho School Boards Association.

Board member Jeff Rasmussen said in a press release he hopes the community will take the time to get to know Shank and recognize the traits that can effectively guide the school district.

Shank is married to Sally Shank and they have six children, one of whom will be a senior next year. Shank began his professional career as a para-educator. His interest is “education DNA,” and he comes from a family of educators.

Shank earned his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University-Provo in special education, his master’s degree from BYU-Provo and his ed specialist and doctorate degrees from Idaho State University. A native of Longview, Wash., he has spent his professional career in the Mountain West and is looking forward to moving closer to family.

Shank said he will be the “biggest student of the school district next year.” He also told trustees he believes that building relationships with stakeholders is key to the learning process and he looks forward to meeting and talking with people in the community. He also touched on the critical nature of student learning saying “that’s why we are here.”

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