Charter commission names new director

The Idaho Public Charter School Commission has a new director. Jacob Smith, the commission’s current finance program manager, accepted the job Friday.

Smith told Idaho Education News that he’s excited to continue with the commission, support charter schools and increase opportunities for students.

“I am an advocate for innovative approaches to meeting our students’ needs,” Smith said, “and I look forward to working with all education stakeholders who make a positive impact on the success of our students.”

Commissioners on Thursday unanimously voted to offer the job to Smith, after closed-door interviews with three candidates who were finalists for the position. Commissioners initially concealed Smith’s identity, referring to him as “candidate 913,” and didn’t publicly approve the details of the offer.

Jacob Smith is the Idaho Public Charter School Commission’s new director.

Interim commission director Alex Adams on Friday provided Idaho Education News with the signed offer letter. Smith will earn $114,400 annually and will start on Jan. 8, according to the letter. Adams also provided EdNews with Smith’s work experience, after initially declining to share it and citing Idaho law that protects employee resumes from disclosure.

As the commission’s finance program manager since 2022, Smith oversees the agency’s budget and assists charter schools with financial reporting and performance standards. Before joining the commission, Smith was the director of operations for Idaho Digital Learning Alliance, where he “played a crucial role in establishing” it as a government entity, according to a biography provided by the commission.

Smith holds degrees in accounting and business administration from Boise State University and Northwest Nazarene University.

Smith will be the third full-time commission director in less than a year. Previous director Nichole Hall resigned in favor of another job after just two months with the commission. Hall had replaced Jenn Thompson, who resigned in March alongside former commissioner Brian Scigliano. The pair accused the board of acting irresponsibly.

Sixteen people applied for the job. The other two finalists were Monica Church, executive director of the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University, and Michelle Dunstan, a former education director at Anser Charter School in Boise.

“They were very qualified candidates,” Commission Chairman Alan Reed said Thursday. “Each of them had a unique perspective on what needs to be done, but yet they were all on the same page as wanting to move charter schools forward and provide support and strength to the schools.”

Ryan Suppe

Ryan Suppe

Senior reporter Ryan Suppe covers education policy, focusing on K-12 schools. He previously reported on state politics, local government and business for newspapers in the Treasure Valley and Eastern Idaho. A Nevada native, Ryan enjoys golf, skiing and movies. Follow him on Twitter: @ryansuppe. Contact him at [email protected]

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