Charter commission selects three unnamed candidates for director vacancy

The Idaho Public Charter School Commission has narrowed its search for a new director to three candidates, but the commission refused to name those candidates in an open meeting. 

Idaho Education News has made a formal request for the candidates’ names and their professional and educational backgrounds. 

Commissioners evaluated 16 candidates during a 30-minute, closed-door executive session on Monday afternoon. After the board reconvened in open session, a motion was made to select “their top three candidates” to interview for the executive director’s position, which has been vacant since August. The motion did not include their names. The motion passed unanimously.  

A hiring decision is expected by the end of December, said Alex Adams, the state’s budget director, who has served as the commission’s interim director since August.

Commissioners previously decided that a closed meeting is necessary to promote frank conversations about the candidates. Idaho law allows public boards to meet privately when discussing hiring. But the law also says that decisions are not to be made in closed meetings.

Because the board chose not to use any candidate names during an open meeting on Monday, EdNews requested the names of every candidate and their resumes. A deputy attorney general in attendance Monday said, “Under the public records act, the applicants’ resumes at this point are exempt. The names of those applicants are considered public record but only the top five.”

A public records request was submitted after the meeting, requesting the names and professional background for their top-three applicants. At the time of publication, Adams had not yet responded.

Adams said the plan is to conduct interviews on Dec. 7 during an executive session; and a decision could come as early as Dec. 7 or at the board’s regular meeting on Dec. 14, which will take place in the Senate Education Committee room in the Capitol building.

Adams stepped in as interim director following the resignation of two directors in the span of five months. Nichole Hall resigned in August after less than two months on the job to accept another position. She had replaced Jenn Thompson, who resigned in March alongside former commissioner Brian Scigliano. The pair accused the board of acting irresponsibly.

The charter commission is Idaho’s largest charter school authorizer. Authorizers evaluate new charter school petitions and oversee the financial, academic and operational effectiveness of schools it approved. They protect the interest of students and taxpayers by holding schools accountable to performance outcomes. The charter commission authorizes 63 out of Idaho’s 77 schools. School districts and universities can also serve as authorizers.

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

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