Critchfield announces four more key hires

State superintendent-elect Debbie Critchfield announced four more key hires Monday, including the retention of a current State Department of Education staffer.

“I am excited that proven, dedicated, and highly capable professionals have agreed to join the State Department of Education team,” Critchfield said in a Monday news release. “My goal is to be able to serve on day one, and filling key positions is a reflection of this priority.”

The superintendent-elect hired Scott Graf as the SDE’s communications director.

A former news director for Boise State Public Radio, Graf worked in news radio for 15 years before taking a job as public information officer and director of constituent affairs at the attorney general’s office, where he’s worked for the past six years.

Critchfield will retain public school finance director Julie Oberle. Oberle has 29 years of experience in state government, according to Monday’s news release, and will continue to lead the finance department, which doles out over $2 billion to school districts and charters across Idaho.

Julie Mead will serve as interim director of special education, taking over for Charlie Silva, who retired from the SDE in late November. Mead directs Idaho Special Education Support and Training Assistance (SESTA), an SDE-funded project to support students with disabilities.

Mead will sit in the interim position through the legislative session. Critchfield’s team plans to post a permanent position in spring 2023.

Rounding out Critchfield’s newest hires is Allison Duman, current outreach coordinator for Idaho Career and Technical Education. Duman will take over as K-12 workforce development specialist at the SDE.

The hire reflects the superintendent-elect’s “priority on greater promotion of career-readiness and skills within Idaho schools,” the news release said.

Duman will conduct outreach with state and local workforce and CTE agencies, businesses and industries, and other “key constituencies” throughout the state. She’ll also oversee Critchfield’s schedule.

This round of hires is the fourth announcement from the Critchfield team since the November election. She previously announced her chief financial officer, chief of staff and deputy state superintendent, and a 22-member transition team.

The superintendent-elect, along with all new hires, will start at the SDE in January. Retained staffers will continue with the department into the new year.

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber

Reporter Sadie Dittenber focuses on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate, born and raised in the Treasure Valley. You can follow Sadie on Twitter @sadiedittenber and send her news tips at [email protected].

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