Critchfield announces transition team

Updated, 11:32 a.m., to clarify that many existing SDE staff will be kept on.

State superintendent-elect Debbie Critchfield announced her transition team Tuesday, just one week after her election win.

The 22-member group will aid Critchfield as she prepares to take over for two-term superintendent Sherri Ybarra in January.

They’ll assist in hiring or retaining around 130 staffers at the State Department of Education. Many existing staff will be kept on, according to Critchfield’s team.

They’ll also revise the K-12 budget and shape policies around the superintendent-elect’s campaign priorities.

“This transition committee is a great representation of the many perspectives supporting K-12 education in Idaho, including parents, teachers, school leaders, legislators, business leaders, and other community leaders,” Critchfield said in a Tuesday news release. “I am so pleased they are willing to serve in this effort to support Idaho kids and families as we build the Department prepared to support and sustain great schools.”

The announcement comes days after Critchfield announced the hires of former gubernatorial aide Greg Wilson as her chief of staff, and Idaho school administrator Ryan Cantrell as deputy state superintendent.

Critchfield has not been shy about her criticisms of Ybarra’s leadership over the past eight years, and her fast-paced transition is markedly different from Ybarra’s own drawn-out process in 2014.

The team includes three lawmakers on Statehouse education committees – Sen. Dave Lent, R-Idaho Falls, and Reps. Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell, and Judy Boyle, R-Midvale – alongside State Board of Education president Kurt Liebich and a handful of local educators and school leaders.

The team includes three parent representatives.

Here’s the full list of Critchfield’s selected team members, their hometowns and occupations:

  • Spencer Barzee, Clifton, superintendent, West Side School District.
  • Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale.
  • Steve Copmann, Burley, principal, Burley Junior High School.
  • Bernadette Edwards, Grangeville, trustee, Mountain View School District.
  • Portia Flynn, Meridian, former State Department of Education employee.
  • Lori Frasure, Meridian, board chair, West Ada School District.
  • Mike Garrett, Orofino, superintendent, Orofino Joint School District.
  • Amy Henry, Nampa, parent.
  • Mario Hernandez, Idaho Falls, owner and general manager, Teton Toyota and Teton Volkswagen.
  • Lara Herway, Idaho Falls, parent and community organizer.
  • Tyler Hurst, Star, campaign consultant and businessman.
  • Sen. Dave Lent, R-Idaho Falls.
  • Cortney Liddiard, Idaho Falls, CEO, Ball Ventures.
  • Kurt Liebich, Boise, president, State Board of Education.
  • Becky Meyer, Sandpoint, superintendent, Lake Pend Oreille School District.
  • Julie Nawrocki, Idaho Falls, math teacher, Idaho Falls School District.
  • Lori Otter, Star, realtor and former first lady of Idaho.
  • Teresa Rae, Bonners Ferry, trustee, Boundary County School District.
  • Anne Ritter, Meridian, board member, Meridian Medical Arts Charter High School.
  • Rob Sauer, Homedale, superintendent, Homedale School District.
  • Stephanie Wagner, Idaho Falls, parent.
  • Rep. Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell, a former educator.
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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