Ed leaders meet, agree to find solutions

The most influential leaders in Idaho education assembled in November to build relationships and find solutions for immediate and long-term issues facing the future of K-12 education in Idaho. The ideas generated by this group were given to Gov. Butch Otter and offered to legislative leaders. The members of the group agree to request a joint public hearing with the House Education Committee, the Senate Education Committee and the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee to share their ideas and offer continued help.

Gooding Superintendent Dr. Heather Williams.
Gooding Superintendent Dr. Heather Williams organized a meeting of some of Idaho’s top education leaders to discuss how to best help the development of education policy.

The group’s 22 participants included superintendents, teachers, parents and leaders from the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho Business for Education, the Idaho School Board’s Association, State Board of Education and the State Department of Education. They met at Boise State University in a meeting hosted by BSU’s Idaho Leads Project co-directors Lisa Kinnaman and Roger Quarles. The five-hour meeting included activities to build relationships and develop shared ideas for solving Idaho’s K-12 education challenges.

The meeting was arranged by Heather Williams, superintendent of the Gooding School District and legislative chair for the Idaho Association of School Administrators. Williams emphasized that this is a practitioner’s group and not a political group. She invited retiring and long-time legislator Wendy Jaquet to offer ideas on how to maximize relationships with lawmakers.

“My goal was to get practitioners and caring stakeholders together to better understand the issues from various perspectives, and to build leadership capacity to help us move forward by building relationships, committing to continuous improvement, and building on effective practices already in place in Idaho schools,” she said.

The group agreed that it is important to bring multiple solutions, instead of problems, to the Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter and to support the governor as he appoints an education task force.

Some of the ideas developed by the group were to focus on recruiting and retaining the very best teachers, build on reform efforts that are already working, build a statewide communication matrix, make decisions as close as possible to students, set clear goals for all stakeholders, integrate technology and evolve the instructional model. Members of the group also said that now is the time to leverage the intense public interest in education by publicizing the good things happening in a variety of topics from technology integration, use of effective practices and leadership capacity.

“Let’s focus on what’s going right while we have their attention,” said New Plymouth Superintendent Ryan Kerby.

Cameron Andersen (teacher with Gooding School District)
Corinne Hoppe (teacher with Meridian School District)
Ed Dahlberg (Idaho Business for Education)
Robin Nettinga (Idaho Education Association)
Penny Cyr (Idaho Education Association)
Bert Marley (Idaho Education Association)
Karen Echeverria (Idaho School Board Association)
Jessica Harrison (Idaho School Board Association)
Anne Ritter (Idaho School Board Association)
Ryan Kerby (Idaho School Superintendents’ Association)
Heather Williams (Idaho School Superintendents’ Association)
Glen Syzimoniak (Idaho School Superintendents’ Association)
Linda Clark (Idaho School Superintendents’ Association)
Laurie Boeckel (Parent Teacher Association)
Lisa Miller (Parent Teacher Association)
Mike Lanza (Idaho Parents and Teachers Together)
Maria Greeley (Idaho Parents and Teachers Together)
Roger Stewart (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium)
Ken Edmunds (State Board of Education)
Mike Rush (State Board of Education)
Jason Hancock (State Department of Education)

Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over two million pageviews a year. Jennifer has more than 35 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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