Executive director of Idaho’s teachers union to retire

Robin Nettinga, executive director of the Idaho Education Association, this week announced her plan to retire in January.

After a career in teaching, Nettinga joined the IEA staff in 2001 and was promoted to executive director in August 2008.

Robin Nettinga, executive director of the Idaho Education Association
Robin Nettinga will soon retire as the Idaho Education Association’s executive director. She was a Statehouse fixture, testifying before legislative committees and lobbying on the union’s behalf.

Nettinga was a fixture at the Statehouse during legislative sessions, lobbying for teacher pay and increased funding for Idaho’s public education system.

“We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude for the dedication, distinction and passion with which she has served during her career,” said IEA president Penni Cyr.

Idaho public education faced unique hurdles during Nettinga’s reign.

The economic mayhem caused by the 2008 Great Recession forced lawmakers to impose budget freezes and cuts to public education. Plus, Nettinga and the IEA played prominent roles in the 2012 campaign to overturn Propositions 1, 2 and 3, then-state superintendent Tom Luna’s proposals to overhaul the state school system.

“If I could create the perfect ending to my time with the IEA, we would have had fewer struggles and greater and more frequent successes,” Nettinga wrote in a letter to IEA members. “But, I know our most difficult challenges taught us important lessons that will serve to make a stronger, more resilient organization.”

A replacement search is just beginning, said union spokesman Dave Harbison.

Melba Elementary to open next week

A sparkling new elementary school will open in Melba on Monday. The new building comes after a $9.5 million bond passed in 2015.

The school is 62,000 square feet with 24 classrooms and a gym. Melba has more than 400 elementary students and the old elementary school building held only 160 kids. The new school will hold 650 students.

melba-elementary-school

“It’s been a two-year process and the reality is finally hitting that we get to move in,” said Sherry Ann Adams, the principal at Melba Elementary. “The kids are dying to get into the new classrooms.”

The old high school and the district maintenance shop is where the new school is located. The old elementary school will be demolished and turned into a parking lot and playground.

Watch a time-lapse video above of a Melba teacher putting her classroom together.

Survey seeking public opinions on school funding closes Sunday

The State Board of Education and the Idaho Legislature’s Public School Funding Formula Interim Committee partnered to survey Idahoans to collect their opinions on public school funding.  The online public opinion survey has been available for about a month but surveying ends on Sunday. All responses are anonymous.

The survey was developed to collect public opinion on how funding schools could be improved. The committee is evaluating the existing formula to assess how it meets the needs of Idaho students and provides fiscal stability for schools. The survey results will be presented to the committee at its next public meeting on Dec. 13.

Annual awards for school psychology

The Idaho School Psychologist’s Association announced selections for its annual award winners. The awards were presented during the ISPA’s annual conference this month. Here are the recipients:

  • President’s award:  Tom Trotter (professor, Gonzaga University)
  • Past president’s award:  Cathi Elliott (school psychologist, Boise School District)
  • Friend of school psychology:  Evelyn Johnson (Lee Pesky Learning Center)
  • Distinguished service award:  Bob Butterfield (Sugar-Salem School District)
  • Lifetime achievement award: Mary Campbell (Boise School District)
  • School psychologist of the year: Bob Allenger   (Moscow School District)