Coeur d’Alene to hire North Dakota’s Hocker as new superintendent

Coeur d’Alene trustees came to a consensus over the weekend to select Shon Hocker as its new superintendent starting in July.

Shon Hocker

The board will be officially approving Hocker’s hiring tonight during a board meeting, which will also include a vote for Hocker’s contract with the district. The board has decided to hire Hocker on a three-year contract with a salary of $165,000 per year.

Hocker is the superintendent of Dickinson Public Schools in Dickinson, North Dakota, a position he’s held since 2018. Before that, Hocker was the superintendent of Big Horn School District in Cowley, Wyo., for 10 years. He was named the Wyoming Superintendent of the Year in 2016. From 2004 to 2007, Hocker was the principal of Shelley High School.

“It is clear that Coeur d’Alene has a powerful sense of community,” Hocker said in a release from the district. “We are looking forward to becoming immersed into your wonderful community and participating in all that it has to offer.”

Hocker was one of two finalists for the position, the other being Kate Orozco, the assistant superintendent of elementary education and instruction for Coeur d’Alene School.

Both Hocker and Orozco participated in a public forum with on April 15, which can be viewed here.

Current Coeur d’Alene Superintendent Steven Cook has accepted a position in the Oregon-based Bend-La Pine School District. He will leave Coeur d’Alene when his contract expires in June.

Idaho has at least eight superintendent openings heading into summer. Here’s an alphabetical rundown of the latest developments. (Click here for a closer look at superintendent salaries.)

Blaine County

Jim Foudy

Blaine County trustees voted to hire McCall-Donnelly’s Jim Foudy as their next superintendent on Jan. 21. Foudy replaces former superintendent GwenCarol Holmes, who had worked in the district since 2014. Holmes announced her resignation on Nov. 12.

On Jan. 22, Foudy signed his contract for two years at $168,000 per year.

Trustees had 27 applicants for the position, with Foudy and Heather Sánchez, the executive director of schools in the Bellevue, Wash., school district as the final two.

Bruneau-Grand View

Bruneau-Grand View trustees accepted Ryan Cantrell’s resignation during its Feb. 9 meeting. The board will be accepting applications for the open position until it is filled.

The next scheduled meeting of the board is on May 11.

Buhl

Buhl trustees met in a special session on March 4 to select David Carson as the district’s new superintendent. Carson is currently the Hansen School District’s superintendent.

David Carson

Other finalists included:

  • Chris Harris, Superintendent, Yreka Union School District (Yreka, Calif.)
  • Chad Krug, Assistant Superintendent, Ulysses Schools District (Ulysses, Kan.)
  • Jennie Peterson, Director of Instruction, Kodiak Island Borough School District (Kodiak, Alaska)

On March 15, trustees approved a two-year contract for $110,000 a year for Carson.

Wil Overgaard has been working as interim superintendent, after trustees voted to part ways with Ron Anthony in March 2020. Idaho’s Professional Standards Commission in January of 2020 announced it would reprimand Anthony for producing inaccurate teacher reports.

Cassia County

Casssia County Superintendent James Shank has accepted an offer to replace longtime Idaho Falls Superintendent George Boland at the end of this school year. Shank’s letter of resignation was accepted by the board on April 15.

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 21.

Garden Valley

Vickie Chandler submitted her resignation and release from contract to the board on March 9, citing medical reasons. Jackie Johnson is currently serving as interim superintendent.

The board will receive applications until April 30.

Hansen

On April 13, trustees selected Angela Lakey-Campbell as the new superintendent. Lakey-Campbell is currently the superintendent of Imbler School District in Oregon.

Other finalists for the position included:

  • Janet Avery, District Curriculum Director, Jerome School District
  • Jonathan Goss, Assistant Head of Schools and 7th-12th Principal, Xavier Charter
  • Kayla Kelly, Principal, Hansen Junior/Senior High School

Trustees accepted Carson’s resignation during their March 15 meeting.

Highland

Trustees named Jacob Gion as this district’s new superintendent on March 8. Gion is currently the vice principal of Baker High School in Baker, Mont.

Gion’s contract with the district comes with a salary of $85,000 and runs through the 2022 school year.

Sarah Hatfield submitted her letter of resignation as superintendent to Highland Joint trustees in December. The board accepted it on Dec. 14.

Other finalists included:

  • Angie Lakey-Campbell of Imbler, Ore.
  • Ed Schumacher of Cambridge

Idaho Falls

Trustees in the Idaho Falls School District have asked Cassia County Superintendent James Shank to replace outgoing Superintendent George Boland at the end of the school year.

Dr. Jim Shank

The 5-0 vote follows Minnesota-based superintendent Eric Pingrey’s decision to take a job in McCall, after Idaho Falls trustees voted 3-2 to hire him last week.

The board will now begin contract negotiations with Dr. Shank, the district announced Monday.

Trustees interviewed Shank for a second time on April 8 before spending several hours in executive session. He will take over “sometime this summer,” the district announced.

Boland announced his plan to retire on Dec. 4, after 15 years leading the East Idaho district.

Other finalists for the job included:

  • Dr. Matthew Neal, Superintendent, American Creativity Academy, Kuwait (Kuwait City, Kuwait)
  • Kelly Coughenour, Assistant Superintendent, Idaho Falls School District (Idaho Falls)
  • Dr. Sylvia McNeely, Superintendent, Wanette Public Schools (Wanette, Ok.)

Jerome

Vallivue School District Superintendent Patrick Charlton has accepted the superintendent’s position in Jerome. He was the only finalist for the position.

Pat Charlton

“I’m from the Magic Valley, attending high school in both Buhl and Twin Falls, graduating from Twin Falls High School,” Charlton said, adding, “I’m really going home to the Magic Valley.”

On April 5, the board agreed on Charlton’s contract with an annual salary of $132,500, the Times-News reported.

Charlton was also a a co-finalist for the McCall-Donnelly superintendent position.

Dale Layne announced in February that he’ll step down as superintendent of Jerome at the end of the school year.

Kellogg

On April 8, trustees met to select four candidates for the position:

  • Bidgit Arkoosh, principal, Holy Family Catholic School, Coeur d’Alene
  • Janet Avery, curriculum director, Jerome School District
  • Silvia McNeely, superintendent, Wanette Public Schools (Wanette, Okla.)
  • Lance Pearson, superintendent, Victor Public Schools (Victor, Mont.)

The finalists will be picked in mid-April with a selection made later that month. The next regularly scheduled board meeting is on April 14.

On Jan. 13, trustees accepted Nancy Larsen’s resignation.

Madison

The Madison School District will say goodbye to a longtime educator at the end of this school year — but leadership will stay in familiar hands.

Randy Lords

Trustees accepted Geoffrey Thomas’ letter of resignation during their March 18 board meeting. The board hired Randy Lords as the new superintendent a day after that announcement. Lords has been Madison’s assistant superintendent since 2015 and has been in various roles within the district for 19 years.

“I’m excited. Super excited,” Lords said. “I knew someday I’d go on to do something like this, especially in Madison because of the amazing students and teachers and the community. I’m a little overwhelmed right now.”

Lords originally joined Madison School District as a government teacher and a baseball coach. All five of Lords’ children have either graduated or are currently enrolled in Madison schools.

“We were really happy that Randy was interested in this position and grateful he has stayed with us and not taken the many offers he has received through the years,” said board chair Kevin Howell. “He is an integral part of our district and has been a big contributor to where Madison is today.”
Howell said Lords was the first person board members thought of as they discussed the superintendent position. The vote to hire Lords was unanimous.

Thomas, who filled the position for 20 years, has accepted a position as an assistant professor at Idaho State University’s College of Education.

McCall-Donnelly

Eric Pingrey

Eric Pingrey, of Walker, Minn., will take over as superintendent of the McCall-Donnelly School District at the end of this school year, board chair Laurie Erekson told EdNews Friday.

Trustees voted to offer the job to Pingrey Thursday. The district’s other candidate was Pat Charlton.

Pingrey chose McCall-Donnelly over Idaho Falls, where trustees selected him on a split-decision vote Tuesday to replace outgoing superintendent George Boland.

Middleton

Middleton trustees voted unanimously early in March to name Marc Gee as the district’s new superintendent.

Marc Gee

On April 12, Gee and the board agreed to a two-year contract with an annual salary of $130,000.

Gee is currently the superintendent at Preston School District.

Other finalists included:

  • Glen Croft, Principal, Middleton Academy
  • Jeff Dillon, Superintendent, Wilder School District

Gee will be the third Middleton superintendent in the past four years. Interim superintendent Kristin Beck will return as assistant superintendent of human resources on July 1, 2021. She took over the position left by Sherawn Reberry, who resigned in June 2020. Reberry was in her position for just 10 months after she replaced Josh Middleton, who left after a turbulent 2018-2019 school year.

Oneida

Jon Abrams will replace Rich Moore as superintendent of this rural Southeast Idaho district at the end of the school year.

Trustees unanimously selected Abrams — the superintendent of Pine Bluffs, Wyo.-based Laramie County School District — from a pool of three finalists on March 4. Abrams’ contract with the district runs through the 2023 school year and gives him a salary of $125,000.

Moore announced his forthcoming retirement late last year, after five years of helping the district startup what has become Idaho’s largest online school.

Other finalists included:

  • Joel Wilson, superintendent of the Butte County School District, in Arco.
  • Kevin St. John, superintendent of Philipsburg Public Schools, in Philipsburg, Mont.

Potlatch

After a 40-year education career, Superintendent Jeff Cirka announced he’ll retire at the end of the school year. Trustees accepted his resignation on March 2. It will be effective on July 1.

The board voted on March 18 to have the Idaho School Boards Association conduct the superintendent search. The application deadline is April 21.

Preston

Trustees met to select finalists for the superintendent position on April 9:

  • Lance Harrison, elementary coordinator/SPED director, Preston School District
  • Destry Jones, assistant superintendent, board ledger, IT director, ISEE director and co-curriculum director, Firth School District
  • Anthony Morrison, principal, Tohatchi Middle School (Tohatchi, N.M.)
  • Veldon Law, director of academic services – independent study, Brigham Young University

Trustees accepted Gee’s resignation during a March 17 meeting.

Interviews will be conducted on April 14 and 15 before the selection of the superintendent on April 21.

Salmon

The Salmon School Board met on Feb. 25, with an action item regarding the superintendent position. The item was tabled, according to current superintendent Chris Born.

The next scheduled board meeting is set for April 19.

Soda Springs

Trustees unanimously voted to name Scott Muir as the district’s new superintendent during a March 30 meeting. Muir is currently the principal of Cassia County’s Declo Junior High and Albion Elementary.

Scott Muir

Other candidates for the job were:

  • Destry Jones, Assistant Superintendent, Firth School District
  • Jeff Uskoski, teacher and athletic director, Soda Springs School District
  • Robert Daniel, Principal, Sweetwater County School District (Wyo.)
  • Todd Hale, Superintendent, North Gem School District

On April 1, Muir signed a two-year contract with Soda Springs, with a salary of $92,500 per year.

Vallivue

Lisa Boyd

On March 9, trustees voted unanimously to name Lisa Boyd as the district’s new superintendent. Boyd is currently the district’s assistant superintendent.

She emerged from a pool of two other finalists:

West Ada

After three hours of deliberation, trustees of the state’s largest school district selected the final four for the superintendent position:

  • Derek Bub, Principal, Centennial High School in the West Ada School District
  • Bret Heller, Assistant Superintendent, West Ada School District
  • Wendy Johnson, Superintendent, Kuna School District
  • Sam Jarman, Superintendent, Alpine School District, Alpine, Utah

Two forums held on April 19 will allow finalists to answer questions from the public. A forum for district personnel will start at 4 p.m., and one for community members will be at 7 p.m.

The board will interviews candidates on April 20, with a final selection scheduled for April 27.

Mary Ann Ranells has been the superintendent of West Ada since 2016. She announced her resignation on Jan. 5.

Other candidates included:

  • Vickie Cartwright, Superintendent, Oshkosh Area School District (Wis.)
  • Chris Hines, Deputy Superintendent, Conroe Independent School District (Texas)
  • David Holmes, Superintendent, La Center School District (Wash.)

Click here for the results of a community survey on what qualities patrons want in a new superintendent.

 

Idaho Ed News reporters Devin Bodkin and Nik Streng and data analyst Randy Schrader contributed to this story. 

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