(UPDATED, 3:00 p.m. Thursday with further comment from Stark)
The Idaho Education Association has hired a familiar face with a decade of experience in the organization as its newest executive director. On Tuesday, the IEA named Paul Stark its executive director.
Stark has been with the IEA for 10 years as general counsel. Prior to working with the IEA, Stark worked for the Idaho State Court of Appeals, multiple downtown Boise law firms and ran his own private firm in Meridian. He received his bachelor’s degree from Boise State University and his law degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
“Paul is the ideal person to take on this role and help lead the IEA forward,” IEA President Layne McInelly said in a news release. “He is intimately familiar with the mission, values, and activities of the IEA, as well as being highly respected both within the IEA family and among education stakeholders.”
Stark’s history with the IEA predates his employment with the group. During his law career, Stark said he worked with multiple school districts and said he grew a great respect for teachers, school boards and superintendents.
“With time and experience you really see the courage of the educators,” Stark said in a phone interview with EdNews on Thursday. “They do excellent work.”
Stark replaces Matt Aber-Towns, who left to take the executive director position with the North Carolina Education Association.
“I am very excited to be taking on new responsibilities and advocating for professional educators, students, and Idaho public schools,” Stark said in a news release.
As executive director, Stark said he wants to do more to empower teachers.
“It’s a work of love,” Stark said. “Their voice is very important in this.”
Stark added that he wants more focus on student welfare and mental health.