Longtime American Falls Principal Randy Jensen made his candidacy for superintendent of public instruction official Friday on the Statehouse steps.
Jensen, a Republican who will run in the May 20 primary, promised he would make all decisions as superintendent based “solely on what’s best for kids in Idaho.”
“The time is right for all groups in Idaho to come together,” Jensen said. “It’s time for us to work together and make decisions that will be the best for students and for the future of the children of Idaho.”
Earlier this week, Republican John Eynon filed paperwork to run for state superintendent. Two-term Republican Superintendent Tom Luna said he will not run for re-election.
Jana Jones, who narrowly lost to Luna in 2006, is running for schools superintendent on the Democratic ticket.
Jensen was raised in Pocatello, and has worked as a teacher and principal for 29 years. For the past 25 years, Jensen has served as principal of William Thomas Middle School in American Falls, a three-star school under the state’s five-star rating system.
Jensen is a highly decorated administrator and educator. In 2005, Jensen was honored as the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ National Principal of the Year. Jenson earned the national award for involving the community in education, improving literacy, restructuring the school to focus on teacher collaboration and implementing reading across the curriculum.
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Jenson has also been named Idaho Educator of the Year and a Fulbright Scholar.
After his announcement, Jensen told Idaho Education News that he looks forward to implementing the recommendations of Gov. Butch Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education as superintendent.
“I really appreciate the governor’s task force,” he said. “I think that’s a really great way for us to make decisions about schools here in Idaho because it was a collaborative effort from all the different stakeholders.”
Jensen also praised aspects of the Idaho Core Standards, though he harbors concerns about the “length and the logistics” of the Common Core aligned test.
“I’m one of those people starting to implement those core standards, and there are some really good things about the new core standards,” Jensen said. “I see a lot more curriculum being integrated.”
Jensen said he chose to run because he has the leadership skills to bring people together and the education experience to understand how statewide decisions affect schools.
“What happens in Boise affects American Falls and Aberdeen and Montpelier and Sandpoint and Gooding – every city in the state of Idaho,” Jensen said. “What’s really great about Idaho is Idaho is a small enough state that one person can make a difference. It’s a small enough state that with our efforts in working together we can make a difference in the lives of our kids.”
More information about Jensen is available on his campaign website.