Little backs local control, dual credit programs

Lt. Gov. Brad Little voiced support for dual enrollment, local control and vocational courses in a speech to more than 400 school administrators Wednesday.

Little delivered the keynote speech at the Idaho Association of School Administrators’ Leadership Conference in Boise.

Much of the Republican’s 20-minute speech was devoted to the role educators can play in economic development by pushing for excellent schools.

Brad LIttle IASA
Lt. Gov. Brad Little speaks at the IASA Leadership Conference Wednesday in Boise.

“The biggest part of work force development is what (educators) do in this room, whether preparing students to go on to have a career… or creating a great education environment that attracts business,” Little said. “You are a huge component of work force development in Idaho, perhaps the most important component.”

Little praised dual enrollment programs that allow students to save money by taking courses that count for college while still in high school.

Although he pushed for local control, Little acknowledged that some districts have been more successful than others in passing bonds and levies. In struggling districts, Little said, this often results in cuts to programs such as vocational education, art and music. “The biggest issue for me is what happens to a generation of those kids who go through rough spots (with school funding).”

Little praised Gov. Butch Otter and the Legislature for bolstering savings accounts that were nearly drained during the Great Recession.

“You don’t know what curveballs your going to get from federal government,” Little said. “It’s very important for us to have that shock absorber going forward.”

Administrator award recipients

After his speech, Little and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna helped IASA officials present their annual awards. During the ceremony, Twin Falls School District Superintendent Wiley Dobbs was named 2013 Superintendent of the Year.

Here’s the complete list of award winners:

  • Idaho Gem Award for Distinguished Service: Mark Jones, immediate past principal of Maple Grove Elementary and the new principal of Adams Elementary in Boise.
  • Idaho Gem Award for Instructional Leadership: Kendra McMillan, principal of Lane Whitmore Elementary in Moscow.
  • Distinguished Elementary Principal Award: Teresa Jones of Horizon Elementary in Jerome.
  • Outstanding Secondary Assistant Principal Award: Heath Jackson, immediate past assistant principal of Hillcrest High School and new principal of Bonneville High School in the Bonneville Joint School District.
  • Outstanding High School Principal Award: Conrad Underdahl, principal of Lakeland High School in the Lakeland School District.
  • Outstanding Middle School Principal Award: Kim Keaton, principal of Sandpoint Middle School in Sandpoint.
  • Outstanding Special Education Administrator of the Year: Kindel Mason, director of special education in the Jerome School District.
  • ISSA Distinguished Service Award: Mary Ann Ranells, superintendent of the Lakeland School District.
  • Superintendent of the Year: Wiley Dobbs, Twin Falls School District.
  • L.I.F.E. Award: Carlyn Greer, a parent mentor at Ponderosa Elementary School.
  • Leadership for Public Education Award: Camy Popeil, a supporter of the Coeur d’Alene, Lakeland and Post Falls school districts.

Clark Corbin

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