Little makes two choices for the State Board

Gov. Brad Little filled two State Board of Education vacancies Thursday — picking two appointees with education and agribusiness experience.

Cindy Siddoway, an owner-operator of an eastern Idaho sheep ranch, will join the board immediately.

Cally Grindstaff Roach — a retired executive with Clear Springs Foods, a Magic Valley trout farm — will join the board on Sept. 1.

The dual appointments further put Little’s imprint on the board, which has far-ranging policymaking authority in K-12 and higher education. If the Senate confirms these nominations next winter, five of the board’s eight members will be Little appointees.

“Both Cindy and Cally recognize the critical link between the strength of our education system in Idaho – from kindergarten through career – and a strong workforce that can meet the needs of Idaho employers today and into the future,” Little said in a news release Thursday.

Cindy Siddoway

Siddoway will replace Emma Atchley, a 12-year board member who stepped down on June 30.

Siddoway also owns and manages an elk and bison hunting preserve, in addition to the family sheep ranch. She formerly served on the West Jefferson School Board.

“As a previous local school board trustee, I appreciate the difficult decisions necessary to provide the best education possible, especially during these challenging times,” Siddoway said in Thursday’s news release.

Siddoway is the wife of former state Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton.

Grindstaff Roach will succeed Debbie Critchfield, who is stepping down after seven years on the State Board to focus on a run for state schools superintendent. Grindstaff Roach is a member of Idaho Business for Education’s board of directors and the WWAMI/University of Idaho advisory board. She previously served as foundation president for the College of Southern Idaho.

Cally Grindstaff Roach

“Continual learning and development enriches our lives and provides opportunity,” Grindstaff Roach said in a news release. “The success of our children and grandchildren is essential for the future of Idaho. I look forward to serving in this capacity.”

With the selections, Little maintains the board’s demographic and geographic makeup.

Five of the board’s eight members are women — including Linda Clark of Meridian, Shawn Keough of Sandpoint and state superintendent Sherri Ybarra. (The state superintendent has an automatic spot on the board.)

Atchley, of Ashton, had been Eastern Idaho’s sole board representative. Critchfield, of Oakley, is its sole Magic Valley representative. Governors are not obligated to select board members by region. But earlier this summer, Little education advisor Greg Wilson had said Little was looking to find appointees from Eastern Idaho and the Magic Valley.

In July, Little appointed Boise businessman Bill Gilbert to the board, an appointment that also awaits Senate confirmation.

In 2019, Little appointed Keough and Boise businessman Kurt Liebich, who now serves as board president.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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