Monday morning news roundup

Campaign season will kick into top gear this week with the Republican state superintendent candidates squaring off twice in the Treasure Valley.

Melba school superintendent Andy Grover, American Falls principal Randy Jensen, Mountain Home educator Sherri Ybarra and Cottonwood teacher John Eynon are each running to succeed retired Republican schools chief Tom Luna.

First up, the candidates will participate in City Club of Boise forum on Monday, starting at 11:45 a.m. at the Grove Hotel.

The superintendent’s candidates will also meet on Thursday in a debate aired statewide on Idaho Public Television. That debate airs at 8 p.m. MDT and PDT. Idaho Education News’ Clark Corbin will be one of the panelists.

Last week, three of the four candidates — Grover, Jensen and Ybarra — squared off on the issues during a fast-paced debate at KIVI’s TV studio.

The Republican primary election is set for May 20, with the winner advancing to face Democrat Jana Jones in November.

Check back at Idaho Education News, and follow us on Twitter @idahoednews, for full coverage of all of these events.

Vallivue teacher earns NWPE scholarship

Vallivue High School math teacher Chris Best has won a $300 scholarship from Northwest Professional Educators.

Chris Best NWPA
Vallivue High School math teacher Chris Best

Best will use his scholarship to attend this summer’s Foundation for Teaching Economics Institute on Environment and Economics.

Best said many of his students are interested in economics, and that the institute will help him with classroom activities enhance his geometry and advanced statistics courses.

“The award is certainly well deserved, as Mr. Best seeks ways to increase student achievement by engaging in relevant, timely professional development,” NWPE Executive Director Cindy Omlin said in a news release.

NWPE is a nonprofit, nonunion educators’ association. The organization awards classroom grants and teacher scholarships twice a year. The next deadline for teachers to apply for awards is Oct. 1.

First Lady joins charter school advisory board

Idaho First Lady Lori Otter has joined the advisory board of Hailey’s Syringa Mountain School.

Otter, the wife of Gov. Butch Otter, wrote a letter of support for Syringa Mountain School in 2013, when officials were seeking authorization for the school from the Idaho Charter School Commission.

Lori Otter is former classroom teacher who taught at the middle and high school levels in Arizona and Idaho. She is also the author of five children’s books that focus on Idaho history and geography.

Syringa Mountain School is a K-5 public charter school that offers Waldorf education that aims to produce students who are compassionate, eco-literate critical thinkers, according to a news release issued by the school’s acting director, Mary Gervase.