Nampa trustee resigns, cites toll of pandemic talks

A Nampa School District trustee resigned on Monday less than a year after fending off a recall attempt.

Mike Kipp

Mike Kipp, a Northwest Nazarene University professor, announced his resignation from the Nampa school board in a letter to district leadership and community members. Kipp said discussions about the pandemic weighed down on him.

“I am stepping down because I am weary, tired, and due to the toll this serve has taken on my family and me,” Kipp wrote in his resignation letter. “… I believe I served in this role to the best of my ability and with enthusiasm. However, at some point along the way, it felt as if the arguments about a global pandemic (and even its legitimacy) had diminished our focus on student achievement. That was discouraging and even demoralizing.”

Kipp’s departure leaves an almost entirely new board in charge of one of Idaho’s largest school districts. Three newcomers won open seats in the 2021 election, beginning their terms in January.

Kipp and Mandy Simpson, elected in 2015, were the only trustees who have served on the board before this year.  Trustees appointed Kipp to the board in 2019. He won an uncontested race that year to serve a four-year term. Kipp retained his seat after a failed recall vote in March 2021.

The newcomers swept board leadership elections earlier this month, replacing Kipp as vice chair and Simpson as chair. Trustee Jeff Kirkman, a former prison warden and Nampa planning and zoning commissioner, was elected board chair and trustee Tracey Pearson was elected vice chair. Both victories were on 3-2 votes.

Kipp wrote in the letter that he hopes the new board provides “fresh perspectives and energy to re-focus on student achievement, the learning loss that has occurred due to the pandemic, and meaningful conversations about the need for a supplemental levy to support our kids.” He also said the board should focus and support “our most vulnerable learners,” including special education students, students with disabilities, English language learners, unaccompanied minors and students experiencing homelessness.

Idaho law says school boards are responsible for appointing new trustees to fill vacancies. Appointments should be made in the first 90 days after the vacancy is declared at a board meeting, but the deadline may be extended. Appointed trustees will serve until the end of the seat’s term. Kipp’s term was set to end Dec. 2023.

Kyle Pfannenstiel

Kyle Pfannenstiel

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the implementation of policy in Idaho’s K-12 public school system. He’s a military brat and former health care reporter who holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science from University of Idaho. Follow Kyle on Twitter @pfannyyy. He can be reached at [email protected].

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