Nampa trustees appoint replacement after accepting superintendent’s resignation

Nampa assistant superintendent Gregg Russell was appointed interim superintendent Saturday, Feb. 5, after Paula Kellerer resigned. Kyle Pfannenstiel/Idaho EdNews

Nampa School District trustees on Saturday unanimously accepted superintendent Paula Kellerer’s resignation and appointed assistant superintendent Gregg Russell to temporarily lead the district.

Trustees met in executive session for nearly 30 minutes before publicly accepting the resignation, effective Friday. They then appointed Russell as interim superintendent.

Russell worked for Nampa for 12 years as a teacher and administrator, according to his bio on the district’s website. He became a professor at Northwest Nazarene University in 2014 but rejoined the district as an administrator.

The board did not address the process for finding a longterm superintendent Saturday.

Kellerer’s resignation follows upheaval among trustees. Three new board members — Jeff Kirkman, Brook Taylor and Tracey Pearson — were elected in November. After being sworn into their roles in January, they voted in concert 3-2 to make Kirkman chair and Pearson vice-chair.

The two experienced trustees, outgoing chair Mandy Simpson and Mike Kipp, opposed the new leadership appointments.

Kipp resigned from the board Monday, stating in a letter that he stepped down because he was “weary, tired, and due to the toll this service has taken on my family and me.”

The board declared a vacancy for Kipp’s seat Saturday, initiating the process for candidates to apply and setting a 90-day countdown to fill the position.

Before discussing Kellerer’s resignation Saturday, Kirkman asked an attendee in the audience to bring his sign reading “Thank you Paula” to the front of the crowded board room, where trustees sat. The attendee then taped the sign to the trustees’ desk.

A meeting attendee tapes a sign thanking resigning Nampa superintendent Paula Kellerer to trustees’ desk. Kyle Pfannenstiel/Idaho EdNews

All trustees thanked Kellerer for her service.

“I sincerely believed that Dr. Kellerer leaving would be more disruptive and ineffective to this school district,” Kirkman said. “So I really had all intentions of moving forward.”

Taylor said she was hopeful for what the district could do with the new board. But, she said, “even after today, we are still Nampa.”

Simpson, who served for years on the board during Kellerer’s tenure as superintendent, said she was reluctantly accepting the resignation, as she fought back tears.

“Today it’s hard,” Simpson said, adding, “Selfishly, I’m saddened by this, but I just want to say thank you, Dr. Kellerer, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to learn and be a member on your team.”

Kirkman said he wanted someone like Kipp — who “doesn’t agree with what everybody says on the board” — to fill his vacant seat.

Kipp’s term expires in December of 2023, which will also mark an end to his replacement’s term.

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].

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday