New leaders gear up for school

So much for the idea of a leisurely summer break.

Superintendents and administrators across the state have been attending meetings all week in anticipation of school resuming this month and next.

Aug. 5 New Supts
New superintendents, including Jefferson’s Lisa Sherick, far left, participate in training sessions Wednesday in Boise.

A handful of new superintendents have been even busier.

On Wednesday, 25 new superintendents, assistants and charter school administrators attended extra training with the Idaho State Department of Education.

During the meeting, they took deep dives into student data, state reporting requirements, teacher salaries, levies, elections, school finance and attendance calculations.

And that was just the morning session.

“I was joking with everybody that it was like unscrewing the fire hydrant and sticking your head in the middle,” Challis Superintendent Peter McPherson said.

McPherson, formerly the principal of a private school in the Nampa/Caldwell area, became Challis’ new superintendent on Jan. 20.

Although there is a learning curve in moving from principal to superintendent, McPherson said Wednesday’s training meeting and the department’s annual post-legislative tour devoted to new education laws have helped him make the adjustments.

One of the things he liked best about Wednesday’s session was experiencing it with other new superintendents.

“It’s beneficial sitting next to (new Jefferson School District Superintendent) Lisa (Sherick) and talking shop with her and fellow superintendents,” McPherson said. “We bounce stuff off each other and find out we’re not totally crazy.”

Sherick is making the transition to superintendent after a 28-year career in Idaho Falls, where she served as assistant superintendent.

Sherick said working with the staff in Idaho Falls helped prepare her to lead her own eastern Idaho district. Because finance was not an area of heavy emphasis for her, she was particularly interested in the funding, budget, levies and elections discussions Wednesday.

A good portion of Sherick’s summer is being devoted to meeting Jefferson’s teachers and staff, visiting the district’s nine schools and preparing for community back-to-school meetings set for Aug. 21 in Rigby.

But at this point, Sherick and other new superintendents said they are ready to take what they have learned and get the school year started.

“I am just excited to see the kids,” Sherick said.

New superintendents and deputy superintendents who registered to attend Wednesday’s meeting:

  • Kristen Beck, Hansen School District.
  • David Peterson, Nampa School District.
  • Karen Glassman, Inspire Connections Education.
  • Eric Anderson, Hagerman School District.
  • Marc Gee, Garden Valley School District.
  • Kenneth Cox, Minidoka School District.
  • Mary Gervase, Syringa Mountain School, Hailey.
  • GwenCarol Holmes, Blaine County School District.
  • Randy Yadon, Meridian Technical Charter
  • Mary Larson, Gooding School District.
  • Jim Smith, Salmon School District.
  • Coby Dennis, Boise School District.
  • Pal Sartori, Cascade School District.
  • Lisa Sherick, Jefferson School District.
  • Michael Jacobsen, South Lemhi School District.
  • Brad Murray, Lakeland School District.
  • Leigh Patterson, Mackay School District.
  • Arlyn Bodily, Valley School District.
  • Cody Fisher, Glenns Ferry School District.
  • Daniel Wendy, Taylor’s Crossing Charter School.
  • Rene Maestrejua, Pleasant Valley School District.
  • Peter McPherson, Challis School District.
  • Paul Anselmo, West Bonner County School District.
  • Melissa Anderson, North Star Charter.
  • Shay Davis, North Star Charter.

Clark Corbin

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