Otter names his higher education task force

Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday announced the 36 members who will participate in his Higher Education Task Force.

Otter State of State folo
Gov. Butch Otter

Modeled after Otter’s K-12 Task Force for Improving Education, the new task force will focus on improving progress towards the state’s goal of 60 percent of young adults holding some sort of postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. Led by co-chairs Linda Clark and Bob Lokken, the task force also will issue more general recommendations for higher education.

The task force roster includes Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, the other seven members of the State Board of Education, the presidents of Idaho’s colleges and universities, business leaders, two university students and six legislators — including two Democrats and four Republicans.

Sherri Ybarra
Superintendent Sherri Ybarra

“I’m excited to see such great willingness to participate in this important process,” Otter said in a written statement Wednesday. “These citizens are eager to help identify and advance the most effective ways for Idaho to aggressively pursue our goals of educating and preparing more Idahoans for productive careers while addressing the growing employer demand for skilled workers.”

Members of the task force are schedule to conduct their initial, organizational meeting Feb. 10 in Boise.

“Individuals and organizations from throughout Idaho are joining in this effort to improve how we plan, fund and implement public policies that work for the people we serve,” Otter said.

Otter announced the task force Jan. 6, during the Associated Press’ annual legislative preview event. Originally, Otter signaled the task force would include 28 members, but membership swelled to 36 participants.

Members include:
Co-chairwoman Linda Clark, Idaho State Board of Education
Co-chairman Bob Lokken, Boise, WhiteCloud Analytics
Emma Atchley, Idaho State Board of Education
Richard Westerberg, Idaho State Board of Education
Andy Scoggin, Idaho State Board of Education
David Hill, Idaho State Board of Education
Debbie Critchfield, Idaho State Board of Education
Don Soltman, Idaho State Board of Education
Sherri Ybarra, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Laird Stone, College of Southern Idaho Board of Trustees
Art Vailas, president, Idaho State University
Bob Kustra, president, Boise State University
Chuck Staben, president, University of Idaho
Tony Fernandez, president, Lewis-Clark State College
Jeff Fox, president, College of Southern Idaho
Bert Glandon, president, College of Western Idaho
Richard MacLennan, president, North Idaho College
Rick Amman, president, Eastern Idaho Technical College
Sen. Bob Nonini, R- Coeur d’Alene
Sen. Abby Lee, R-Fruitland
Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise
Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth
Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise
Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls
Josh Scholer, student, Boise State University
Matt Hauser, student, College of Western Idaho
Skip Oppenheimer, Boise, Idaho Business for Education
Mike Mooney, Boise, retired, Bank of the Cascades
David Pate, Boise, St. Luke’s Health System
Steve Meyer, Boise, Parkwood Business Properties
Kurt Liebich, Boise, RedBuilt
Park Price, Idaho Falls, Bank of Idaho
Ray Stark, Boise, Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce
Wendy Jaquet, Ketchum, Boise State University instructor and former legislator
Bessie Katsilometes, Meridian, retired vice president, Idaho State University
Marilyn Whitney, Boise, deputy chief of staff and education adviser, Office of the Governor