Quarles named state’s chief deputy

Roger Quarles was named chief deputy for the State Department of Education Monday. Superintendent Tom Luna made the announcement during the annual superintendent’s meeting at the Grove Hotel.

“He has a vast experience in education. I’m thrilled to have him come on board,” Luna said.

Quarles replaces Nick Smith, who left to become principal at Boise’s Lowell Elementary School.

As Chief Deputy, Quarles will oversee, supervise and support all educational programs at the department, including federal programs, assessment, school improvement and content areas. His first day is Aug. 19.

“I believe this is one of the most exciting times to be involved in education. I support Superintendent Luna’s vision to create a customer-driven education system that meets the needs of every student, so I am eager to join him and his team at the state level and work toward achieving these goals,” Quarles said.

Quarles brings 19 years of experience in education to the state. He has served as a teacher, a principal, assistant superintendent, district superintendent and university professor. He also was a successful businessman before starting his career in education.

Roger Quarles, CIFS, studio portrait
Roger Quarles

Quarles currently is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies at Boise State University, and co-director for the Idaho Leads Project, which he helped launch 18 months ago. The project helps school districts and charter schools build leadership capacity in their education communities; 63 districts and charters are participating.

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“Roger is making this move for all the right reasons,” said Lisa Kinnaman, a co-director for the Idaho Leads project and colleague of Quarles. “He is relentless about pursuing the best education possible for every student in Idaho.”

Kinnaman said she is most impressed with Quarles’ leadership skills.

“Roger has a way of making you believe the impossible is possible,” Kinnaman said. “He led our team to achieve beyond any established goals. I have no doubt he is going to make a tremendous impact on Idaho education in his new role.”

Quarles also is a member of Gov. Butch Otter’s 31-member education task force, which has worked over the summer to find ideas to improving education in Idaho.

Before joining BSU in May 2011, Quarles served as the superintendent of the Caldwell School District, one of the largest districts in Idaho with more than 6,000 students and 800 staff members. Quarles led the Caldwell School District through a reform effort in order to improve instruction and student achievement. When Quarles became superintendent in 2007, none of Caldwell’s schools met adequate yearly progress goals. In 2010, eight of the district’s 10 schools met the goals.

The Caldwell School District under Quarles partnered with Boise State’s Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies to implement the Caldwell Academy of Leadership and provide a leadership coach to every principal and the superintendent.

Quarles led the district as it built two award-winning elementary schools and partnered with a number of community organizations to offer more opportunities to students, including the creation of an after-school tutoring program and a pre-school in partnership with the United Way and local YMCA.

“Through his work in the Caldwell School District and at Boise State, Roger Quarles has demonstrated he is a leader of reform and innovation in Idaho with a proven track record of success,” Luna said.

Quarles was promoted to superintendent in 2007 after 18 months as deputy superintendent. In 2011, he completed his Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of Idaho. Before coming to the Caldwell School District, Quarles worked for the Blaine County and Kuna school districts as a teacher, coach and administrator. Before starting his teaching career, Quarles was a successful businessman. He owned his own pizza chain in California. Quarles and his wife, Trish, have four children and a granddaughter.

Disclaimer: The Idaho Leads Project and Idaho Education News are both funded by a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. Idaho Education News is housed by Boise State University.