Quarles steps down, will return to BSU

Roger Quarles stepped down this week as state superintendent Tom Luna’s chief deputy, after six months on the job.

Roger Quarles, CIFS, studio portrait
Roger Quarles

Quarles, who is returning to work at Boise State University, also says he will not run for the state superintendent’s post.

Quarles submitted his resignation letter Tuesday. Quarles’ last full day at the State Department of Education was Thursday, but he said he will work with the state during the transition.

When Quarles left BSU in July, it was under the understanding that Luna would seek re-election in 2014. “That was a conditional thing for me,” Quarles said in an interview Thursday.

On Monday, Luna announced that he would not seek a third term.

“I’m comfortable with this,” Luna said Thursday, speaking of Quarles’ decision. “I made a commitment to Roger, and that’s changed.”

Quarles has been listed as a potential candidate for superintendent — particularly in the 72 hours since Luna announced his plans to step aside. But on Thursday, Quarles closed the door to that possibility. “I won’t be seeking the superintendent’s job.”

It’s unclear how Luna may reshuffle his management team for the final 11 months of his term. He said he might hire another chief deputy or promote from within, or parcel out the job among several deputies. That was the management structure Luna has used for most of his seven years in office; he had appointed Nick Smith as chief deputy in January 2013, but he too left within a matter of a few months for a principal’s job at Boise’s Lowell Elementary School.

Quarles will return to the Idaho Leads project, a professional development team he helped create two years ago. The project works with 66 school districts and charter schools to build leadership capacity. Quarles, who left BSU on a leave of absence last summer, will again assume a co-director’s post at Idaho Leads.

Quarles also hopes to teach at BSU; an executive educational leadership program, focused on teaching aspiring school superintendents, should be up and running this summer.

Last week, Quarles went to London with two other Idaho Leads project directors to participate in The Global Partnership Project, a collaboration involving educators from 10 countries and 1,000 schools. Quarles took vacation days for the week-long stay; his trip was paid for by the Idaho Leads project. While there, Quarles was named to the advisory board for Global Partnership, which is funded by Intel, Microsoft, Promethean and others.

Quarles is a former administrator, teacher and coach and superintendent of the Caldwell School District.

Disclaimer: Idaho Education News and the Idaho Leads project are both housed by Boise State University and funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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