State Board hires two presidents

BOISE — The State Board of Education hired and approved annual salaries for new presidents at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

Kevin Satterlee — former chief operating officer, vice president and special counsel at Boise State University — will take over as ISU’s president on June 18. His annual salary was approved at $370,000.

Cynthia Pemberton, vice president for academic affairs at Colorado Mesa University, will assume her role as president of LCSC July 1, with an annual salary of $225,000.

Seven of the eight members comprising the State Board voted unanimously to hire the candidates and approve their contracts during a teleconference meeting Thursday. Board member Andrew Scoggin did not participate in the conference call.

Trustees did not discuss either candidate’s qualifications during the conference call. However, State Board President Linda Clark provided a statement in a press release issued by the State Board within five minutes after the votes.

“The Board was impressed by the quality of the candidates who came to us as finalists through the selection process,” Clark said. “These were not easy decisions but we are confident that Cynthia and Kevin are the right people at the right time for LCSC and ISU.”

Two other finalists for the ISU job were Charles “Chuck” Wight, president, Weber State University; and Laura Woodworth-Ney, ISU’s executive vice president and provost.

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Four other finalists for the LCSC presidency included:

  • Kristin Poppo, provost, Alfred State College.
  • Grayson Stanley, vice president of student services, North Idaho College.
  • Brock Tessman, dean of Davidson Honors College, University of Montana.
  • Robbyn Wacker, senior campaign advisor for development and alumni relations, University of Northern Colorado.

Trustees also approved a free reading program

The State Board also approved the use of a free online program aimed at helping young learners get ready for kindergarten.

“Smarty Ants” is an animated learning tool that looks like a cross between a video game and a homework assignment. Children begin by completing a pre-test to determine their skill level. Then the program creates a personalized instruction program that includes built-in assessment tests, games and graduation ceremonies.

The program can both “improve” and “accelerate learning,” Ybarra said during the conference call, adding, “I’m looking forward to rolling this out.”

Ybarra unveiled the program as part of her early childhood education proposal in November.

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