State Board names new executive director

The State Board of Education went in-house Thursday to fill its top vacancy, naming Matt Freeman its next executive director.

Matt Freeman
Matt Freeman

Freeman succeeds Mike Rush, who announced May 18 he is resigning to accept a job as executive director and chief executive officer for the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Freeman starts on June 29, the same day as Rush starts his South Dakota job.

Since 2009, Freeman has served as the State Board’s deputy director and chief fiscal officer. Prior to that, Freeman served as principal budget and policy analyst for the Idaho Legislative Services Office, where he worked for nine years.

After Rush announced his resignation, the State Board opened a short, two-week application window that closed June 5.

“(Freeman) provides a seamless leadership transition for the board office as the board continues to focus on implementing the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education and increasing postsecondary opportunities for students,” Board President Emma Atchley said in a written statement Thursday.

The executive director position pays between $125,000 and $135,000 per year. The State Board of Education is a policymaking body that oversees Idaho’s public school system and colleges and universities.

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The task force’s recommendations are tied to the State Board’s goal of boosting Idaho’s postsecondary graduation rate to 60 percent by 2020.

“The Board is strongly committed to full implementation of the task force’s recommendations and will confidently look to (Freeman) to work with the board to achieve its overall goal of Idaho students being college- and career-ready,” Atchley said. “(Freeman) is well-known and respected in Idaho government and will work with all stakeholders to achieve the board’s goals.”

In a statement, Freeman said, “I look forward to working with the board, policymakers, public schools and colleges and universities to provide high-quality education opportunities for Idaho’s students.”