State names evaluations oversight committee members

Fifteen educators and administrators have joined a committee designed to provide oversight of Idaho’s teacher evaluation system.

The new Professional Evaluation Review Committee will hold its first meetings at 8 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Red Lion Hotel, 1800 Fairview Ave., Boise.

The group, which includes four active teachers, is expected to look at overall evaluations policy, and draft potential guidelines for auditing the evaluations that school officials submit annually to the state.

Evaluations are important because, for the first time, they will be linked to teacher pay and taxpayer funding through the new, $125 million career ladder salary and accountability program signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Butch Otter.

Last month, Idaho Education News relied on state documents to publish an investigation into the evaluation system. Administrators in 32 of the state’s 115 school districts and 12 of 48 charter schools awarded identical overall scores to every teacher in 2013-14.

Numbers from the 2014-15 school year were nearly identical, with an Otter spokesman saying the findings highlight “the need for ongoing training for administrators in how to conduct the evaluations as they should be done.”

Representatives of Idaho’s major education groups, including the Idaho Education Association and Idaho Association of School Administrators, have publicly defended the evaluations system since Ed News’ investigation was published.

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But Tim Corder, a special assistant to Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, said the investigation highlights many longstanding concerns Ybarra has had with using evaluations as anything other than a tool to foster growth and improvement.

“Perhaps it is time for Idaho to invest in a different tool that can be deployed statewide and can get to that accountability,” Corder said last month.

The evaluations committee’s meeting are scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Lisa Colon, the State Department of Education’s teacher certification / Professional Standards Commission director, will head the committee.

Committee members include:

  • David Brinkman, Bonners Ferry, school board chairman.
  • Patricia Greer, Post Falls, teacher.
  • Kathy Siddoway, Hayden Lake, retired high school principal.
  • Charlotte McKinney, Clearwater, high school teacher.
  • Taylor Raney, Moscow, director of teacher education, University of Idaho.
  • Karen Dillon, Nampa, elementary teacher.
  • Peter McPherson, Nampa, superintendent.
  • Jennifer Snow, Boise, associate dean for teacher education, Boise State University.
  • Blas Telleria, Boise, director of human resources.
  • Tyler Matlock, Twin Falls, vice principal.
  • Susan Webb, Twin Falls, special education teacher.
  • Christina Linder, Pocatello, associate dean, Idaho State University College of Education.
  • David Sotutu, Grace, principal.
  • Shalene French, Bonneville, director of human resources.
  • Peggy Jones, Ammon, charter school teacher.

Check back with Idaho Education News next week for full coverage of the committee’s first meetings.