Trustees prepare to elect association leaders

BOISE — Four school board trustees are vying for two top spots to lead one of the state’s biggest education association.

The Friday morning elections for officers to lead the Idaho School Boards Association pits trustees from rural and metropolitan districts against each other.

For the first time in several years, the elections are contested. And that’s a good thing, said Quinn Perry, policy and government affairs director for ISBA.

“It’s good to have differing opinions, views, locations of where you are, the sizes of school districts that you represent,” Perry said in an interview Thursday. “… We’re just excited to have that engagement and look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.”

For president-elect, Boise School District trustee Nancy Gregory is running against Marsing trustee Jason Sevy. Gregory has served as chair of the Boise School District for six years and hopes to advocate for professional development and member services.

“I am passionate about public education,” Gregory wrote, according to her candidate bio. “I firmly believe in the vision and mission of ISBA, which is to advocate for public education and provide trustees across the state with professional development and services they need to empower local boards as they focus on student success.”

Sevy works in sales and is chair of the Marsing School District’s board. He also has served as chair of the Canyon-Owyhee Schools Service Agency for more than two years. In Sevy’s bio, he said “I want to lead this organization. I feel that we need a strong voice at the top.”

The race for vice president has drawn two candidates — a longtime school board chair from North Idaho, Ken Hart, and a trustee with over a decade of experience from southcentral Idaho, Star Olson.

Hart, who has served as chair of the Nez Perce School District board since 2003, said his 25 years of experience on the local board has helped him better understand Idaho education policy and procedures. He hopes to leverage that experience into helping ISBA “continue premier leadership, policy, governance and organizational education, and services for school districts and charter schools.”

“I strongly believe in public education to promote the common good of our nation and its citizens,” Hart wrote. “ISBA must remain a strong, unified and objective voice for students and public schools in Idaho.”

Olson, a plumber who has served on the Dietrich School District board for more than a decade, said he brings sound leadership as board chair. As a board member, he said his school has seen the construction of a new elementary school and gymnasium — all while running “our school in the black without a levy.” As board chair, he said he has also streamlined meetings, reducing time spent by half.

“I have always felt that you should lead from the front,” Olsen wrote in his bio.

Trustees also will vote Friday on a slate of nine resolutions that will determine the association’s legislative priorities. The proposals include more flexibility for hiring school counselors, support for Idaho’s core learning standards and guiding principles for K-12 funding. Read more about the resolutions at this previous Idaho EdNews story.

Perry said she admires that ISBA’s legislative platform is completely driven by its members, who are local school officials.

“They bring us the proposals. They tell us how to vote on these proposals. When I go to the statehouse and advocate for or against position, it’s because of what my members have asked me to do,” Perry said. “I think that’s really powerful.”

Check back with Idaho EdNews on Friday afternoon for coverage of ISBA’s adopted legislative priorities.

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