West Ada leader named superintendent of the year

MERIDIAN — Mary Ann Ranells, superintendent of the West Ada School District, was named the 2018 Idaho Superintendent of the Year, selected by members of the Idaho Association of School Administrators (IASA). This award considers student achievement, instructional leadership, community engagement and relationship with the board of trustees.

“Ranells is recognized around the state as an outstanding leader,”said Rob Winslow, the executive director of IASA. “She is passionate about student achievement and values her teachers and school leaders.”

Ranells will be receiving this award and representing Idaho in February at the National Superintendents Conference in Los Angeles.

“She sets a high bar of expectations for achievement with the clear understanding that she is supportive and caring,” said Philip Neuhoff, chairman of the West Ada Board of Trustees.

Ranells has served as West Ada School District superintendent for nearly three years and has 44 years of experience in public education. Ranells began her career as an English, Spanish and reading teacher at Shoshone Junior High School. She went on to teach in the Wendell and Nampa school districts. In Nampa, she became the director of curriculum and instruction, a role she next filled in the Twin Falls School District.

Ranells served as the deputy superintendent from 2001-04 for the State Department of Education under Democrat Marilyn Howard. She spent six years as the superintendent of the Lakeland School District in Rathdrum. In 2013, she was a member of Gov. Butch Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education. She retired in 2014, but continued to work as an adjunct professor and doing consulting work for school districts across Idaho.

“Throughout my career, I have had a singular focus – what is best for boys and girls,” Ranells said. “The focus of public education should be to make sure kids are safe, that their emotional needs are being met, and that students are succeeding academically.”

Ranells is married to Bob Ranells, also a longtime Idaho educator and the superintendent of the Wallace School District. She has a bachelor of arts from Idaho State University, a master of education from the College of Idaho, and an education specialist and doctor of education in educational administration from the University of Idaho.

Ranells is a candidate for the National Superintendent of the Year award. In December, four national finalists will be announced and the winner announced at the conference.

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