West Ada trustees name four finalists for board vacancy

All four applicants who asked to serve on the West Ada School District’s board of trustees were named finalists on Wednesday.

After little discussion, the board voted unanimously to interview the bunch at a special meeting on March 29.

Trustees could select a finalist that night or wait and schedule a special meeting in April.

Idaho K-12 trustees serve as unpaid volunteers and usually obtain office by winning elections.

West Ada’s Zone 2 seat has a term ending January 2024. The seat opened after former board chair Amy Johnson’s Feb. 14 resignation, in which she cited harassment and threats. (Click here to read more about her experiences.)

Board chair Rusty Coffelt will have final say on interview questions.

The board plans to swear in the new Zone 2 trustee at its 6 p.m. April 11 board meeting.

Two of West Ada’s trustees are new to the board, starting their first terms in January after being elected last November. A third trustee, Coffelt, was appointed in February 2021.

Here are the finalists:

Jenn Halladay

Hallady founded the non-profit Parents Choice and Voice, which she said collected the opinions of hundreds of parents during the pandemic. She is an environmental health and safety manager for IBC Advanced Technologies in Utah and has served on the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities and Idaho’s Special Education Advisory Panel. Hallady said communication between West Ada’s board and parents at the start of the pandemic was “weak.” But added: “West Ada School District is on the right path,” Hallady said. “My experience, my passion and my success will help sustain this.”

Katelyn Penney

Penney is a lawyer who has served as a City of Boise ethics commissioner and now manages research compliance for St. Luke’s Health System. Penney stressed that she is a product of public education, with two educator parents.

Kevin Rank

Rank works for Boise State University and said he is tired of “watching others make decisions” and he sees the trustee role “as an opportunity to do something about these decisions.” He said that children have suffered during the pandemic and mask mandates. He said isolation is on the rise, as is anxiety, depression, stress and reliance on technology. This week was the first that he’s been able to “see my students smile” and to see his colleagues’ faces, Rank said.

Lucas Keola Baclayon

Baclayon taught for nearly two decades in Taiwan. He said he sees the position as a way to get more involved with education. He also said he hopes to be an advocate for teachers and English language learners, who he said he spent much of his teaching career with.

Kyle Pfannenstiel

Kyle Pfannenstiel

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the implementation of policy in Idaho’s K-12 public school system. He’s a military brat and former health care reporter who holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science from University of Idaho. Follow Kyle on Twitter @pfannyyy. He can be reached at [email protected].

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday