Ybarra completes her administrative staff

State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra has officially assembled her leadership team six months after taking office.

“The superintendent has no intentions of making additional hires in director or officer positions at this time,” said Chief Communications Officer Jeff Church. “However, it is far too early in the superintendent’s term to state that this will be her final hire.”

Ybarra’s most recent addition was Tim McMurtrey, the former superintendent for the Mountain Home School District. Ybarra worked under McMurtrey as Mountain Home’s federal programs director until she was elected as state superintendent in November 2014. McMurtrey was named the state’s chief performance officer. He was employed earlier this month as an independent contractor, not an employee. He has no fringe benefits, including pension and health. He has contracted his services for $50 an hour with a yearly maximum reimbursement of $105,000.

Ybarra has made at least three other hires with Mountain Home connections.

According to his contract obtained by Idaho Education News, McMurtrey will be responsible for collecting and analyzing data to determine how “educational performance can improve.” He is to offer recommendations to Ybarra. The job description also said: “the chief performance officer assists the superintendent to champion the vision — that results in a cultural shift to continuously learning and improving the organization, including the implementation of a training effort that empowers others to act on the vision and develop a culture that leads, manages and drives accountability and quality within the organization, every day.”

McMurtrey has an office at the State Department of Education and will report to Ybarra and assist all others in the leadership group.

“My understanding is that Tim will be focused on gathering internal performance data, and supporting staff in refining processes ultimately in an effort to best support schools and students,” Church said.

Ybarra has one other in her leadership circle that works as an independent contractor instead of an employee — Chuck Zimmerly, the community relations officer. Ybarra’s chief deputy Pete Koehler, who took the job on an interim basis in January, said he plans to step down at the end of this calendar year. 

Below is an organizational chart of Ybarra’s top administration. The chart includes their job descriptions and salaries.


Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over two million pageviews a year. Jennifer has more than 35 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday