Ybarra hires new chief deputy

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra today appointed Peter McPherson as chief deputy superintendent. He replaces Pete Koehler, who retires June 29.

Peter McPherson

McPherson, 45, is superintendent and federal programs director of the Challis School District, a position he has held since January 2014. Ybarra said McPherson’s appointment respects that 72 percent of Idaho school districts are rural, serving nearly 38 percent of the state’s students. In addition, 46 percent of administrators and nearly 40 percent of teachers work in the state’s rural districts.

“I’m excited about Superintendent Ybarra’s vision for education and to join her and her team to take it to the next level,” McPherson said. “I’m looking forward to working alongside committed professionals who put the needs of students first and who ‘walk the walk’ by listening to the needs of schools and are genuinely eager to help support them.”

As chief deputy, McPherson will oversee day-to-day management of the department. He joins Deputy Superintendent Tim McMurtrey as the superintendent’s senior leaders in the State Department of Education.

“I know many folks speculated that Tim would be the next chief deputy, however, he told me early on he wanted to keep his focus in his area of expertise: academic support,” Superintendent Ybarra said.

McPherson joins Ybarra’s team June 18 and his annual salary will be $125,000.

Before his service in Challis, McPherson led Gem State Academy, a private boarding school in Canyon County, for nearly six years. He served as a secondary teacher for 10 years in private schools in Colorado, California and Oregon.

McPherson earned an education specialist degree in educational leadership and administration from Northwest Nazarene University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Walla Walla University. McPherson is currently pursuing a doctorate from Northwest Nazarene University.

McPherson spent the early years of his life in Alaska and moved to Idaho at age 15 with his parents. He graduated from Gem State Academy, the school where he later served as principal. For 16 years, he spent summers working at Camp Ida-Haven in McCall.  He, his wife, and their three children ages 8, 6, and 4 live in Nampa.

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