Ybarra’s new spokesman leaves after one month on the job

Schools chief Sherri Ybarra’s public affairs deputy and spokesman has resigned after barely a month on the job.

Dan Goicoechea resigned Monday, according to a State Department of Education news release Tuesday.

Ybarra’s director of communications, Allison Westfall, would not provide any additional information on Goicoechea’s departure. Goicoechea could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Goicoechea joined Ybarra’s SDE on Aug. 14 to serve as Ybarra’s point person on the Idaho Land Board and act as Ybarra’s primary media contact. At the time, Ybarra lauded Goicoechea’s data management and state government experience as major assets.

The hire wasn’t a surprise. Goicoechea was one of Ybarra’s earliest political supporters. He was among the first prominent Republicans to assist Ybarra’s rookie campaign in 2014, and supported her campaigns financially, both in 2014 and in June of this year.

Goicoechea succeeded Jeff Church as Ybarra’s primary news media contact. Church left the SDE last month to take a different position at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Before joining Ybarra’s office, Goicoechea served as chief deputy under Idaho State Controller Brandon Woolf for five years. Goicoechea also has worked as a sheriff’s deputy and has served on a number of boards and commissions. In 2013, Gov. Butch Otter appointed Goicoechea to the Idaho Technology Authority, where Goicoechea served as chairman.

The SDE also announced Tuesday that former Idaho Statesman journalist Kris Rodine took a part-time job as a media relations specialist.

With Goicoechea’s absence, Westfall — who is a member of the Nampa School Board — will serve as Ybarra’s primary media contact.

 

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