Newland named Director of Idaho Youth Challenge Academy
The Idaho Adjutant General, Major General Gary Sayler, today announced that the first director of the new Idaho Youth Challenge Academy is Mr. Derek Newland.
Newland comes to the position with a strong military background and vast experience working with youths. Prior to accepting this role, he flew and instructed new military pilots in how to fly and perform the mission of the Idaho Air National Guard, in several different aircraft. He later assumed senior management roles as one of the 124thFighter Wing’s commanders and recently retired from his military career as the comptroller/chief financial officer for the Idaho Air National Guard.
The Idaho Youth Challenge Academy program, which will build its cadet body with Idaho youths aged from 16 to 18 years old, will give high school dropouts a second chance to earn their high school diplomas or GEDs.
The mission of the Idaho Youth Challenge Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16- to 18-year-old high school dropouts, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. By the end of the nearly 6 month in-residence program, the cadets will have earned credits preparing them to reintegrate back into public schools or attain either their high school diploma or their GED.
Along with education they will learn to respect themselves and others, work as a team, exercise daily, and learn accountability. The program is in keeping with U.S. Congress directives to the Department of Defense to manage it.
The program is currently located in 27 states, overseen by each state’s National Guard senior officer. Federal-to-state spending for the program is at a ratio of 3-1. The school is considered an alternative high school, and Orofino School District #171 donated the former Pierce Elementary School - built in 1979 - for this project in 2011. When it’s up and running, the program will provide more than 50 new jobs centered in Pierce.
Among the first people to be hired for the program will be a lead recruiter, whose role it will be to seek eligible student candidates from around the state. This lead recruiter will soon be contacting school district superintendents and school counselors.