Making the Grade: Gov. Little names members of “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” education task force

Posted at 12:42 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 14:47:49-04

BOISE — Governor Brad Little announced Wednesday the members of his new “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” Task Force, establishing the group that will formulate a five-year blueprint for improvement of -- and investment in -- Idaho’s K-12 public education system.

The task force members include teachers, school administrators, education stakeholders, business leaders, and a bipartisan group of legislators from every corner of the state.

Little introduced the concept of the “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” Task Force in his first State of the State and Budget Address earlier this year.

“The ‘Our Kids, Idaho’s Future’ Task Force will adopt a broad-based, collaborative process to examine our public education system, with an emphasis on improving student achievement and accountability to parents and taxpayers,” he said.

Little directed the group to establish the K-12 public education priorities for the next five years. It will review the K-12 budget to align investments with the priorities, with the overall goals of improving student achievement, identifying a framework to successfully measure student success, recruit and retain teachers, and others.

The new task force builds on the education task force assembled by former Governor “Butch” Otter in 2013. “The first task force demonstrated a successful model for education policymaking that resulted in recommendations to expand early literacy, raise teacher salaries, and increase dual credit opportunities for high school students. Idaho is in its fifth year implementing the recommendations of the first task force,” said Little’s Press Sectary, Marissa Morrison.

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra is one of the Task Force members. In a written statement, she said, “I look forward to serving on the governor’s new education task force, ‘Our Kids, Idaho’s Future.’ It’s important to build on the progress this state has made in helping Idaho students succeed in school and beyond, and set ambitious goals for the next five years.”

The “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” Task Force members include:

Teachers, School Administrators, and Education Stakeholders:

•Debbie Critchfield, President, Idaho State Board of Education — Co-Chair
•Sherri Ybarra, Superintendent of Public Instruction
•Marc Beitia, American Falls High School teacher and 2019 Idaho Teacher of the Year
•Kari Overall, President, Idaho Education Association
•Jennifer Parkins, Board Chair, Genesee Joint School District and Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) President
•Jody Hendrickx, Trustee, St. Maries School District and ISBA Vice President
•Erin McCandless, Idaho State PTA President
•Mary Ann Ranells, Superintendent, West Ada School District
•Luke Schroeder, Superintendent, Kimberly School District
•Cheryl Charlton, Superintendent, Idaho Digital Learning Academy
•Pete Koehler, retired Chief Deputy Superintendent and former Nampa High School Principal and Superintendent
•Terry Ryan, CEO, Bluum, Boise

Business Leaders:

•Bill Gilbert, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Caprock, Boise — Co-Chair
•Kurt Liebich, CEO, RedBuilt, Boise
•Matt Van Vleet, Government Affairs Director, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Lewiston
•Katherine Hart, Associate General Counsel, Melaleuca, Idaho Falls
•Juan Alvarez, Deputy Director for Management and Operations, INL, Idaho Falls
•Shawn Keough, Executive Director, Associated Logging Contractors, Coeur d’Alene


•Senator Chuck Winder, Majority Leader, Idaho Senate
•Senator Dean Mortimer, Idaho Senate Education Committee
•Senator Janie Ward-Engelking, Idaho Senate Education Committee and Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee
•Representative Mat Erpelding, Minority Leader, Idaho House of Representatives
•Representative Jason Monks, Assistant Majority Leader, Idaho House of Representatives
•Representative Lance Clow, Idaho House Education Committee
•Representative Gary Marshall, Idaho House Education Committee
•Representative Wendy Horman, Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee

(photo courtesy: Marissa Morrison)