Nampa school board names interim superintendent, loses two district leaders

Nampa School District student holds sign at meeting
Posted at 5:21 PM, Feb 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 19:21:46-05

NAMPA, Idaho — In a special trustees meeting on Saturday, the Nampa school board unanimously voted to appoint Gregg Russell as interim superintendent.

Russell currently serves as the district's assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. Before taking the position, Russell taught at Northwest Nazarene University and spent 12 years working for the Nampa School District as a teacher and administrator.

Newly-elected trustee and board chair Jeff Kirkman praised Russel in the Saturday meeting.

"I've spent some time with Gregg the last couple of weeks, and I've found him to be open-minded. He is smart, thoughtful about the things he says and the discussions that we have," Kirkman said. "I know that this district is in good hands."

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The board decision comes after former Nampa School District Superintendent Paula Kellerer announced her resignation on Friday in a letter to the board. In the letter, first reported by Idaho Education News, Kellerer cited the need for "change" and "mutual separation" due to division."

Paula Kellerer

The letter reads:

"Sometimes, values and deeply held individual beliefs are too far apart. When that occurs, it creates division and prevents a district from effectively focusing on the important work of student achievement."

On Saturday, longtime Zone 1 Trustee Mandy Simpson expressed her sadness at the loss of Kellerer.

"I completely respect the love and the dedication she has for students in this district, to the staff in this district, and the community," Simpson said. "I've always been someone who said that if someone wanted to resign, I would let them out, and today it's hard...I will be voting in favor of this, but selfishly I'm saddened by it."

Kellerer's resignation comes just one week after Michael Kipp announced he was stepping down as the district's Zone 2 trustee.

Kipp, whose resignation went into effect on Monday, said in a letter to district patrons and officials that most of his 30 months in elected office were "tumultuous and challenging" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"At some point along the way, it felt as if the arguments about a pandemic (and even its legitimacy) had diminished our focus on student achievement," Kipp's letter reads. "That was discouraging and even demoralizing."

Michael Kipp

The remaining four Nampa school board members accepted both resignations during the Saturday meeting.

Three of Nampa's four trustees — Kirkman, Brook Taylor, and Tracey Pearson — are new members. During the board's first meeting of 2022, the board voted 3-2 to appoint Kirkman chair and Pearson vice-chair.

Both Kipp and Simpson opposed the appointments.

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According to Idaho Statue, the remaining Nampa School District trustees must fill the Zone 2 seat within 90 days of Kipp's resignation. A candidate must receive a majority vote to be appointed. The person would serve for the remainder of Kipp's term, which expires in 2023.

If the board cannot fill the seat within the 90 days, they can appoint "a person at-large from within the boundaries of the school district."