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Idaho students and schools need a teacher to lead

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Idaho students and schools need a teacher to lead

As a longtime colleague and strong supporter of the Gray Ibar superintendent, I have been following this year’s main campaign with great interest and some concern.

Concern arises when I hear her opponents or their supporters say in all seriousness that it doesn’t really matter whether the head of public education, the person who heads the Idaho school system, is a teacher. I guess they should say this because Ibar’s superintendent is the only certified teacher in the race – and the only former director and district administrator.

She respects the passion, commitment and know-how of Idaho teachers and school administrators. She was there and did it.

I have known Gray Ibaru since the late 1990s and have a lot of respect for her and what she has achieved for Idaho students. I first met her when I was an elementary school student, watching East Elementary classes at Mountain Home, where she taught third grade. She immediately stood out for me with her kindness, encouragement and seemingly easy way to communicate with students.

A few years later I had the privilege of teaching with her at the same school. For over 20 years of teaching Gray Ibarra has been one of the most effective teachers I have ever worked with.

For nearly eight years of leadership by the State Department of Education, she has used her experience, understanding, and excellent leadership skills to provide students and faculty with the support, services, and training they need.

I had the opportunity to attend some professional development offered by the State Department of Education. Iber Superintendent turns to leading researchers in education, including Dr. Louise Mouts, can be said to be the best researcher in the country. This spring, she brought Dr. Mouts to Idaho for the K-3 Reading Summit and SMART, a long-standing cohort of reading science that is a huge step in Idaho’s efforts to make sure all Idaho students can read at the class level. the end of the third grade.

I remember the last time the State Department of Education was run by a non-teacher, and it had a devastating effect on the morale of teachers, students and school supporters. Then, when Ibar’s superintendent took office in 2015, the department’s culture changed dramatically, and with it the effectiveness of the superintendent’s programs and ideas.

The state concern oversees many services vital to schools and students, including federal programs run by Gray at the district level. And there is a certification of teachers and a commission on professional standards. We need someone at the helm who understands what work entails.

Superintendent Ibara is constantly traveling the states, supporting teachers and students, and she is willing to find time in her busy schedule to replace him in the classroom.

Although funding for education in Idaho has increased under the leadership of Superintendent Ibar, our state still funds education lower than any other state in the country. Despite this lack of funding, Education Week determines that Idaho has improved from the 31st to the 17th in the country for academic achievement.

Teachers, students and families across Idaho know that Gray Ibarra supports us and she has everything she needs to continue to improve student performance.

As an Idaho teacher, I would like to personally thank Iber’s superintendent for the tireless work she does for Idaho students, as well as for understanding and assisting in the tireless work of Idaho teachers.

About Lisa Russell

Lisa Russell is a first grade teacher at Eastern Primary School at Mountain Home. She recently received the National Pedagogical Award from VFW.

Read more stories by Lisa Russell »

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