Superintendent of Schools

Idaho Ed News

Schools chief Sherri Ybarra is making it official, formally launching her re-election bid today.

Ybarra, a Republican from Mountain Home, was elected superintendent of public instruction in 2014.

She first told Idaho Education News in a videotaped interview in December 2015 that she would seek a second term in 2018.

Andrew Reed / Idaho Ed News

Jeff Dillon says he is running for state schools superintendent to help create a “climate of possibility.”

But first, the Wilder School District superintendent says he needs to raise money and elevate his statewide profile as he challenges a sitting incumbent. And that’s why he submitted his paperwork Friday to launch his campaign.

education, election
Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

If state superintendent hopeful Sherri Ybarra votes on Election Day, it will be the first time the Republican has cast a ballot in a November general election while living in Mountain Home.

According to Elmore County election records, Ybarra has not voted for a governor, a state superintendent, a president or a state legislator in a general election since moving to Mountain Home in 1996.

This story was updated at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5, 2014

State superintendent’s candidate Sherri Ybarra has edited her campaign website — removing language that was nearly identical to wording on opponent Jana Jones’ website. 

The modifications apparently were made Thursday, a day after Idaho Education News first reported on similarities between the rival candidates’ sites. As recently as mid-afternoon Thursday, the passages appeared twice on Ybarra’s page.

Idaho Schools Chief Tom Luna Takes Nonprofit Job

Aug 19, 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

When State Superintendent Tom Luna leaves office in 2015, he will join a nonprofit education vendor.

Luna will join Project Lead The Way, an Indianapolis-based organization providing programs and teacher training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the so-called “STEM” fields. Luna will be the nonprofit’s vice president of policy, advocacy and research.

Luna will oversee four regional directors, as well as a team of policy analysts and researchers.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

After securing a surprise victory in Idaho's Republican primary, Sherri Ybarra now moves up to face Democratic challenger and political veteran Jana Jones in the race for Idaho's top education post.

Unlike the three GOP newcomers Ybarra competed against in the May primary, Ybarra's opponent in November's general election comes with statewide name recognition and has already significantly outraised and outspent her Republican contender.

Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Sherri Ybarra has won a close Republican primary for superintendent of public instruction, setting up what could be one of the most competitive statewide races in November.

Ybarra of Mountain Home took 28 percent of Tuesday's vote. Randy Jensen of American Falls was in second place with just over 24 percent, followed by John Eynon of Cottonwood with 24 percent and Andy Grover of Melba with 23 percent. All four of the candidates came with experience as educators but no political background.

Courtesy John Eynon

John Eynon’s career path has taken several abrupt turns — from teaching music to serving as a U.S. Navy commander to working for major textbook publishers and back.

The Cottonwood high school teacher is planning his retirement from the classroom, while contemplating another career change. He is one of four Republicans seeking to succeed state schools superintendent Tom Luna.

Randy Jensen
Idaho Ed News

In this town of less than 4,500 people, Randy Jensen has taken 3,000 students to lunch.

Anyone who has played Little League baseball in the past 25 years has shared the field with Coach Jensen.

One of four Republicans vying for state superintendent of public instruction, Jensen hopes to bring the same small-town approach to statewide office.

“I’m really big on relationships – in small towns you’re able to build a lot of relationships with a lot of people,” he said. “In a small town, you can make a big difference.”

Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Sherri Ybarra is a career educator and accomplished student. And that’s about all she likes to reveal publicly. 

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction prefers to keep her personal life out the papers and keep the questions and answers focused on Idaho education.

“I’d rather not say,” Ybarra said repeatedly during a recent interview at a Mountain Home coffee shop. She denied a request to be interviewed at her home or her Mountain Home School District office.

Courtesy Andy Grover

Andy Grover has been preparing for this moment all of his adult life.

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction has accomplished his checklist of tasks to place him where he is today — campaigning to oversee K-12 education in Idaho.

“I’ve always wanted to run,” Grover said. “I don’t do anything that’s not planned. We have a direction we’re going and we know why we’re doing it.”