The Coeur d’Alene Press – Local News, Keough, Hendrickx named to education task force


Shawn Keough, executive director of the Associated Logging Contractors in Coeur d’Alene, and Jody Hendrickx, a St. Maries School Board member, are among the members of Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s Our Kids, Idaho’s Future Task Force for public education announced on Wednesday.

Hendrickx also serves as the Idaho School Boards Association’s vice president, while Keough is a former state senator from Sandpoint.

The task force will formulate a five-year blueprint for improvement of and investment in Idahos K-12 public education system.

The group includes teachers, school administrators, education stakeholders, business leaders and a bipartisan group of legislators from every part 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,” Little 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 Gov. Butch Otter in 2013. The first task force demonstrated a model for education policymaking that resulted in recommendations to expand early literacy, teacher salary increases and increased dual credit opportunities for high school students. Idaho is in its fifth year implementing the recommendations of the first task force.

Former Lakeland Joint School District Superintendent Mary Ann Ranells is also among the school administrators on the new task force.

Other education stakeholders are: Debbie Critchfield, president, Idaho State Board of Education; 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, Genesee Joint School District and ISBA president; Erin McCandless, Idaho State PTA president; 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; and Terry Ryan, CEO, Bluum, Boise.

Other business leaders include: Bill Gilbert, co-founder and managing director, Caprock, Boise; Kurt Liebich, CEO, RedBuilt, Boise; Matt Van Vleet, government affairs director, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Lewiston; Katherine Hart, associate general counsel, Melaleuca, Idaho Falls; and Juan Alvarez, deputy director for management and operations, Idaho National Laboratories, Idaho Falls.

Legislators include: Sens. Chuck Winder, Dean Mortimer and Janie Ward-Engelking; and Reps. Mat Erpelding, Jason Monks, Lance Clow, Gary Marshall and Wendy Horman.

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