PROFILE: Jones joins race to push for new schooling route

Idaho’s superintendent of the 12 months Chuck Shackett is backing Jana Jones, because he says the stakes are too substantial not to.

Jones at BSU

Jones speaks to a group of higher school and university students last week on Boise State University’s pupil union.

Shackett, who prospects eastern Idaho’s Bonneville Joint School District, said he has identified and respected Jones for many years, while Republican nominee Sherri Ybarra has not reached out to him or created substantial efforts meeting educators or voters across eastern Idaho.

Jones and Ybarra are vying to substitute outgoing Tom Luna as state superintendent of public instruction – a work that entails overseeing the state’s biggest price range, implementing State Board of Training guidelines, playing politics with the Legislature, overseeing the state’s 115 school districts and charter schools and spearheading education reform and accountability measures for the subsequent four many years.

Shackett trusts Jones so significantly he attempted unsuccessfully to hire her a number of years in the past to run Bonneville’s specific education programs.

With a controversial tiered licensure proposal on the table, a connected career ladder pay strategy in the operates, twenty training activity force suggestions waiting to be implemented and sizzling debates in excess of funding amounts, Shackett explained he desires a superintendent who can be efficient from day one particular. With the departure of key Luna staffers – such as deputy chief of staff Jason Hancock, assessment director TJ Bliss and communications director Melissa McGrath — the next superintendent should be able to reshape the division.

Shackett trusts Jones due to the fact of her earlier encounter as chief deputy superintendent below Marilyn Howard. Jones also worked beneath two Republican college chiefs, Jerry Evans and Anne Fox.

“We want a person to go in to the state department and have adequate clout with educators and administrators during the state that they persuade them to depart their contracts – or not renew present ones – and go indicator on to be a part of a new team,” Shackett explained. “Jana would be the 1 out of the two candidates who could truly have the encounter to go in there, set up the State Department of Education and be able to employ people.”

Jones says her encounter counts and separates her from Ybarra.

“I know what’s very good out there, I know what’s not functioning,” Jones explained. “I’ve been constantly and totally working in public schooling my total job.”

It all commenced in initial grade

Jones was born and raised in Idaho Falls, the oldest of 5 young children.

On the campaign trail, Jones mentions several influences, but, time and once more, she factors to her initial-grade instructor from Idaho Falls, Victoria Goodman.

Jones mentioned Goodman inspired her to grow to be a robust leader and imparted a really like of training from an early age. The two have stayed in touch throughout existence.

Goodman, who retired following teaching for 46 many years, described Jones as “an excellent kid.”

Goodman even now refers to Jones as “Jana Lee,” like her middle identify just as she did in initial grade.

“I’ve had a lot of college students go into the area of schooling, and I have been proud of all of them,” Goodman explained. “But Jana Lee has gone more and carried out more.”

Goodman – like Shackett – pointed to Jones’ knowledge as chief deputy state superintendent as an crucial factor.

“Jana Lee has that operate knowledge under her and discovered all the ins and outs and the demands she would have to have,” Goodman explained.

Expert background

After graduating from Skyline Large College and earning her degree in specific education from Utah State University, Jones returned to Idaho Falls to educate particular training at Linden Park Elementary College.

Following teaching young children with disabilities in child care and earning her master’s degree, Jones founded the Progressive Day School in Idaho Falls with her sister.

The school, which even now exists, provides preschool and youngster care and was one particular of Idaho’s initial early childhood centers to include college students with disabilities and unique wants into classrooms with their peers. Jones has because turned it over to a nonprofit, but each and every of her children and grandchildren attended the center.

Jones went on to earn her doctorate degree and continued her concentrate on early childhood education and special schooling.

She worked as a regional unique education advisor for the Idaho Department of Well being and Welfare and worked on early childhood training initiatives underneath former Gov. Cecil Andrus.

She later became Idaho’s total-time director of special training, a regional consultant beneath Evans and Fox, and finally, Howard’s chief deputy.

Jones would back Boise Democratic state Rep. Hy Kloc’s pre-K pilot strategy, but says pre-K ought to in no way be mandatory.

“We actually need to have to be extremely particular and I intend to get the variety of information legislators want to see (on pre-K),” Jones stated. “I believe Idaho information is important. Hearing national information does not move them.”

Soon after Jones narrowly misplaced the state superintendent’s race to Luna in 2006, she grew to become a director with Virginia-based mostly MAXIMUS, a for-revenue training organization that offers consulting, education computer software, response to intervention applications and curriculum resources.

Ybarra has criticized Jones for her work with MAXIMUS, but Jones strongly refutes Ybarra’s claims that she is sitting on the sidelines.

Jones has been promoted to vice president with MAXIMUS, and she says the occupation enables her to function on curriculum and special training applications at college in spots as diverse as New York City and Colorado.

“It has been a continuous understanding procedure – finding out how to comprehend contracts far better, which is component of the function of state superintendent – operating with outdoors vendors from the two sides of the table,” Jones said.

Jones says MAXIMUS has in no way contracted with an Idaho college in her time – getting rid of any prospective conflicts of interest.

If Jones wins on Nov. four, she stated she will get in touch with MAXIMUS right away and perform on a transition plan.

In the course of her occupation, Jones has won Idaho State University’s University of Education Excellent Educator of the Yr award and the A+ Pal of Schooling Award from the Idaho Training Association.

Ready to run

The explanation Jones made a decision to run was to unseat Luna and push for a new education route.

She produced her selection in December. Plans altered in January, when Luna announced he would not seek re-election – major to Ybarra’s ascension inside of the Republican Get together.

“My largest worry is right now we have the same group of men and women as governor, legislators and superintendent with the exact same ideas and route for education,” Jones stated. “What that has done is drive us to the bottom.”

Factors of Jones’ platform incorporate:

  • Supporting Widespread Core as larger requirements, but assessing the standards’ effectiveness and making changes as required and not tying too much to standardized testing final results.
  • Pushing to restore college funding to prerecession amounts reached in 2009 by boosting operations funding for districts.
  • Attracting, retraining and supporting quality teachers, which contains putting the brakes on the tiered licensure proposal until finally changes are created and support turns into widespread.
  • Backing the twenty suggestions from Gov. Butch Otter’s Process Force for Improving Education.
  • Changing the tone in education to elevate the occupation and celebrate accomplishment although striving for much better final results.

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