Dems candidate for Idaho superintendent of schools hits eastern Idaho

July 7, 2018 GMT

Cindy Wilson, the Democratic nominee for state superintendent of public instruction, is touring East Idaho to drum up support for her challenge to Republican incumbent Sherri Ybarra.

“This is my home area, so of course I have to come talk to voters here,” Wilson said in a Friday afternoon interview at Patty’s Ultimate Coffee House in Ammon.

Wilson is touring East Idaho for the rest of the month before heading off to make campaign stops in north Idaho in August.

“I’m excited at the opportunities this election,” she said. “We’re going to have a new governor. We’re going to have a new lieutenant governor. And I hope we have a new superintendent as well.”

Wilson, originally from Preston, taught at Shelley High School in the early 1990s. She’s also taught in schools in north Idaho and the Treasure Valley, in addition to serving on the Idaho Board of Correction.

Wilson said her experience as an educator makes her a good candidate for the post atop the State Department of Education.

“Research tells us the No. 1 factor in student achievement is a highly effective teacher,” Wilson said. “I want to help our highly effective teachers help other teachers to teach that way to drive student achievement. Every day for the last 33 years, I’ve been learning from students about teaching, what works, how to engage them. That’s what I can bring to the office.”

Wilson, who attended Ricks College before graduating from Boise State University, was the first in her family to earn a degree. She said it would help Idaho’s college go-on rate to promote more interaction between high school students and university professors, for example, through guest teaching opportunities.

“I’m a first-generation college graduate,” she said. “When I went to Rexburg to go to school, that was intimidating. My parents had never been to college. There was no career counseling back in those days. Whatever we can do to help young people do to feel like they can be part of a university community, that will help them go there.”

Wilson said it’s vital not only to continue raising starting teacher pay to more competitive levels, but also to raise the pay of experienced classroom teachers.

“This is a big problem in Southeastern Idaho,” Wilson said. “I’ve lost so many teacher friends who have gone into Wyoming, where they can make $10,000 or $20,000 more per year.”

Wilson has a schedule of towns where she will hold events on her website, cindyforschools.org.