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Eye On Boise

Tue., Oct. 5, 2010, 6:52 p.m.

Ready for the debate…

Panelists and moderator Thanh Tan, left, of Idaho Public Television, prepare for the first
Panelists and moderator Thanh Tan, left, of Idaho Public Television, prepare for the first "Idaho Debate" on Tuesday (Betsy Russell)

People are filtering in for tonight's debate, the first of the "Idaho Debates" this fall and the big face-off between the candidates for state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Here, reporter panelists and moderator Thanh Tan, left, of Idaho Public Television, get set up. Here's a look at the two candidates:

Tom Luna, 51
Bio: Incumbent superintendent, elected in 2006; senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, 2003 to 2005; businessman, owner of Scales Unlimited; served seven years on Nampa, Idaho school board, including three years as chairman; attended Ricks College and Boise State University; online bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison University in liberal arts with focus in measurement science, 2002; married, six children, five grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “My goal is to continue to change the culture of education to a customer driven system where we make decisions based on the customers of education and not what’s best and most comfortable for the bureaucracy of education.  Idaho is now recognized as a leader in student achievement, and my commitment is to continue to fight for the resources and reforms to keep student achievement moving forward.”

Stan Olson, 60
Bio: Boise School District superintendent, 2002 to retirement on June 30 of this year; education career started as teacher and coach in 1971, included administrative posts in Michigan and Wyoming before Idaho; doctorate degree in educational leadership, Western Michigan University, 1983; master's degree in education, Eastern Michigan University, 1977; bachelor's degree in education, Central Michigan University, 1970; married, two children, two grandchildren
Campaign promises: "Forty years of educational experience has taught me that collaboration with parents, legislators, students, educators, and business leaders to build a strategic plan is the best way to help every student in Idaho succeed. I promise to cultivate such relationships to produce verifiable educational results, guarantee adequate funding for top priorities, ensure post-secondary readiness, and focus on educational success for all children, not on political ideology."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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