Sherri Ybarra, Idaho’s newly, and narrowly, elected state superintendent of schools, has issued this statement:
“First I want to thank my family for standing by my side and for all of their love and support. I want to give a huge thank you to all of my supporters in Idaho for the most humbling experience of my career and life. I am honored and proud because they have entrusted me with the position of ‘Chief of Schools’ and I will do everything I can to defend that trust. I also want to thank my opponent for her hard work running a statewide campaign. It isn’t easy, so thank you Jana Jones. I am excited about moving education forward for Idaho’s students.”
In a news release, Ybarra said she will immediately begin working with outgoing GOP Superintendent Tom Luna “for a seamless transition in the leadership of Idaho’s Department of Education.” Luna had earlier offered both candidates for the post an opportunity to move into an office next to his immediately after the election so he could help them in the transition; during a pre-election debate, both Ybarra and Jones said they weren’t interested, but Ybarra later said she was. Last night, asked what she’d do if she pulled out the win in the then-deadlocked race, Ybarra said, “Address the whole child, work on the budget. I’m going to take that opportunity to transition in.”
Ybarra, who is in her second year as federal programs director and curriculum director for the Mountain Home School District, spent 11 years as a third-grade teacher and served as a vice-principal and for two years as a principal before starting her current job; she will take office as state superintendent on Jan. 1. “Address the whole child” is a mantra she repeated throughout her campaign, to describe her approach to education.
She also held a “campaign catchphrase” on her Facebook page during the campaign, and named the winning slogan on the morning of Election Day: “Ybarra, You Betcha!”