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Eye On Boise

Mike Rush, state Board of Ed director, to leave for South Dakota

Here’s a bit of news that I didn’t post at the time because it came out during the special session of the Legislature on Monday: Mike Rush, executive director of the state Board of Education, has accepted a new position with the South Dakota Board of Regents and will start his new job June 29. Rush has been the state board’s executive director since 2007; his first state job was as a program manager in the Division of Professional-Technical Education in 1986; he went on to direct that division for 11 years.

“Serving as executive director of Idaho’s State Board of Education has been an incredible privilege,” Rush said in a statement. “I have had the opportunity to work with the best board in the country and some of the finest universities, colleges and public schools anywhere. I have particularly appreciated the governor’s leadership this past year in increasing support for our Idaho public schools. I will dearly miss the dedicated individuals who make Idaho’s education system such a great place to work.”

The board has not yet announced its plans for selecting a new executive director; the position currently pays $130,770 a year, according to state records. Rush, who holds a doctorate in education from Virginia Tech, was named acting director in September 2007 and helped bring the agency back from the financial brink; accounting miscues had left the board with a $1.4 million deficit for the previous budget year, and it had also flubbed an $18 million federal grant to help low-income students attend college. Rush ordered a full audit of the board’s fiscal procedures and had it on an even financial keel before he was named the permanent executive director in May of 2008; he was also credited with ending a morale crisis that had prompted numerous board employees to leave.

Board initiatives Rush has overseen as executive director include strengthening career-technical education in technical colleges and high schools and increasing the state’s college scholarship awards through the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship program.

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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