Winter 2014 / Issue 2
Idaho Education Association
JAMIE ESLER – Idaho’s 2014 Teacher of the Year
He also appreciates opportunities to converse and collaborate
with other teachers. “It is inspiring to work with veteran
teachers and mentors. I am just one of many teachers who
work this hard—I am surrounded by others on a daily basis.”
Esler is in his sixth year teaching at Lake City High School.
The Illinois native and graduate of Illinois State University was
on the verge of moving to Alaska when the position opened
up in Coeur d’Alene and he has felt at home since day one.
Specializing in environmental and physical science, Esler
provides his students with meaningful and engaging learning
opportunities that challenge them to apply what they have
learned in the classroom to the natural world around them.
Jamie Esler, the 2014 Teacher of the Year in Idaho.
The Coeur d’Alene school district has laid claim to the
Teacher of the Year in Idaho for the third consecutive year,
with IEA member Jamie Esler earning recognition for 2014.
The Lake City High School science teacher receives $1,000
from the Idaho State Department of Education as well as an
all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Idaho
as the state’s nominee for national Teacher of the Year.
Esler admitted to being surprised by the honor and
overwhelmed when the announcement was made at a school
assembly. “I am honored and humbled,” he said. Especially
heartwarming were the congratulations from his students
and fellow teachers. “Nothing feels better than when a
student offers congratulations; because I am a big believer
that everything we do should be student-centered.”
“The great thing about the IEA is that so many other
people in the association feel the same way that I do about
doing what is best
for kids. I can’t
imagine being an
the support of the
and the Coeur
– Jamie Esler
In addition to his substantial teaching credentials, Esler’s
Jamie Esler works with students on
researching water resources at Lookout
philosophy and attitude enable him to stand out from
Pass in Idaho‘s panhandle.
the crowd. “What’s really neat is that
people have a natural curiosity about
science,” noted Esler in talking about
his students. “Kids are more willing to
express curiosity about bigger questions
Idaho‘s 2014 Teacher of the Year
5 Member Spotlight
and pursue their own answers. I am just
2 Leadership Letter
Master Teacher Project
facilitating and guiding.”
3 Nampa Retreat
6 Idaho Core Standards
IN THIS ISSUE
Esler is also a strong advocate of the
IEA’s mission and of proper support for
Day of Action
Local President‘s Meeting
IEA Election and Delegate Assembly
People and Passages
American Education Week
See more photos of IEA events at
2. Legislative Session Kicks Off
CRUCIAL YEAR FOR EDUCATION
The holidays were a wonderful time of
rest and rejuvenation for all of us; and
we hope for each of you too. But now,
it’s back to business as usual and the
Legislature is coming to town. As you and
your students get back into the swing of
lesson planning and homework, we are
preparing for the commencement of the
2014 legislative session.
Conventional wisdom, combined with
comments from legislators, points toward
a potential attack on the Idaho Core
Standards. Whether the plan will be to
slow down or outright repeal the standards
approved in the last legislative session is
yet to be seen. The IEA will be working
with stakeholders to educate legislators
about why the Standards are good
for students, and how implementation
of the standards will require time for
professional development; curriculum
development and collaboration with
colleagues. You can read more in this
edition of the Reporter about the work
we’ve been doing in partnership with a
coalition of business leaders, education
stakeholders and others to support
the Idaho Core standards and get the
With the economy continuing to trend
positively, we can expect the usual debate
over whether the state should be cutting
taxes or increasing spending. If public
schools do not receive the funding they
need to operate, then local school boards
will need to continue asking local property
owners to tax themselves in order to
keep the schoolhouse doors open and
programs operating. IEA began speaking
out about the need to increase funding
for our schools at our “Day of Action”
on the Capitol steps on December
9. You can read more about that in
this edition of the Reporter. We will
be working to make sure elected
officials understand the necessity
of reinvesting in and recommitting
to public education and adequately
funding our public schools.
However, if Governor Otter’s recent
statement that we’ll likely see “more of
the same,” is accurate, then we all have
our work cut out for us.
We can also expect legislative proposals
from the education interim committee that
met this summer. IEA testified before the
interim committee about three pieces of
“sunsetted” teacher contract legislation
approved this past legislative session.
We will continue to gather information
over the next year to use in working to
replace those laws with more reasonable
and workable statutes.
We will also be encouraging lawmakers
to lay out a plan to assure the governor’s
recommendations are properly
implemented and appropriately funded.
Transforming our K-12 education
system will require significant change.
That’s why the IEA supported the 20
recommendations of the Governor’s
Task Force on Education. We will
continue emphasizing to legislators
that the recommendations are a
package, not a menu from which to
choose things they like and ignore
others. Some recommendations will
be easier to implement because work
is already underway on these issues.
There are other ideas that need work
How to Contact YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Legislative Information Center
IEA Executive Director Robin Nettinga
and President Penni Cyr
to assure proper implementation. We’ll
be encouraging lawmakers to fund
those areas that can be implemented
immediately, and urging them to commit
to a plan of action for developing and
implementing those recommendations
that will take a bit more time.
The decisions made over the next few
months will set the course for the work
of school districts, the association, and
educators across the state. You can take
an active role in helping policymakers
understand that education is an
investment that pays off for Idaho. As
educators, you must engage with your
local legislators; build relationships,
invite them into your classrooms, tell
your stories about what is happening
in your classrooms and how additional
resources can help.
A great way to stay in touch with
Legislative actions on education is to
sign up to receive the daily IEA Hotline
messages throughout the session. Sign
up for the IEA Hotline at idahoea.org/
hotline-home. Educate yourself on
the issues and share your perspective
with your legislators. It is your right
and your responsibility to advocate for
your profession and for your students.
Also, be sure to contact us if you have
any questions or thoughts and ideas
as the session unfolds. Find out how to
stay in touch during the session in the
The IEA will continue to stand strong and
stand up for what is right. We ask you
to stand with your colleagues and write
to and call your legislator. Demand that
our elected officials do what they were
elected to do: to represent the people of
this state and what is best for them.
Penni Cyr, IEA President
Robin Nettinga, IEA Executive Director
4. LOCAL PRESIDENTS MEET
The IEA hosted more than 50 local presidents representing local associations
from every region of the state on November 22nd and 23rd. The two-day
meeting was designed to provide presidents with training, information, and an
opportunity to network on issues that matter to their members.
l Learned about the NEA Academy and the Common Core Standards
l Discussed how to best honor and appreciate members
l Learned more about Idaho’s bargaining law
l Got a better understanding of local finances and their roles as fiduciaries
l Learned how to identify new leaders
l Planned for membership for the remainder of the program year
IEA ELECTION and Delegate
IEA Statewide Positions
Local association presidents listen as NEA‘s Lisa
Guzman speaks about Common Core.
There are five IEA positions open for election in 2014, with a three year
term for each position.
l IEA President-currently held by Penni Cyr
l IEA Vice President-currently held by Rick Jones
l IEA Resolutions-currently held by William Lower
l IEA ESP at-large-currently held by Debbie Flory
l IEA Retired-currently held by Dick Chilcote
Candidates are encouraged to file for office by January 31, but nomination
forms will be accepted until March 12, 2014. An online voting process will be
conducted April 12-May 2 for IEA President, Vice President, Resolutions and
ESP at-large. Paper ballots will be used for the IEA Retired election. Candidates
will have an opportunity to speak at the Delegate Assembly in Boise, April 11-12.
For more information, please call the IEA office at 208-344-1341.
NEA Representative Assembly Delegates
The NEA Representative Assembly will be held July 1-6, 2014 in Denver, CO.
IEA members wishing to run for a state delegate position to the NEA RA
should complete a resume form, including photos, no later than January 17,
2014. The NEA and the IEA are committed to ethnic-minority involvement and
strongly encourage ethnic-minority members to submit a resume. Delegate
expenses are funded by the IEA.
For more information, please call the
IEA office at 208-344-1341 or e-mail
Venny Baker, Manager of Administrative
Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IEA Delegate Assembly
The IEA’s annual Delegate Assembly
will take place April 11-12, 2014 in Boise.
Registration information will be sent to
local associations in mid-late January.
moving on to
a new position
with the Boulder/
in Colorado. He has spent the
last three years working with
the IEA and expressed his
gratitude to his colleagues in
a letter of resignation. “The
leaders in Region 6 have been
especially great partners and
they represent the very best
the profession has to offer. I
have worked with some amazing
people in my time at the IEA and
I am proud to have worked with
you and for the IEA.”
Sign up for our email
digest on education news,
resources and politics.
Join the conversation
with other members on
Facebook and Twitter.
6. IDAHO CORE STANDARDS
As a key partner in the Idahoans
for Education Excellence Coalition,
the IEA recently put together panel
discussions on the Idaho Core
Standards for media outlets in
Boise and Idaho Falls. These events
were designed to provide accurate
information about the Idaho Core
Meridian teacher Kendra Wisenbaker was
featured in KTVB‘s coverage of the Idaho Core
Standards from people with firstStandards media event.
hand knowledge of the Standards’
implementation. In Boise, IEA member Kendra Wisenbaker (Meridian) outlined how the
Idaho Core Standards are impacting learning in her fifth grade classroom. At the Idaho
Falls event, Stefani Cook shared the teacher’s viewpoint with the media. KTVB-Channel
7 led their 10:00 PM news with a story on the Boise Idaho Core Standards event, and
the Idaho State Journal ran an extensive story on the discussion in Idaho Falls.
IEA member Stefani Cook (right) joined
Idaho Falls Curriculum coordinator
Jennifer Jackson on the Idaho Core
Standards panel in Idaho Falls.
The panel in Boise included (left to right): Skip
Oppenheimer, Anne Ritter, Don Coberly, Kendra
Wisenbaker, and Mike Lanza.
FAQ About Idaho Core Standards
Q - What are the Idaho Core Standards (Common Core State Standards)?
A - A single set of educational standards for K-12 students in English language
arts and mathematics that are voluntarily adopted by states.
Q - Why does Idaho need the Standards?
A - More rigorous standards are necessary to ensure that Idaho students are
ready for college and/or career.
Q - Were teachers involved in the development of Common Core?
A - Yes. The National Education Association, National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of English were among
several educational organizations that participated in developing the Common
Core State Standards.
Q - Do the Idaho Core Standards tell teachers what or how to teach?
A - The Standards have established what skills and knowledge students will be
required to learn, but do not specify what methods or curricula will be used. Local
districts and individual teachers have considerable autonomy in designing the best
curricula and lessons for students to achieve the goals of the Idaho Core Standards.
Q - When do the Idaho Core Standards go into effect?
A - The Standards are in place beginning with the current (2013-2014) school year.
Q - Will there be testing associated with the Idaho Core Standards?
A - Yes. However, the exact procedure and timeline for testing related to the
Idaho Core Standards is still being discussed. Idaho is among a group of states
that belongs to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. This consortium
of states will be field-testing the new test questions in the spring of 2014.
Q - Where can I find more information about the Idaho Core Standards?
A - Two good resources for additional information about the Standards are:
IEA Hits it Big
Watch a short video showcasing
the fun, fellowship and learning
at last summer’s Playing for
Keeps event in Jackpot. Stay
tuned for information about
the 2014 Summer Organizing
Institute—you won’t want to
miss it. See it now on the IEA
website at idahoea.org.
IEA Funds Provide
ASSISTANCE TO MEMBERS
The Idaho Education Association
maintains two funds for the benefit
of members in need of assistance.
Contributions to both funds are strongly
encouraged so that resources are
available to help our fellow members.
The IEA Dues Hardship Fund has been
established to assist members facing
significant financial hardship. The DHF
provides the opportunity to apply for
funds that assist in covering the costs
of national and/or state and/or local
The IEA Catastrophic Emergency Fund
can assist members in replacing personal
possessions lost or destroyed by an
unforeseen catastrophic event at the
school worksite (fire, flood, tornado, etc.).
To apply for either fund, to make a
donation or for more information, please
contact the IEA Office of Business and
Finance at 208-344-1341.
SHARE IEA Stories
Submit your story ideas to
Dave Harbison at:
7. Are you missing out on
educator tax savings?
Find out and discover more ways to save at
Whether you need tax advice or ways to beat the
winter blues in your classroom, we’ve got you covered.
Drop by and you’ll also find exclusive deals, and exciting
opportunities to travel, learn and grow—both inside
and out of school.
You’ll also find:
Tax Preparation Tips and Advice
Spring Travel Values and Insights
NEA, NEA Member Benefits and the NEA Member Benefits logo are registered service marks of NEA’s Member Benefits Corporation.
8. Classroom Visits Highlight
AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK
The IEA helped celebrate
the 92nd anniversary
of American Education
Week, November 18-22,
2013. Outreach during
the week emphasized
the value and importance
of professional educators
and provided a platform
for the IEA to weigh in
on important education
Specific days were
State Representative Holli Woodings, D-District
19 spent part of the day with IEA member
designated to recognize
Karen Schow, a special education teacher at
Hidden Springs Elementary School.
and substitute teachers.
Thursday, November 21 was set aside for teachers to invite
elected officials into schools and classrooms for a firsthand look at what takes place on a daily basis in the critical
State Senator Fred Martin, R-District 15 visited IEA member Kelli
Cullen, a fifth grade teacher at Summerwind STEM Academy.
Writer, Photographer and Editor
Lynette Q. Member
1234 Main St.
Viola, Idaho 87654
620 N. 6th
PO Box 2638
Boise, ID 83701