New superintendent pick withdraws D91 acceptance, goes to McCall instead
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IDAHO FALLS — It’s not clear who will be the next superintendent of Idaho Falls School District 91 after their selection took another job in west Idaho.
On Tuesday, District 91 announced Eric Pingrey, of Walker, Minnesota, had been picked as the new leader of the district to replace outgoing Superintendent George Boland. As late as Thursday, District 91 spokeswoman Margaret Wimborne told EastIdahoNews.com that Pingrey had accepted the offer and would be coming to Idaho Falls.
But on Friday morning, McCall-Donnelly School District 421 Executive Administrative Assistant Bianca Imel confirmed Pingrey accepted a similar job in McCall. Pingrey appeared at meet-and-greets at both districts this week and was the finalist picked by both districts.
On Friday morning, the District 91 officials confirmed in a news release that Pingrey had withdrawn his acceptance of the local position.
“This morning, Pingrey notified the board he was withdrawing his acceptance of D91’s offer,” the news release reads. “The board has scheduled a special meeting on Monday, April 5, to discuss the next steps in the search process.”
EastIdahoNews.com could not reach Pingrey for comment Thursday or Friday.
In a letter sent out by the McCall-Donnelly School District, officials said Pingrey would start as their superintendent on July 1. You can read the entire McCall news release here.
The sudden change comes after some significant confusion in Idaho Falls after residents noticed Pingrey was at the McCall hiring event on Wednesday evening — after District 91 had announced he was going to be its next superintendent. Wimborne previously told EastIdahoNews.com the meet-and-greet had already been planned before he accepted the District 91 offer and that he would still be coming to District 91.
It’s not clear why Pingrey chose one district over the other, but Idaho School Board Association representatives say it may have been because there was a split vote in District 91 about hiring Pingrey. During a Tuesday morning school board meeting, District 91’s board voted three to two in favor of the hire. Trustees Paul Haacke and Larry Wilson voted not to hire Pingrey.
The decision to hire Pingrey in the McCall-Donnelly School District was unanimous, ISBA Executive Director Karen Echeverria said Friday.
The Idaho School Board Association helped both districts hunt for their next leaders. However, ISBA Executive Director Karen Echeverria said two separate people handled the districts’ workings with Pingrey to avoid any conflict of interest. This removed any communication between the two districts in knowing who was hiring whom.
Echeverria said she got a text from the ISBA deputy directory Friday morning after Pingrey accepted the McCall job offer. She then let the District 91 board know.
Pingrey now going to McCall leaves District 91 needing to search for a superintendent.
Late Friday Board of Trustees Chair Lara Hill gave EastIdahoNews.com a statement.
“Mr. Pingrey had accepted our offer, we were in negotiations with him but the contract terms were not finalized,” Hill said in a statement sent to EastIdahoNews.com. “As was the case in the other district yesterday morning after he was selected as their finalist. The vote in McCall was unanimous. He made his decision this morning. He withdrew his acceptance with D91. This a competitive field. I know Mr. Pingrey will be successful in McCall and I wish him well.”