Here’s who’s running for D91, D93 school boards
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IDAHO FALLS — Idaho Falls School District 91 and Bonneville Joint School District 93 are looking to fill a total of three school board seats in the upcoming election.
In D91, Zone 2 is currently represented by Paul Haacke. He is being challenged by Ken Williams. The zone includes the Westside, Fox Hollow and Ethel Boyes school areas.
In D93, Zone 2 has been overseen by Carissa Coats who is facing Matt Sather for the position. This zone includes Ammon Elementary, Hillview Elementary, Tiebreaker Elementary, Sandcreek Middle School and Hillcrest High School.
Also in D93, Scott Lynch, who’s currently responsible for Zone 5, will compete against Randy C. Smith. Zone 5 is Cloverdale Elementary, Iona Elementary, Lincoln High School and Thunder Ridge High School.
You can learn more about the candidates below.
Paul Haacke vs. Ken Williams
Haacke — Haacke attended Brigham Young University and received his undergraduate degree in community health with a certificate in gerontology. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis. Haacke has lived in Idaho for 15 years, helped build two multi-billion dollar companies and has five children who’ve attended D91 schools.
The incumbent says what’s most important to him is the educational welfare of D91 students. He recognizes that COVID-19 and school district’s reactions to the virus are on people’s minds. He believes the biggest accomplishment he’s had while on the board is helping to safely keep students in the classroom throughout the pandemic.
If re-elected, Haacke wants to find ways to improve students’ test scores, plus he wants to see school facilities updated. To learn more about Haacke, click here.
Williams — Williams is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War and Cold War, a retired San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy and a retired school teacher from the San Diego County area. He got into education because he felt that teaching students might be a key component to keeping them out of the juvenile court system.
While in San Diego, he assisted in bringing to pass the greater use of technology in his school district, created a lego robotics program and was the first in the area to use Junior Achievement BizTown. Williams is married with six children and eight grandchildren.
If elected, Williams wants to provide equal access to education for all students and make sure students are prepared for a 21st-century environment. He believes the key to all of that comes from balancing the needs of the community. More information on Williams can be found on his website.
Carissa Coats vs. Matt Sather
Coats — Coats received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University and moved to Idaho in 2006 where she met her husband and was a reporter at KIFI Channel 8. She’s currently a real estate broker and a mother of four. Coats took former school board chairwoman Amy Landers’ place after she resigned during the summer.
As a mom with a daughter who has Cerebral Palsy and has navigated the special education realm, Coats wants to get the best education possible for all students. She prides herself on doing research and her ability to understand the big picture before making decisions.
Coats also believes school is more than simply covering curriculum and managing classrooms, but schools can help students feel safe, accepted and loved. Right now, more than ever, she believes this is what is needed.
To learn more about Coats, click here.
Sather — Sather is an honorably discharged U.S. Marine Corps. veteran and a current Idaho National Laboratory subcontractor nuclear safety and fabrication project manager. He is a father with three students enrolled at Ammon Elementary School.
If elected, Sather wants to keep parents in control of their children’s education and personal affairs. He believes the government has drastically overstepped its authority by instituting mandates for masks and vaccines. He says these are personal medical decisions that should be handled by families without external pressure, adding that if parents want their kids to mask or receive vaccines or vice versa that’s 100% at their discretion.
He also wants to closely monitor new taxes, levies and bonds to make sure the school district is being taken care of without unfairly taxing residents.
More information on Sather can be found here.
Scott Lynch vs. Randy C. Smith
Lynch — Lynch was born and raised in Idaho Falls and is a 1997 graduate of Idaho Falls High School. He and his wife were married in 2001 and have lived in District 93 for 16 years. They have four children — one who graduated from Thunder Ridge, two in high school (one of which is accessing special education) and one in middle school.
He runs a small business, and he and his wife organize events for families who have children with special needs. For the past four years, Lynch has served as the Zone 5 trustee, and he’s currently the vice-chairman. His goal is to unite the community and create better education opportunities for children.
If re-elected, Lynch plans to lead the discussion on grading reform, continue to advocate for kids of all abilities and push for continued improvement of mental health resources. More on Lynch can be found here.
Smith — Smith is from Provo, Utah but moved to Idaho when he was 13. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management from Brigham Young University. For the past 20 years, Smith managed a business — HOJ Idaho Material Handling — where he currently oversees three of its Idaho locations.
Smith served nine years on the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Board. He and his wife, a former teacher, have four kids who attended District 93 schools and they were all valedictorians.
Smith believes one of his best attributes is his problem-solving ability and getting people to work together to solve issues. If elected, he hopes to accomplish several goals, such as provide mentor programs to students, change the number of school board members from five to seven and he’d like to see a combined trade school start-up for students in school districts from Rexburg to Firth.
The 2021 General Election is Nov. 2. For more election coverage, click here.