CANDIDATE FORUM: SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
The Idaho School Boards Association is proud to host the 2022 Superintendent of Public Instruction Forum. The forum is a nonpartisan and neutral event intended to inform our members and the general public of the candidates running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Forum features three candidates for State Superintendent that include, former State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield, former state legislator Branden Durst, and incumbent two-term superintendent Sherri Ybarra. While no other candidates have filed or have notified us of their intention to file, we have notified the top two major political parties about the forum and will invite any subsequent candidates to participate as well. The state superintendent Republican primary election will be held in May.
Important details for participants and attendees:
Meet the Candidates:
Sherri is Idaho’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. She was elected in 2014 as Idaho’s 25th Superintendent of Public Instruction and re-elected in 2018. Before her election, she served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal and federal program director. As Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sherri oversees more than 310,000 students, 801 schools, 115 districts and 75 charter schools. She also serves as an ex-officio voting member and executive secretary of the Idaho State Board of Education, as Chairman of the Board of Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind and as a member of the State Board of Land Commissioners. She lives in Mountain Home with her husband, a federal police officer. Their son graduated from Idaho public schools and is attending the University of Idaho.
Debbie is the former President of the Idaho State Board of Education and seven-year board member. Debbie was Co-Chair to Governor Little’s Education Task Force and Committee Chair for Governor Otter’s Higher Education Task Force. She was a school board member in Cassia County for ten years, five as chair, and was on the ISBA Executive Board. She chaired Re-Open Idaho Schools and was a member of the Governor’s K-12 Council. She is a former library trustee and Arts Council president. She’s worked as the Public Information Officer for Cassia School District for the last 9 years. A fourth-generation farm family, Debbie and her husband Dave live in Oakley, where they raised their four children.
Branden Durst is a third generation Idahoan with family roots that run deep throughout the Gem State. Branden has served as a community college instructor, substitute teacher, varsity high school coach, and running a tutoring program at the Boys and Girls Club. Branden was previously elected to the Idaho House of Representatives and the Idaho state Senate and served on the Education Committees in both chambers. Professionally, Branden serves as mediator and Branden is also a licensed pastor and attends Cloverdale Church of God in south Ada County. Academically he holds a Master of Public Administration degree with emphasis in policy analysis and Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Boise State University (BSU) and Pacific Lutheran University, respectively. Branden will earn an Education Specialist Degree (Eds) in executive educational leadership from BSU in May 2022. Branden is married to his amazing wife, Cheri, and has five children, four boys and one girl.