BOISE — Gov. Brad Little has appointed Shawn Keough to the Idaho State Board of Education.

“Improving education in Idaho is my highest priority and a key factor in ensuring Idaho’s children and grandchildren have the best opportunities to stay in Idaho and for the ones who have left to choose to return,” Gov. Little said. “Shawn displays the right demeanor and vision to help Idaho’s public education system serve our communities and prepare students for careers and a lifetime of learning.”

Keough, a Sandpoint resident, is the executive director of the Associated Logging Contractors. Keough served in the Idaho State Senate from 1996 to 2018, making her the longest-serving female senator in Idaho’s history.

“I appreciate and am humbled by Gov. Little's confidence in me, and I look forward to serving Idaho on the State Board of Education,” Keough said. “Idaho's Constitution is very clear about the state’s commitment to public education and the value it brings to our citizens. I have always been and remain passionate about public education — K-through-career — and I look forward to serving.”

Keough fills one of the vacancies left by Don Soltman and Richard Westerberg on the board. Soltman and Westerberg announced their retirements earlier this year.

Gov. Little is still considering candidates for the second vacancy. Westerberg will continue to serve while Gov. Little seeks a replacement.

The Idaho State Board of Education consists of eight voting members. Seven of the eight voting members are appointed by the governor for five-year terms. The eighth voting member is the superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Shawn Keough is an outstanding addition to the Idaho State Board of Education,” Board President Debbie Critchfield said. “Her interest in education and 20-plus years as a state senator will be a great asset to the board and for public education in Idaho. We welcome her to the team.”