As president of the Idaho State Board of Education, I speak for the entire board and we say that the Idaho State Journal’s editorial published Thursday was unfair and inaccurate.
Kevin Satterlee, the new president of Idaho State University, is a top-tier leader with the experience, skill and vision to build Idaho State for the future. Kevin is from Idaho, educated in Idaho and he knows our higher education system like few others do.
For the Journal to suggest our presidential search failed and that Satterlee has no support on the ISU campus or in the Pocatello community is ludicrous. Here’s what we are hearing:
“I am extremely excited to work closely with Kevin Satterlee in helping ISU and the City of Pocatello to jointly succeed. His appointment brings fresh ideas to our community and I join others in welcoming him to Pocatello.” — Mayor Brian Blad.
“This is an exciting new chapter for Idaho State and I look forward to working with the new president to build our university. Today’s announcement is a positive win for our community.” — Cassey Leatham, ISU Alumni Board member.
“I enthusiastically support the decision to appoint Kevin Satterlee and look forward to welcoming him to our Bengal community. This is an exciting new chapter for the university that Pocatello loves and supports.” — Jim Johnston, ISU supporter and Pocatello business owner.
“When I had a chance to meet with Kevin Satterlee during his campus visit, I could tell that he has students as his No. 1 focus. I know he will be successful at Idaho State.” — ASISU President Jessica Sargent.
Here are a few thoughts on Satterlee’s appointment from current and former state elected leaders:
“Having someone with Kevin’s experience is invaluable to us. The fact that he is willing to bring his expertise in higher education and bring it to our side of the state I think will be tremendous.” — State Sen. Brent Hill, president pro tempore.
“We had extremely qualified candidates who were thoroughly vetted. The fact that Kevin was chosen speaks highly to his qualifications. We are looking for great things from our new president and look forward to growth and expansion of ISU’s mission.” — State Sen. Dean Mortimer, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
“As a member of the search committee, a citizen of Pocatello and a supporter of ISU, I am proud of the effort that went into the process of selecting and appointing Mr. Kevin Satterlee as the new president of ISU. He is the best choice to take ISU into the future and the future with him at the helm is bright!” — Roy Lacey, former state legislator.
I’d like to say a few words about the process, too. More than 70 people applied for the ISU position. By state law, we are required to name five finalists, any of whom were and are qualified to become ISU’s president. The finalists are not ranked in any way and it is not unusual for some to be eliminated or to drop out during the process. For instance, one of our finalists for Lewis-Clark State College dropped out because she was in the running for positions at other universities.
One of the finalists for the ISU position made a personal choice to accept a position back East two days before he was to sit down and interview with us. His choice had nothing to do with our process or the timing of the interviews with the board. In fact, the Journal quoted him as saying the choice he made was a better fit for him. Again, it was a personal decision.
We are all fortunate that Kevin Satterlee will be ISU’s next president. He has what it takes to lead and knows he faces huge challenges. He is a visionary and knows how to turn vision into reality. He already has strong support and I predict in time he will win over his critics, too – even the editorial writers at the Idaho State Journal.
Dr. Linda Clark’s education career spanned 43 years, including 11 as Superintendent of Schools in the West Ada School District, the largest and most rapidly growing district in Idaho. She is now the president of the Idaho State Board of Education.