BLACKFOOT — After months of turmoil and controversy over the $220,000 separation agreement between Blackfoot School District 55 and former superintendent Scott Crane, public reaction to the district's most recent changes have been positive.
On Friday, the board appointed two new board members to fill the seats of trustees Jenny Hong [Zone 2] and Scott Reese [Zone 3] who resigned last month while facing recall efforts against them. Carlos Mercado, a former police officer and fireman, now the Human Resource Manager at NonPareil, will fill the Zone 2 vacancy. Dale Christiansen, an engineer at the Idaho National Laboratory who served on the board over ten years ago, will fill the Zone 3 vacancy.
After being sworn in, the two new board members proceeded with the hiring and announcement of Struhs as the district's new superintendent.
After an extensive hiring process, Struhs, who has an extensive career as an educator and administrator and served as interim superintendent since, was chosen over Randy Lords, an educator who is currently the principal of Madison Junior High School in Rexburg.
Upon hearing the news, Rick Bigler, spokesperson for 'Concerned Citizens of District 55,' a group formed in January to help monitor the actions and decisions of the board, spoke on behalf of the group saying, " We are very excited. The hiring of Mr. Struhs and the appointments of Mr. Christiansen and Mr. Mercado are good moves for the district. This is as good as we could've imagined."
Jan Anthony McLaughlan of Blackfoot said, "This is the best news that we have been told in a very long time from our Blackfoot School District. Dale [Christiansen] and Carlos [Mercado] are going to do a wonderful job. As for Chad [Struhs], he has been filling the shoes for awhile. The difference is, now he is 'official.' "
Kathy Behrend of Blackfoot shared similar sentiments saying, "Good call on naming Mr. Struhs as the new superintendent. I am glad we are fully staffed and ready to move along to the most important thing about education - the kids."
Laurie Michael Kearsley added, "I'm so happy for our district. Great choices! Onward and upward! Blackfoot is an amazing place to live."
Now officially at the helm of the district, Struhs said he is anticipating the passage of the 1,975,000 supplemental levy on Tuesday and will then settle in to get the focus of the board back on education with more involvement from parents and the community.