Principal, South Hills Middle School, Twin Falls
Being a school administrator wasn’t Ryan Ellsworth’s first — or even second — career plan.
He was a metal fabricator doing custom work for five years while he was a Boise State University student.
“I initially went into college thinking I was going to go into the criminal justice field,” Ellsworth said.
He was required to do a practicum and ended up at a school. That changed his vision for the future. The new plan: become an educator.
“I quickly decided that it was something I wanted to pursue,” Ellsworth said.
But he still does a lot of woodworking and builds custom furniture as a side gig.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from BSU and, later, a master’s degree and leadership certification from Northwest Nazarene University.
Ellsworth was a third-grade teacher in Fruitland for a year before going to his hometown of Nyssa, Ore., for four years to teach fourth grade. He went to Jerome because he was interested in the opportunity to become a vice principal.
He was in Jerome for eight years — most recently, as Jerome Middle School principal.
This summer, Ellsworth is preparing to start as principal of South Hills Middle School in Twin Falls, a new school that opens in August. It’s one of three new schools paid for by a nearly $74 million bond issue voters approved in 2014.
This is the only job Ellsworth applied for this year.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to use my skills to open up a new school,” he said, adding it will be challenging and difficult.
Working in Twin Falls won’t change his daily commute much; he lives in Jerome County near the Snake River Canyon. But others in education are making desired moves.
“There’s so many openings right now,” Ellsworth said, “that people who are wanting to move to get closer to home, family or relatives are able to do that.”