Laptops Landing On Students Laps Soon

Ryan Bowman talks to parents and students in October 2015 at Buhl High School about a laptop initiative. He’s the new operations director for the Twin Falls School District.


TWIN FALLS — Every year, it’s a game of musical chairs at south-central Idaho’s schools.

You’ll notice new faces at many schools and school district offices for the upcoming school year. But some districts — including Shoshone, Murtaugh, Valley, Richfield — won’t have any newcomers.

Two districts have new superintendents: Brady Dickinson in Twin Falls and Stefanie Shaw in Dietrich.

In Wendell, the school district is still searching for a new high school principal — with only a few weeks until school starts.

“This position opened up very late, so the district hopes to complete the hiring by the end of this week,” Superintendent Greg Lowe wrote in an email to the Times-News.

Here’s a roundup of the changes:

Twin Falls

You’ll notice new administrators at Twin Falls schools this year, but there aren’t as many new faces as last year. Expect a new superintendent, director of operations, two school principals and three associate principals.

Dickinson, who was previously the Twin Falls School District’s operations director, took over July 1 as the new superintendent. Outgoing superintendent Wiley Dobbs, who filled the position since 2003, remains with the school district through Sept. 1 to help with the transition.

Ryan Bowman is the district’s new operations director, where he oversees maintaining all school district buildings and campuses, security, transportation, educational technology and food services. Previously, he was Buhl High School principal for four years.

Ryan Ellsworth is principal of South Hills Middle School, a new school that opens this month. He was previously principal at Jerome Middle School, a position he held since 2013.

Also at South Hills Middle School, Jerry Guthrie was hired as associate principal. He was previously an associate principal at Vera C. O’Leary and Robert Stuart middle schools.

Ace Marcellus is the new principal at O’Leary. Marcellus has worked for the Twin Falls School District for 20 years — most recently, as Robert Stuart Middle School’s associate principal since 2013.

Sara Praegitzer will be associate principal at O’Leary. She has worked in the Twin Falls School District since 2007 and was O’Leary’s instructional coach for the last four years.

Justin White is the new associate principal at Robert Stuart. He’s moving from the Nampa School District, where he was a music teacher.


Landon Marlor will be the new principal at Jerome Middle School. After a couple of years as the middle school’s vice principal, he was special education director for two years in Filer.


Keelie Campbell is the school district’s new director of programs. She came from O’Leary Middle School in Twin Falls, where she was principal last school year.


Angie Oparnico will be the new Buhl High School principal and Audrey Swayze is the new Buhl Middle School principal. Rebecca Wills is the school district's new special education director.


Two of Wendell’s three school principals this year are newcomers.

A social studies teacher from Malad High School, Brian Jadwin will be the new Wendell Middle School principal. It will be his first principal job after completing his master’s degree in educational leadership and administration.

The Wendell School District is still searching for a new high school principal.


Jim Lasso is the new athletic director.

Blaine County

Patricia Short is the new principal at Ernest Hemingway STEAM School in Ketchum. She’ll replace Don Haisley, who retired at the end of last school year.

Cassia County

David Wagner is Oakley Jr./Sr. High School principal.

The Cassia County School District is still working to fill a new elementary school vice principal position, split between Dworshak and Mountain View elementary schools.

The job was formerly filled by Michael Corbett, but he submitted his resignation after getting a school principal job in Malad City.

Wes Nyblade is the new principal at Dworshak Elementary School. He was previously the school’s vice principal for the last few years.

Juan Rodriguez is the new Oakley High School athletic director, as well as head boys basketball coach and a physical education teacher.

Diana Gill is the new vice principal at White Pine Elementary School. She has been with the district for 24 years.

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Todd Shumway is the new principal at Cassia High School. He taught at Preston High School for 13 years and was the principal at Prairie and Melba high schools before he pursued a doctorate degree at Brigham Young University.

Minidoka County

Three Minidoka County School District employees will shift into new administrative roles.

Sanie Baker will be principal at Heyburn Elementary School, Michele Widmier will be school improvement director for the district and Heather Hepworth will be principal at Acequia Elementary School.


Laura Braun is the new special education director. She previously taught in Kimberly and has experience as a special education director.

Leigh Patterson is the new Gooding High School principal. She was in Mackay for five years, and was a principal and school district superintendent.

Logan Briggs will be Gooding High’s new athletic director. He taught history in Gooding last school year.

North Valley Academy (Gooding)

Jeff Klamm is the new principal for the charter school. He was previously a math teacher at the school for six years.


Stefanie Shaw is the new superintendent. She was interim superintendent and elementary school principal for a couple of months, until formally taking over July 1.

Former superintendent/principal Ben Hardcastle, who started in 2015, announced in March he’d resign at the end of his contract year June 30. But Shaw told the Times-News in June she had been filling in for him while he took a medical leave of absence.

Shaw was previously the school counselor for a year and most recently, the secondary school principal for two years.

Dietrich also has a new secondary school principal, John Elorrieta, who was a government and English teacher for nine years in Gooding.


Dena Allred is the new part-time assistant principal. She's primarily in charge of kindergarten through eighth-graders, and is also a junior high school teacher.

*Editor's note: Information was added Aug. 3 to this story to include new Buhl School District administrators and Aug. 4 to include a new Castleford administrator. 


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