Republican says he will likely challenge Luna

The Idaho StatesmanJanuary 18, 2014 

Randy Jensen

Randy Jensen, an American Falls principal who expects to challenge State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna in the May Republican primary, said he can build on the collaboration education groups are showing in state education reform.

“I have a proven history of bringing people together,”Jensen told the Idaho Statesman Saturday.

Jensen, 52, principal for 25 years at William Thomas Middle School, plans to make a formal announcement of his candidacy in Boise on Friday.

Luna has indicated he will seek re-election, but has not made a formal announcement.

Democrat Jana Jones, who lost to Luna in 2006 by about 11,000 votes out of 443,000 cast, is the only announced candidate.

Jensen said he was sought out to run for superintendent by some school administrators and Republicans who were looking for a change, but he also said he had been considering the idea himself.

Luna was criticized for not involving Idahoans more in his Students Come First education reforms that were passed by the Legislature in 2011, but defeated by Idahoans in a referendum in fall 2012.

“I think not building the collaboration was a mistake,” Jensen said. “The time is right now for collaboration.”

Luna acknowledged last summer he should have done more to include stakeholders.

Jensen has a wife Kristen, who serves on the American Falls City Council, and four children.

He was named the Idaho Principal of the Year in 2004. Jensen has a bachelor of arts in education and a master’s degree, both from Idaho State University.

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