Boise, it’s time to vote for who will lead your child’s schools. Here are the candidates.

On Tuesday, the residents of the Boise School District will head to the polls to elect members of the district’s Board of Trustees.

Three new members will be elected to six-year terms. Elections occur every two years, and there are seven total spots on the board.

This year, six candidates are vying for three spots. Those include seats currently held by Maria Greeley and Troy Rohn, and one left vacant by retiring Trustee AJ Balukoff.

Qualified candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Live within the Boise School District boundaries

  • Not be a paid employee within the district

Voters must be at least 18 years old, be registered to vote in Ada County and have lived in the school district for at least 30 days.

Polling on Election Day will take place at these Boise schools; the three candidates with the most votes win seats on the board. They will be sworn in Sept. 10.

Below is information provided by all six candidates provided to the Boise School District. To view their full responses, go to the Boise School district’s website or click on the links below.

Branden Durst, 38

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“Branden Durst is a husband, parent, 3rd generation Boise Schools graduate, former state Senator, education policy expert and candidate for the Boise School board. As an independent thinking public servant who previously served as a state Senator and Representative in Idaho’s 18th Legislative District, Branden is seeking to put his substantial expertise in public education policy to work as a trustee in the Boise School District.

Durst was born and raised in Southeast Boise. He attended the Boise Schools through high school, where he became a third generation graduate of Boise High School in 1998. In November 2006 Branden was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives, representing Legislative District 18 (South and Southeast Boise). He was re-elected two years later.

In 2012, Branden was elected to the Idaho Senate as an ardent opponent to the so-called Luna Laws. Branden’s time in the Idaho House of Representatives and Idaho Senate were marked by his unique ability to think of new ideas to challenges that plague public education.

Branden’s supporters and critics agree that his approach to policy making is unique and thoughtful. Branden credits this to his professional and academic background in policy analysis and a desire to make the right decision, not necessarily the popular one.”

Alicia Shier Estey, 44

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“Alicia Shier Estey, a seasoned education administrator, is an advocate for high quality public education in Idaho. She is excited for the opportunity to apply her experience, passion and knowledge in support of the Boise School District and the students it serves.

Since 2006, Alicia has held various roles at Boise State University including Senior Policy Analyst and Regulatory Compliance Officer, Director of Tax and Executive Director of Institutional Compliance and Ethics. She is currently Senior Associate Vice President of Campus Operations and the University’s Chief Compliance Officer. In that capacity, she manages Real Estate Services, Capital Projects and Space Management, Facilities, Architecture and Engineering, Environmental Health and Safety, Title IX, Public Safety, Risk Management, and the Office of Institutional Compliance and Ethics.

Alicia manages a $45 million operating budget and currently oversees more than $75 million in capital projects. Prior to joining Boise State, Alicia worked in the Tax Department of the J.R. Simplot Company. She holds a BBA in Accountancy from Boise State, a Master of Public Health from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Idaho.

Alicia has an extensive history working with and advocating for high-quality education. She partnered with Boise School District leadership to develop and launch the Montessori program at Liberty Elementary; is a past member of the Moscow Day School Advisory Board; a current member of the Advisory Board of the Boise State University Children’s Center; and the past Treasurer of the Board of the Idaho Association of Education for Young Children (IAEYC).”

Shari Fernandez, 40

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“I am excited to work on behalf of the students, parents, and educators throughout the Boise School District. With the overwhelming passage of the facilities bond in 2017 (thank you Boise voters!), and the growth we are seeing throughout our city and the Boise region we have many opportunities to ensure our students, and educators, are equipped for success.

As the Director of Events and Community Engagement at Boise Regional REALTORS®, as well as the secretary and staff Liaison for the REALTORS® Community Foundation, I plan, manage, and execute projects and events on behalf of Association members. In my position I wear many hats: nonprofit management, communications, fundraising, program management, event planning, budgeting, and community outreach for both the Association and the Foundation.

I am a graduate of Leadership Boise (2016), and am active in the Leadership Boise Alumni Association, and Boise Young Professionals. I hold a Master of Public Administration from Boise State University, and a Bachelor of Communication from Washington State University. Both of my children currently attend elementary school in the Boise District, and our family has been fortunate to experience the quality programs, quality teachers, and amazing opportunities our district provides its students. As a working parent I have been actively involved in my children’s education, and an advocate for access to quality education, since the first day we started our older daughter in her early learning program.

I served on the board of directors of Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Centers for six years, including three years as vice president. I currently serve as a Giraffe Laugh Emeritus Board Member. I have also been an active PTSA parent serving as the Lowell Elementary Treasurer during the 2016-2017 school year. When our children transferred to Riverside Elementary this past year, my husband and I were happy to support the PTO.”

Maria Greeley, 49

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“I am a mother of three sons who graduated from Borah High School and a daughter who will be a Junior at Borah this year. I know firsthand, the importance of having teachers who are passionate and dedicated, and courses which meet the varied needs of our students.

I appreciate being a part of a community which values education and has high expectations for public education. My first foray into public service was as Co-Chair for the PAC to reject the Luna Laws and later, as a member of “Friends of Boise” for the successful 2012 levy to maintain class sizes.

I have served as a Trustee for the Boise School District for the past 6 years. During my term, I have served in leadership as Vice-Chair of the Board for the past 4 years, Co-Chair of the Governance Committee for several years and have been a team member on the Facilities Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and Superintendent Evaluation Committee.

Visiting every school and program in the Boise School District has been an integral part of my Board work. The time spent doing the visits is for me to better understand the communities, cultures, strengths and challenges at each school. I love that as trustees, we serve the entire district.”

Troy Rohn, 51

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“I have served on the Boise school Board for the past 6 years and during that time the BSD has continued its high level of success in academic rigor and choice. During my first term of 6 years, I have been an integral team member that has helped maintain the BSD as one of the best in the state of Idaho.

One of my specific duties as a Trustee is serving as Chair of the Legislative & Governmental Affairs Committee. My role is to advocate for legislation that supports a well-funded, high quality K12 education. I have spent the last 4 years developing relationships with not only legislators that represent our district (Reps. McCrostie and Rubel, Sens. Buckner-Webb and Ward-Engelking) but also various stakeholder groups (IEA, ISBA, and IASA).

Our committee role is to vet proposed legislation and provide specific input to ensure the best laws and administrative rules for our teachers and students. I believe my role in this regard is invaluable for not only the BSD, but for educators and students across Idaho.

I am excited about the opportunity to serve another term on the BSD and to continue the important work of our district.”

James Tooman, 50

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“Since October of 2015 I have been on the Policy Council for FOCAF, the local Head Start program. I have served as a parent and as a community representative, and have held the positions of Parliamentarian, Chair of the Policy and Procedure Committee, and Chair of the Family Engagement Committee.

I believe that being involved in our children’s education system helps strengthen children and families, which is why I believe I would be a valuable asset to the Board of Trustees.

Thank you.”

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