Idaho Education Association’s Champion of Education award recognizes those who make special and unique contributions to the cause of public education through their work over an extended period, but particularly within the last year. 

Governor Brad Little 
Nominated by Alicia Purdy 

Few Idaho leaders have done more to support Idaho public education in recent years than Governor Brad Little. 

Since entering office in 2019, Governor Little has proudly advocated for students, public schools and educators by setting high expectations for education policy and investing his own political capital to make those policies a reality. His work has made him an essential ally of Idaho Education Association members and other education stakeholders eager to create public schools Idaho students deserve. 

“Governor Little has proven he is committed to education and considers education investments a top priority in the state,” said Alicia Purdy, an IEA board member and Vallivue Education Association president. “Because of his efforts, Idaho educators have received substantial pay increases, teaching is more attractive to new educators entering the profession, school facilities are safer and will be appropriately maintained, students with dyslexia are receiving interventions to improve literacy, and graduates will have access to funding toward college, career technical, or workforce training to fill in-demand jobs in the state.” 

Little’s recent wins for education include record investments in K-12 education during the 2022 legislative session and a 2022 special legislative session. In 2023, he successfully advocated to increase starting teacher pay in Idaho to $47,477 and secured an increase of $145 million in state funding for educator pay. 

Governor Little also chartered the “Empowering Parents” grant program in 2022, providing grants of up to $1,000 per child or $3,000 per family to use for students’ educational needs outside the classroom, stating “a person’s education starts in the home.” Additionally, the governor ensured $2.9 million annually to fund state dyslexia requirements. 

This year, Governor Little announced his plan to invest $1.5 billion over 10 years for improvements to school buildings in disrepair. 

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