Longtime Idaho Education Association staffer Linda Jones has a new assignment.
After working on behalf of IEA members for 40 years, Jones retired as region director in IEA’s Region 4 (Twin Falls area) over the summer and accepted a new role as executive director of IEA’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which offers Idaho’s premier professional development for educators.
The new role was made possible by a generous $750,000, three-year grant from the National Education Association. Focused on keeping educators in the classroom, the grant will deepen the CTL’s capacity to provide support, mentorship and training to educators, especially early career educators.
“We know that a lack of support and training is a big reason so many leave the profession during their first five years in the classroom. That’s especially true of educators seeking certification through a non-traditional path,” said Jones, who has served as IEA’s CTL’s staff liaison since its inception. “This grant will help us create programming to provide that support and help more educators stay in the classroom, no matter where they are in their career.”
Administering the development of mentorship programs and trainings specifically tailored to professional development and certifications mandated by the state — like Praxis exams and a recent mandate for dyslexia training — are a key part of Jones’ focus. She will work closely with the CTL board of directors, currently made up solely of IEA members, on her work.
“Linda’s long-time work with the CTL and her experience advocating for IEA members made her the perfect person to step into new position,” said IEA President Layne McInelly, who serves on the CTL board. “This work to ‘level-up’ the CTL’s offerings is exciting and will create huge benefits for our members and the IEA.”
Jones will also focus on building the sustainability of these and other CTL programs beyond the three-year scope of the NEA grant through a corporate fundraising program. She’s also eager to broaden membership on CTL’s board to include key community members and corporate executives.
“We think there are a lot of individuals, companies and foundations who will support our work if they understand what we do,” Jones said. “A key part of my role will be developing relationships with those who value the importance of having well-trained, confident educators in the classroom and asking them to support CTL’s work.”