Ten-year education veteran and president of the Snake River Education Association, Jon Hawkes, won this week’s special election to serve as interim vice president of the Idaho Education Association.
Hawkes steps into the remainder of a three-year term as vice president that ends July 31 and was previously held by Mary Anne McGrory, who resigned at the end of October. IEA members cast their online ballots Dec. 1-8.
In his candidate questionnaire Hawkes told IEA members that the biggest challenge facing educators is the increasing politicization of public education.
“I think that to address this challenge we need to continue to grow our outreach in social media, in political action, and in legislative intervention and involvement,” Hawkes wrote. Despite rhetoric from enemies of public education, “most parents and students support their local schools and educators. We need to continue to work to activate these supporters, to share the importance of what we do in schools and how we do it, to own all the amazing things that educators are doing throughout the state, and to confront disinformation, bigotry, fear, and hate with hard data, stability, grace, and most importantly, education.”
Hawkes has served in a wide variety of positions through his engagement with IEA, including lead negotiator for his local education association, SREA president since 2015, two years as IEA Region 5 president, two three-year terms as a Region 5 representatives on the IEA Board of Directors. During his time on the board, he has served on the member benefits committee, negotiations committee, elections committee, as co-chair of the policy, constitution and bylaws committee and the budget committee.
“Jon’s classroom experience, association work at the local level in East Idaho and his efforts as a statewide leader speak volumes about his commitment to our cause and his willingness to roll up his sleeves on your behalf,” wrote IEA President Layne McInelly in a Friday email to IEA members. “Myself and the rest of your Board of Directors looks forward to working with him in his new position.”
McInelly also praised Deanna Didier, an IEA board director from Region 2 and Hawkes’ opponent in the special election.
“Member engagement is what makes our collective advocacy for Idaho’s students, public schools and educators effective,” McInelly said. “Having leaders like Jon and Deanna is essential to our success.”
A permanent vice president will be elected to a full three-year term during IEA’s regular elections in May, with the new term beginning August 1. In addition to vice president, May’s elections will include contests for several other IEA board positions.