Retired member and long time teacher Janie Ward-Engleking is running for the state House of Representatives in Boise’s District 18. A swing district, hers is one of the most highly-watched races in the state.
What inspired you to run for office? What inspired you to run again?
After coming within 7 votes of my opponent in 2010, I interned at the legislature in 2011. I am more convinced than ever we need more balance, collaboration and compassion in the State Legislature. Also with education reform on the horizon, I felt compelled to run again.
Tell us a bit about your teaching experience.
I was a classroom teacher for 33 years. During my teaching career I mentored many new teachers and supervised over 25 student teachers. I learned children learn best when they are actively engaged and parents are involved. There is no one size fits all. Children are unique and their learning styles vary. I worked diligently every day to find the magic formula for the students in my class. They brought laughter to my day, and I loved the “WOW” moments. I was actively involved in my professional organization (BEA/IEA) and held many leadership positions.
In what ways does your teaching experience make you a better legislator?
Over the course of my career, I have worked with many colleagues, parents, students and community leaders. Though our ideas and backgrounds differed, we were able to move forward by focusing on our goals and finding common ground. There also needs to be mutual respect and civility when working with others. I believe this attitude and approach will also work in the legislature.
What legislative issues are you most passionate about?
As a native Idahoan, wife, mother, and grandmother there are many issues I feel passionate about. We need a long-term strategy to grow the economy and create good paying jobs in Idaho. I want my family to be able to stay in the area. Of course education is a top priority for me. Businesses need a highly trained work force and the research and development our colleges and universities can provide. Real education reform is needed but it needs to be driven by teachers, parents, and our community NOT out-of-state corporations and politicians. Small businesses have been left on the back burner too long. They have needs that need to be addressed. I also care deeply about our quality of life. My family has enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, backpacking, skiing, and the beauty of Idaho for years. It is truly what makes Idaho unique.
What do you do when you’re not campaigning or at the legislature?
I am currently an independent contractor and provide training for the College of Western Idaho. I also belong to a book club, bridge group, and enjoy gardening. Water skiing and snow skiing, and spending time with my family and friends are top priorities. My seven beautiful grandchildren are a joy to watch, and I try to stay involved in their lives.