BOISE – Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra will be back in the classroom this month, filling in at local schools as part of her department’s effort to help meet a critical need for substitute teachers.

Ybarra, who lives in Mountain Home, has arranged with superintendents of the Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry school districts to substitute in elementary school classrooms that need a teacher this Thursday, and again Oct. 25, 27, and 28. Specific assignments will be determined by the districts’ needs on those dates.

“With teachers out sick and a serious shortage of substitutes during the pandemic, Idaho districts and schools truly need this help,” Ybarra said.  “Plus, it is always wonderful to get back in the classroom – my natural habitat.”

“Happily, many of my staff also are certified teachers and eager to help out,” the superintendent said. “We are organizing a roster of substitutes from this department who can teach in a wide range of grade levels and subject areas for districts and charter schools across the region.”

“It’s a great way to interact with Idaho students and educators, and to see firsthand the operations of the schools we serve.” 

A longtime third-grade teacher who also worked as a principal, vice principal and federal program director for the Mountain Home district, Ybarra holds certification to teach kindergarten through 8th grade. In past years, the superintendent has filled in for teachers in local schools during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Employees of the superintendent’s office will be able to use paid leave – separate from their existing leave – to serve as substitutes for up to 16 hours per pay period under a new program announced by Gov. Brad Little last month for employees at Idaho executive branch agencies.

The governor also set aside $10 million in the state’s federal COVID relief funds as recruitment grants administered by the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office to help districts and charter schools hire the people they need – including bus drivers, paraprofessionals and other hard-to-fill positions – to continue in-person learning despite pandemic-driven staff shortages.

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