MIDDLETON — Sherawn Reberry will take over as superintendent of Middleton School District.

Middleton school board members selected Reberry out of three finalists at a special meeting Tuesday night after about two hours in executive session.

School board member Aleisha McConkie said Reberry had shown a desire to focus on the students.

“When it comes down to the most important matter, which is the kids, that is where she shines through,” McConkie said.

Reberry works as director of education programs and partnership facilitator for Idaho Digital Learning Academy. She previously worked at Boise State University as an associate director for the Center for School Improvement and in the Caldwell School District as an assistant superintendent. Reberry worked as an adjunct professor at BSU, George Fox University and NNU. She has also taught in the Kimberly School District and in the Twin Falls School District.

The Middleton School District has roughly 4,000 students. Former Superintendent Josh Middleton made $136,500 in the 2017-18 school year, according to Idaho Education News. School board member Kirk Adams estimated Middleton’s salary before he left was around $140,000. Adams said the terms of Reberry’s contract, including her salary, will be negotiated over the next week.

Reberry will take over the district following a number of challenges from the previous school year following the Oct. 31 incident where teachers dressed in racially insensitive Halloween costumes.

The teachers were placed on paid leave temporarily while then-superintendent Middleton launched a full investigation. The teachers were quickly reinstated.

A week after the costume incident, voters said no, for the third time, to a bond to build a new elementary school in Middleton.

Following the vote, in May, the Middleton school board voted not to renew Middleton High School principal Ben Merrill’s contract. The decision sparked student protests and threats of violence from the community.

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The decision prompted a recall effort against school board members McConkie and Tim Winkle. Another recall effort is targeting board member Marianne Blackwell, who wanted to renew Merrill’s contract. All three members face a recall election on Aug. 27, Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker said Tuesday.

In June, Middleton resigned as superintendent in a scathing letter to the board. In the letter, Middleton said a “hostile work environment” and “discriminatory actions” from elected officials led to his resignation.

Middleton also wrote “bad behavior continues to be rewarded.”

To restore confidence in Middleton School District officials, Reberry said she would immediately start meeting with community members and creating relationships.

Reberry said she planned to organize an advisory committee made up of community members, teachers, principals, food service workers and transportation workers.

“They all have an investment here,” she said. “We need to celebrate together what is going right.”

Winkle made the phone call to Reberry Tuesday night to let her know she had been selected for the superintendent position.

Back in an open session, Winkle said Reberry accepted the position and that she was excited, appreciative and largely speechless.

Reberry was up against two other finalists: Jeff Dillon, superintendent and principal in the Wilder School District who unsuccessfully challenged State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra in last year’s GOP primary election. The other finalist was Isa DeArmas, assistant superintendent of education services at Saugus Union School District in Santa Clarita, California.

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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