LEWISTON – As a mother of four children in rural Idaho public schools, Debbie Critchfield stated she is running for Superintendent to put kids first and ensure Idaho’s next generation is getting the education they need.
Critchfield is a fourth-generation farmer and lover of education. She has worked in a plethora of positions during her career inside, and outside of the classroom. From substitute teacher, to President and member of the Idaho State Board of Education, and more. She decided to run for Superintendent about two years to help the children of Idaho on a new level.
“I was ready and wanted to reposition myself to have a stronger influence and make a difference,” Critchfield said. “Idaho is ready and deserves a strong educational leader and because of my experience it became clear to me I should run… There is a better way to do this, you have got to change the leader.”
Over the pandemic, Critchfield was chair of a statewide committee to reopen Idaho schools and lead the effort to support districts for in-person learning. She explained it is critical students stay in the classrooms and was proud to lead that fight. Critchfield also was a member of Governor Little’s K-12 Council and made it her mission to open indoor sporting events to parents and families, which she was able to accomplish.
Within the classroom, one of Critchfield’s biggest priorities is increasing workforce readiness. She mentioned that skill development should be at the center of education. Critchfield further explained it is essential juniors and seniors have the ability to get credit for working and get access to any on-the-job training they need.
“At the heart, we must prepare and train our kids for their lives and careers,” Critchfield said. “I want to create different pathways to earn a diploma. Our graduation rate has gown down, and a contributing factor is we are not providing the resources they need.”
Critchfield also explained if elected, she plans to implement a required financial education course to graduate high school. She mentioned this would teach students how to manage the online world of finance, learn about credit scores, how to apply for a loan, and so much more.
Rural schools are another area of concern for Critchfield. She stated the majority of Idaho is rural, and students are facing aging facilities, issues with attracting and retaining students, and so much more. Critchfield explained rural Idaho is seeing the growing pains, and it is time to come up with solutions.
“There is no other candidate that understands the challenges of a rural setting like I do,” Critchfield said. “I believe a student in Oakley, Idaho deserves the same level of education as a student in Boise.”
With this, local control, and parental involvement is something Critchfield believes is essential to better the learning of Idaho students. She explained she understands first-hand the power in local decisions and will continue to emphasize that if elected. Critchfield mentioned she looks forward to supporting parents and educators throughout the state with the tools and information they need to thrive if elected.
She stated the Superintendent should listen to each school district’s needs and implement solutions, however, this is not something she is currently seeing.
“I want to be open, honest, and transparent,” Critchfield said. “I am trying to create an energy around the state for change. There is no reason our students can’t have access to a world-class education. I believe that we can and need to set higher expectations for our students and focus on engagement, behavior health, learning loss, and achievements.”
To learn more about Critchfield and her issues, go to her website at https://debbie4idaho.com/