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Idaho New School Fellow Brings Career-Technical Education North

by Kristen McCarver

“Idaho is my home,” says Bluum’s newest Idaho New School Fellow, Marita Diffenbaugh, when asked why she’s inspired to create what will be a school of choice for students who qualify as at-risk, with CTE offerings that reflect workforce needs and opportunities in North Idaho. Marita is dedicated to using her strengths and experiences to ensure respect and opportunity for all students. She is passionate about connecting learning to community resources and needs, and restoring hope to support learners of all ages to develop their full potential.

Her ties to the area fundamental: home to her grown children and her grandchildren, she and her husband look forward to joining them to serve the northern Idaho community.

During her twenty years as an educator in the Gem State, she’s met, learned from, and grown alongside a bevy of people. Marita dedicated fourteen years to students in the classroom, and has six years of district and state-level administrator experience. She believes her greatest contributions involve building relationships with others and helping them discover how to connect their talents, knowledge, and skills with community needs.

She is “honored and excited” to support the expansion of Elevate Academy, a public charter school working to create a pipeline of highly-skilled, employable workers that meet the needs of Idaho industry and business, while empowering students to be leaders in their own lives. As a leadership partner with Elevate Academy’s co-founders Monica White and Matt Strong (INSF Alumni, 2017), Marita will plan, develop, and launch a 6-12th grade Career Technical school in northern Idaho.

“As a young student, I would have benefited from a school like Elevate Academy that seeks to provide hope and opportunity to students who are not currently finding success in their educational experience. I’m committed to helping learners of all ages develop their full potential and look forward to serving students, families, educators, and community members through an Elevate Academy North,” says Marita.

Marita’s vast experience developed her expertise as a student-focused, purpose-driven servant leader. She has supported school and district leadership in the strategic development of mastery-based education and instructional technology implementation. She’s a co-Founder of #EdCampIdaho, and a facilitator/participant of the Idaho Mastery Education Network, #IDedchat, Discovery Education Network, and iCivics. This all keeps Marita both leading and engaged in professional learning with a growing, dynamic network of educators.

Marita’s education – a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education (K-8), Master of Arts with a Technology emphasis, and Education Specialist (Ed.S) in Executive Educational Leadership – provide a foundation for her work in K-12 instructional leadership, augmented by her teaching and administrator/superintendent certifications.

“Marita is a gifted teacher, administrator and lifelong learner. She expects her students to do nothing she is unwilling to do herself. She is an unusual talent in that she is tough enough to solicit feedback and better herself as a result. She is relentlessly focused on the students that she serves. Marita has been a major contributor to building Idaho’s competency-based education approach known as Mastery,” Said Doug Park, Board Emeritus with the Boise School District.

“Marita is an excellent addition to the Elevate team. The opportunity for us to grow Elevate leadership capacity while at the same time being able to tap into her expertise on Mastery Education is a win-win for the students we serve,” says Elevate Co-Founder Monica White.

Bluum is excited to support Marita and her role in expanding leadership capacity at Elevate through the 2020 Idaho New School Fellowship.

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