Idaho Falls educator Logan Waetje will become the 20th Bluum Idaho New School Fellow when he starts his Fellowship in early July to work with the Elevate Academy team in launching a school in 2023.
“I see a school in Idaho Falls that serves the underserved. I’ll bring the energy, and the enthusiasm, the support… I love helping kids figure out what they want to do with their life,” Logan told Bluum.
Logan is “super excited” to support the expansion of Elevate Academy into Southeastern Idaho. Elevate Academy is a growing network of public charter schools working to create a pipeline of highly-skilled, employable workers that meet the needs of Idaho industry and business. As a school leader working with Elevate Academy’s co-founders Monica White and Matt Strong (INSF Alumni, 2017), Logan will plan, develop, and launch a 6-12th grade Career Technical school.
Logan is committed to the students of Idaho Falls and has 12 years of education experience. He is excited to grow as an educator and leader at Elevate Academy.
Q: What inspired you to become an educator?
A: “My mother was an educator and I always feel like I’ve kind of had a calling towards education but I tried to fight it for a long time. But, when I had a job in Montana where a big portion of my job I spent traveling inside schools and meeting students and teachers and administrators I really felt like that part of my job I was kind of making a difference. It really just inspired me to this idea that if I were a teacher, I could be doing this every day. So I made a career change and became a teacher, and that’s led me to a lot of opportunities in education and that’s all been super fun.”
Q: What made you decide to pursue the Idaho New School Fellowship and to work with Elevate Academy?
A: “Last year I had the opportunity to visit Elevate Academy at the request of my superintendent in my school district and I drove out to Caldwell and visited with Matt and Monica and got to tour the building, and kind of see what it was all about. I knew immediately when I met them, and when I saw the building and saw what the students were doing and learning and the lives that were being changed that I wanted to be part of the team. Things kind of progressed from there and just this year, early 2021, I committed to joining the Fellowship and being a part of the team.”
Q: What part of the Idaho New School Fellowship/Elevate Academy experience are you most excited about? Or looking forward to?
A: “I think I’m most excited about the project management part. I’m a little intimidated that the fact that the next few years, I’ll be designing and building a school rather than being around students every day, I’m a bit nervous about that, but also excited. I think it’s awesome meeting everybody at Bluum and all the experience that is here, it’s really given me a lot of confidence to ask questions, learn these things, and do it right. I’m really excited for that part of it… somewhere in Idaho Falls right now, there’s a piece of ground that’s just rocks and gravel, and plants and weeds, and in two years that’s going to become a school. That’s super cool.”
Q: What do you hope to bring to the school? What’s your vision?
A: “I see a school in Idaho Falls that serves the underserved. I’ll bring the energy, and the enthusiasm, the support, and I love kids and I love helping kids figure out what they want to do with their life. And I think Elevate is an amazing place to do that. I hope to be a part of that process where a student figures out what they’re good at and figures out they have some skills that are going to be huge in their life, and hopefully find their calling. To me there is nothing better in education than seeing a kid figure it out and visualize their own future. And I’m just excited to be part of that with a bunch of different kids.”
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of this adventure you’re on?
A: “The most rewarding thing to me is to change lives. How many professions every day get the chance to change someone’s life? That’s a big deal. Education is one of those areas where you get to do that and this model to me is the most conducive model to changing lives. So that’s definitely the most exciting thing.”
Q: How do you want to help Idaho students?
A: “I think I want to help Idaho students by just exposing them to skills and opportunities they wouldn’t have before. We don’t know what we are good at it until we try it. There are lots of future artists, builders, and creators out there that they don’t even know what they’re good at. I want to bring opportunity to students so they can figure out what they want to do and what their talents and skills are.”
Bluum is excited to support Logan and his role in expanding leadership capacity at Elevate through the 2021 Idaho New School Fellowship. This will be the third Elevate Academy to participate in the Idaho New School Fellowship. Other Elevate Academy fellows include Marita Diffenbaugh, Phil Diplock, and Jewels Carpenter. Also, meet Adam Bruno, another 2021 Idaho New School Fellow.