Meet the newest leaders to join Bluum’s network of partner schools
Bluum is committed to ensuring Idaho’s children reach their fullest potential by cultivating great leaders and innovative schools. Research shows that quality school leadership is a primary driver for improving student achievement, which is why we support our partner schools in seeking out the very best education leaders they can find from across the state and the nation. We are excited to introduce you to five new educational leaders who are committed to serving Idaho communities, families, and students. We are lucky to have them. Learn more about these leaders in their own words below.
Todd Hale, Principal Administrator, Gem Prep: Twin Falls
Kevin Hausmann, Special Education Director, Future Public School
Kate Hunter, Elementary Director, Sage International School of Boise
Ed Longfield, Executive Director, Idaho Arts Charter School
John Sallaway, Director of Operations, MOSAICS Public School
Prior to taking your new position, where did you work?
Hale: Prior to joining the Gem Innovation Team (Gem Prep Twin Falls) I was a Superintendent/ Principal/ Federal Programs/ Special Education Director for a small school district in Southeast Idaho. With an amazing elementary team we were able to take K-3 students’ reading proficiency from 60% proficient to 75% and maintain this score or higher for 3-years straight.
Hausmann: Prior to coming to Future, I was a special education teacher and school leader in Brooklyn NY. Most recently I was an assistant principal at Brooklyn Ascend Charter School where I was charged with leading third and fourth grade teams. From 2018-2022 the third & fourth graders made year-over-year academic growth of 10+ percentage points on all statewide assessment measures. We out-performed similar district schools in the Brownsville Brooklyn community.
Hunter: Prior to accepting a position at Sage, I served as an assistant principal at Lewis and Clark Middle School (LCMS) in the West Ada School District. When I look back at my time at LCMS, I feel most proud of the relationships we built with students, colleagues, and families, the supports we provided to students during the incredible challenges of the pandemic, and the collective work we did to provide more equitable opportunities for all students.
Longfield: Prior to becoming the executive director of Idaho Arts Charter School, I was the superintendent of Manitou Springs School District 14 in Colorado (10 years). Manitou sits at the foot of Pikes Peak and is adjacent to Colorado Springs. My most significant accomplishment while serving as superintendent was to create multiple K-12 Fine Arts programs. As I observed my first year, I noticed that students with means would be hurrying off to private lessons in ballet, strings, drama, and instrumental music. Many of our students from lower socioeconomic groups would go home to latchkey experiences. We partnered with a local Conservatory to begin offering fine arts opportunities to all children for $25 a semester. The program grew significantly in year two and three. We decided to create our own opportunities on site and named the initiative the Fine Arts Institute of Manitou (F.A.I.M). From there, we began to develop a K-12 strings program, ballet, drama, instrumental music, rock band, guitar, painting, ceramics—you name it, we did it. By the end of my tenure, we had a strings program of over 100 students at the high school. They composed their own music and performed in front of a packed house of 3,000 at the Ent Performance Center in Colorado Springs! All children deserve experiences that are engaging, authentic, and life changing. From this experience, we went on to create an additional program called “Connect 14” that offered the same personalized opportunities but in health and fitness. Connect 14 provided opportunities for children to fly fish, kayak, ski, mountain bike, hike, and even race small cars. Connection to authentic learning experiences and connection to others—that was our goal.
Sallaway: Before MOSAICS I spent seven months as the business manager at the Notus School District. Prior to that my 30+ year career was in business in real estate, consulting, retail and many other opportunities along the way. At one time or another I started a consulting firm, a real estate brokerage and held numerous positions as a controller or director of operations. My most significant contributions during my career have always been around my ability to organize and bring process improvement to an organization.
What attracted you to your new position?
Hale: I was attracted to the Gem Prep Twin Falls leadership position because of the mission and focus of Gem Innovation Schools (GIS). GIS focuses on college readiness through rigorous academics and building life skills that get students to and through college. I am in education because I want to be a part of building the rising generation that can give back to their community in effective ways.
Hausmann: I was relocating after spending 11-years in Brooklyn. During my job search I came across Future Public School and was fortunate to make a visit there in April. I was impressed with the strong sense of care given to students, the joy exhibited by staff members, and Future’s commitment to equity and inclusion. I also saw a great opportunity to add value to the Future community by bringing 15-years of experience working with diverse learning populations and to make a great school community even better.
Hunter: I am an International Baccalaureate (IB) student and educator first and foremost; I love the IB’s international lens and the focus on critical thinking, personal development, and productive contribution to one’s community. Sage’s wholehearted commitment to these principles and the well-being of its community members makes it a great place for my family.
Longfield: I was attracted to Idaho Arts because I believe in choice and that children and parents should be able to select an educational program that is effective, inclusive, authentic, exciting, and personal. Our private and public sectors are crying for personnel that are creative, cooperative, innovative, and highly emotional intelligent. Some of our educational systems are creating just the opposite. In my career, I have seen many classrooms that are simply bogs of boring! Extraordinary levels of excellence in reading, writing, and mathematics are simply the floor in today’s world. Everyone expects a person who has mastered those areas along with the traits mentioned above. An intelligent engineer who has the ability to invent, create, cooperate, connect, and work with teammates is infinitely more valuable than one that simply is a master of mathematical concepts. Idaho Fine Arts is committed to provide both an excellent foundation in academics with an unwavering emphasis on developing skills in the Fine Arts. I believe this is the winning formula.
Sallaway: Clearly what was appealing about the opportunity at MOSAICS at the end of a long interview process was the positive attitude of everyone I interviewed with, and the focus on performing at a higher level and passing that along to the students. The atmosphere at MOSAICS was extremely open and welcoming.
What excites you most about the 22-23 school year and beyond?
Hale: I am excited to be able to learn and grow in an extremely supportive environment.
Hausmann: I am excited to start a new role in a new school, expand my skill set as an educator and school leader, and contribute positively to the Future community.
Hunter: Schools across the world and nation are at a crossroads; we have lived through a time of great upheaval, and we have been challenged in myriad ways in the past two years. We now get to decide what to hold on to, what to let go of, and how to move forward to equip our kids to live in the world they will inherit. I cannot think of a challenge more worthy or more exciting.
Longfield: I am most excited about the possibility of unleashing the exponential potential of each brilliant mind associated with Idaho Arts Charter School! I believe that creating an environment that is safe, kind, gracious, supportive, and highly communicative is the petri dish for mind-blowing growth. Excellence in all things starts by empowering people to own the work, the process, the outcomes. Failure is expected, but only as a tool for immediate reflection and growth. We must not live in fear of setbacks. We must rid ourselves of anxiety. We must shake off the isolation of today and become a strong, energetic, wildly positive community. I am excited to begin building this synergy with all of Idaho Arts’ constituency.
Sallaway: Implementing new processes and streamlining some of the work that staff seem to spend more time than necessary laboring over.
What worries you most about the 22-23 school year?
Hale: I am worried about the steep learning curve in the network, but I feel that things will be great.
Hausmann: Learning how special education law is applied in a new state.
Hunter: I am always mindful that the distractions and logistical concerns of running a school on a day-to-day basis can overshadow our fundamental purpose. I am thrilled to join a team that I know can run a school without losing sight of the joy of learning and building community.
Longfield: I am worried most about the mental health of children, their families, and frankly huge chunks of our communities. I believe that the trends of the day have been systemically designed to isolate people. Social media, smart phones, smart homes, smart tvs, the immediacy of the media cycle—all flooding our minds with short snippets of information mostly causing negative reactions such as anxiety, depression, comparison, and loneliness. We have lost connections. Connections with one another, connections with healthy activities, connections with our inner selves—thinking, breathing, and healthy perspective. We must wipe out isolation and build strong community.
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What is your favorite out-of-school activity?
Hale: I love spending time outside with my family.
Hausmann: Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my wife outdoors. This includes hiking, biking, fishing, and so much more.
Hunter: Outdoor adventures with my family. Nothing brings me more joy than watching the preschool boys I taught on the bunny ski hill (my sons, ages seven and almost 13) turn into beasts on the mountain.
Longfield: My favorite out of school activity is spending time with my wife and grown children (including our new lab puppy) outside…doing anything really. We love to golf together, ski together, camp together, hike together, bike together, fish together, and raft together—emphasis on “together.” I love nature—it simply shouts that there is so much more than my myopic “self.”
Sallaway: Spending time with my wife. We laugh a lot, mostly at me, and always have a good time. My personal relaxation time is usually spent involved in one sport or another. I grew up playing hockey at a very competitive level and still play almost year around.
Future Public School, Gem Prep: Twin Falls, Idaho Arts Charter School, Sage International School, and MOSAICS Public School, are Bluum partner schools and have received grant support from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. The five schools have also received funding from Idaho’s Communities of Excellence federal Charter Schools Program grant.