Cindy Wilson retired from teaching after three decades in the classroom, but education is still her number one passion. The Preston, Idaho native is hoping to utilize her teaching experience at the state level as the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Wilson, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Sherri Ybarra, who is seeking a second four-year term.
Wilson, who was born and raised in Preston, says she appreciates the values and benefits of living in a small town. She wants to ensure children in Preston and other rural communities are treated fairly when it comes to the allocation of the State’s education resources.
“My family homesteaded in Preston way back in 1878, and my life growing up there was just ideal,” she says. “I had so many friends and neighbors who supported me throughout my education. I would like to create schools where children feel supported in the same way I was supported when I was growing up in Preston.”
Wilson is spending the last few days of the campaign traveling all over the state and talking with constituents, including educators. She says student achievement, early childhood education, teacher recruitment and retention are key concerns. Those in the education field are particularly worried that children are starting out first grade at a disadvantage.
“Educators realize that if a child is not reading at grade level by third grade, they start to get behind. Because after third grade you are reading to learn. And then, we know, that they get further and further behind and then by high school, they start dropping out. So how do we keep children in high school? It’s clear, we have to have them ready to learn how to read by first grade.”
Wilson says she has a love and devotion for civic instruction. She believes it’s important for children to develop an appreciation for a democracy and understand the rule of law. We have lost track over the last decade, she says, of how to treat one another with civility and respect. She says it doesn’t cost a dime for a teacher to put on a civics lens and bring that kind of instruction into the classroom.
“I think that’s the most important thing we can do for kids today,” because, she says, “if we don’t have that kind of a government and that kind of a way of life, then nothing else matters.”
Wilson comes from a family of staunch Republicans. However, she says they have embraced her candidacy and are fully supportive as she campaigns to make positive changes in Idaho’s education. Wilson currently resides in the Boise area.