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Utah Ed board elects new chair

Published December 6, 2013 1:28 pm

Education • USU instructor to stress communication.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tami Pyfer, of Logan, a research coordinator and adjunct faculty member at Utah State University, is the new chairwoman of the Utah Board of Education.

Pyfer was elected on the second ballot, defeating two colleagues who will be the board's new vice chairmen, Dave Crandall, of Draper, and David L. Thomas, of South Weber.

Pyfer replaces Debra Roberts, of Beaver, who has been chairwoman for the past five years.

Pyfer, a former Logan City Council member, manages various research activities at the Emma Eccles Jones Early Childhood Research Center at USU. She is a research coordinator for the Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education Department and an adjunct faculty member in Special Education.

One of Pyfer's key goals, she said, is communication. Board members need a greater presence at the Capitol and in their local school districts, she said. It can't be left to the Utah Office of Education to represent education, she said.

"We want to take more of a leadership role. We are the elected leaders for education in Utah."

Her USU job is part-time, and she will leave another part-time job, as a part-time program specialist for the Utah Commission on Civic and Character Education, at the end of this month. That will give her more flexibility and time to serve, Pyfer said.

She pledged continued work on updating and revising the policies for licensing educators; to analyze the structure of board committees; and to take input from board members.

Both vice chairmen have been involved in the charter school movement. Crandall, a software engineer, is chairman of the board of Summit Academy. He will be a repeat as vice chairman of the education board.

Thomas noted in a brief campaign speech that while he's a champion of the charter school movement, he angered many charter supporters and fellow Republicans when he spoke against Florida education reformers.

That, the former state senator said, shows his "political courage."

kmoulton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @KristenMoulton