Distinguished Service Award
Career Guidance Coordinator, Idaho PTE, 1988-1997
Professional-Technical Administrator, Meridian School District, 1997-2010 Retired
Jim Baxter came to Idaho with his wife, Kathy, in the Fall of 1975 when he took his first teaching position at Timberline High School in Orofino. Over the next 13 years, he taught in Idaho and continued his own education. In 1988, Mr. Baxter accepted the position of Career Guidance Coordinator at the Division of Professional-Technical Education. This was a turning point for numerous programs in Idaho, for Mr. Baxter’s vision and energy led to program improvement and new programs.
While at the Division, Mr. Baxter helped to implement Idaho’s first Comprehensive School Counseling Program Model, providing intense technical assistance to districts throughout its introduction and development. Elements of the original Model still resonate throughout Idaho today, 24 years later.
Mr. Baxter, along with Dr. Ernie Biller, introduced Idaho to the Dependable Strengths Articulation Process and developed a one-of-a-kind agreement with the Process’s developer to provide funding and freedom of use throughout Idaho schools. Again, Dependable Strengths continues to be utilized currently with children through adults and in various settings. It is currently a staple in all GEAR UP schools in Idaho.
A final contribution that I would highlight in terms of Mr. Baxter’s time at the Division is his development of a work-based learning program—now known as Idaho’s Individualized Occupational Training (the IOT) program. To ensure sustainability of this program, Mr. Baxter also developed the Idaho Work-Based Learning Guide and helped to create a subdivision of the Idaho Vocational Association for instructors known currently as the Individualized Occupational Training Association. It comes as no surprise that Mr. Baxter’s quality efforts have helped to ensure that this program is still viable in Idaho.
In 1997, Mr. Baxter was honored by the Idaho Vocational Association—now CTEI—with the state’s Career Guidance Award for all of his efforts and insightfulness.
In this same year, Mr. Baxter left the Division to serve as Counseling Supervisor in the Meridian School District. It was only a year later that Mr. Baxter was asked to take the position of co-PTE administrator in Meridian. With the support of District Superintendent, Dr. Linda Clark, and the Board, Mr. Baxter was able to take Dr. Clark’s vision of expanding educational choice through a system of magnet schools and facilitate the implementation of a vast array of career training opportunities that lead to high-demand, high-wage jobs. Through his leadership at Meridian Schools, Mr. Baxter established numerous programs: video broadcasting; residential construction; masonry; digital home integration; collision repair; police, fire and emergency services; pre-engineering; health professions; and information technology.
After more than 35 years as an educator, coach, and administrator in Idaho, Mr. Baxter retired from the Meridian School District at the end of the 2010 school year.