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Master Educator Premium A Career Accolade for Many in West Ada School District

Teachers Collaborating at Computer November 13, 2019 – Veteran teachers in West Ada School District celebrated success this fall when 276 received notice they earned the Master Educator Premium, a recognition and financial reward provided by the state in support of experienced educators. Approximately 10 percent of total certified staff in West Ada School District earned this career accolade.


“We are proud of all who submitted their portfolios for consideration into the Master Educator Premium program. Many more of our teachers are eligible, and we hope all apply in the future as this is so beneficial financially and as a point of pride. You have accomplished so much in your careers thus far,” Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Ranells boasted.


Educators who have eight years of classroom experience, three years of which immediately precede the award in Idaho, have the option to pursue the Master Educator Premium. Those receiving this recognition submitted intensive portfolios outlining their years of experience, demonstrated mastery of instructional techniques, provided artifact materials as evidence of their effective teaching, and showed completion of an annual individualized professional learning plan.


Preparations for Portfolio Submittal

“I give major kudos to the district’s digital integration team for their innovation in developing the portfolio template we all came to use,” Dave Roberts, chief human resources officer said. “We initially had little insight into what the state board expected a portfolio to look like, and it took a few years before requirements and a rubric were provided for us. Our team used their knowledge of similar career portfolios and considered how other educators would wish to tell their career story in creating what became the state board’s portfolio model.”


Several classes were hosted last school year in preparation for Master Educator Premium submittal. Roberts visited most schools over the course of a couple years encouraging participation in this program as well.


“We met with teachers in the evenings and hosted three levels of learning,” Geri Gillespy, administrator of digital integration shared. “Those needing to learn the technology met with us in one space, while those wanting to plug away at their projects met in the computer lab. Another space was available for teachers to collaborate on their portfolios.”


Gillespy encourages all certified staff get ahead of the next round of award submissions by becoming proficient in the technology used for building the portfolios. These courses, One Note Bursts, are available to staff through the professional development training calendar.


Financial Impact on Individuals

In West Ada School District, certified staff earn an average annual salary of $53,500. The Master Educator Premium provides $12,000 in supplemental income, $4,000 per year for three years. Following the initial three-year period, educators are eligible to receive the premium on an annual basis.


“Many of our teachers requested their funds be contributed to their PERSI Choice 401k accounts so the reward can continue to grow and benefit them later,” Roberts shared. “Disbursements of the reward were given out in lump sum in October.”


Law dictates school districts supplement certified staff pay by $3,500 once they have earned their master’s degree. The financial benefit of the Master Educator Premium requires less time and no tuition payment by those choosing to participate.


There are 2,463 certified staff and administrators in West Ada School District. Twenty-two of these certified employees hold doctorate degrees, while 82 have their educational specialist certification and 1,075 have their master’s degree. Following the announcement of awards this fall, 276 certified staff and administrators are recognized as master educators in Idaho.



Idaho Statute 33-10041 on the Idaho Legislature website:


Master Educator Premium on the Idaho State Board of Education website: