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Branden Durst, embattled West Bonner Superintendent, announces his resignation

Branden Durst is seen sitting in front of a white wall, looking directly at the camera. A red Republican elephant logo and his last name sit on the front right side of the screen.
Branden Durst
Screenshot of Superintendent Branden Durst in campaign video posted to his YouTube channel on February 10, 2021.

Branden Durst announced he would be leaving his job as West Bonner County School District Superintendent on Monday.

In a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Durst wrote he would be seeking “an amicable and fair exit” from his role. The decision comes less than three months after he was selected by the District’s school board 3-2.

His short tenure started on June 28, 2023 and was marred with controversy from the start.

A former Democratic lawmaker, Durst has done work for far-right lobbying groups, such as Idaho Freedom Foundation and Idaho Family Policy Center, and has no experience in education. Candidates for superintendent positions in Idaho must have a minimum of four years experience working with students in an accredited school setting as certified educators. Durst, who does not meet those qualifications, applied for an emergency provisional certificate to the State Board of Education. The state denied the request.

The office of the superintendent oversees education for all K-12. public school students in Idaho.

In his statement, Durst said he recognized the challenges his tenure faced, writing he was aware not everyone in the community welcomed his hiring.

In August, two of the three board trustees who voted for Durst’s appointment, West Bonner School District board chair Keith Rutledge and vice chair Susan Brown, were recalled in a special election. Durst’s hiring was not cited in the petition but recall efforts started shortly after his appointment.

“To promote healing within the community, I believe it is necessary for me to step aside as Superintendent. It may not be entirely fair, but life rarely is,” Durst wrote in his statement.

Durst did not provide an official date for his exit, writing the decision was up to the board.

Read Durst's full statement here:

I joined Boise State Public Radio in 2022 as the Canyon County reporter through Report for America, to report on the growing Latino community in Idaho. I am very invested in listening to people’s different perspectives and I am very grateful to those who are willing to share their stories with me. It’s a privilege and I do not take it for granted.

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