The West Ada School District board of trustees unanimously renewed Superintendent Mary Ann Ranells’ contract for another year, effective July 1.

The board gave Ranells a 3 percent raise for the 2017-18 school year, increasing her salary from $162,000 to $166,860. The raise is in line with what the district expects to give other administrators, school board Chairman Philip Neuhoff said.

“We’ve been extremely happy with Dr. Ranells’ performance here,” he said.

The contract covers 230 days of the school year. The contract includes sick leave, health insurance, life insurance, three weeks paid vacation, five paid personal days and other perks, such as the use of district-owned vehicles and technology for business.

Ranells retired in 2014 as the Lakeland School District superintendent in North Idaho. Her contract with West Ada is a state of Idaho retired administrator contract, which requires that she has not received any state early retirement benefits.

Unlike a regular superintendent contract, which has a three-year lifespan, a retired administrator contract must be renewed annually, Neuhoff said.

West Ada brought on Ranells in January 2016, a tumultuous time for the district. At the time, all five school board members were targets of recall efforts, and Superintendent Linda Clark had recently resigned, claiming some board members had pushed her to leave.

“She came in at a time when there was some flux in the school district and really unified everyone,” said Neuhoff, who was appointed to the board two months after Ranells was hired. “She’s brought her very open and friendly personality to bear to really do some great things — and continue on great traditions in our school district, as well.”

During Ranells’ first few months as superintendent, voters gathered enough signatures to hold recall elections against four school board members. Two trustees resigned, and two others were recalled.

“We just stayed focused on the kids and the district,” Ranells said.

She praises both the board members who hired her and the new board members appointed to fill their vacant seats.

“As we were lucky to get new board members, they had that same commitment, that same dedication, that same insistence that the West Ada School District is not only the largest, it’s the best,” she said.

Ranells has worked in public education for 44 years.

“I have come to the best school district in the world, and I am so lucky to get to work with the most amazing, dedicated professionals,” she said. “I would send my grandchildren to any of our schools.”

Before becoming superintendent of the Lakeland School District, Ranells taught English, Spanish and reading for 12 years in grades seven through 12. She was also a principal, an administrator of curriculum and special education, and the deputy superintendent of the Idaho Department of Education.

After retiring from Lakeland, Ranells traveled to school districts in and outside of Idaho as a consultant, including training school boards for the Idaho School Boards Association.

Ranells has eight grandchildren, spread out in Nampa, California, Virginia and Budapest, Hungary.

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