Branden Durst to resign from Idaho’s West Bonner County School District

News comes after months of tumult about superintendent position in the North Idaho district

By: - September 25, 2023 4:14 pm
Idaho Branden Durst

Branden Durst is a former state legislator and was a candidate for superintendent of public instruction in 2022. (Courtesy of Idaho EdNews)

This story was originally posted on on Sept. 25, 2023.

Branden Durst will resign from his role with the West Bonner County School District. He has served as the district’s quasi-superintendent since June 28. 

In the announcement (made on X, formerly known as Twitter), Durst said the move is necessary to “promote healing and unity within the community.” 

“It may not be entirely fair, but life rarely is,” his letter said. 

The news comes after months of tumult in the North Idaho district, including raucous board meetings, the recall of two trustees and the state’s decision to block Durst’s path to an emergency certification to be a superintendent.

Durst did not set a departure date and said he’ll leave that decision to the board.

Durst announced his pending resignation Monday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In early June, Durst — a former Democrat legislator and Republican candidate for state superintendent — was selected as West Bonner’s new leader, despite lacking the state-required qualifications. 

The hire sparked outrage throughout the community and drew statewide attention to the remote district. 

Patrons vocalized their concerns at school board meetings, and ultimately organized a recall election that ousted two district trustees, leaving the board at a point of uncertainty until new trustees can be appointed.

The State Board of Education blocked Durst’s attempt to seek an emergency certification for his superintendency and put the district on notice to comply with state law. 

Durst called out these challenges in his resignation notice.

“I faced a situation marked by its relentless obstacles thrown my way by those who wished to see me fail, including the Idaho State Board of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction,” Durst wrote. “However, despite these challenges, I persevered and with the help of great staff achieved remarkable milestones that I hope will have a positive impact on the district long into the future.”

Durst continued, saying he’s committed to facilitating a smooth transition following his resignation, and until then, will “continue to work diligently to uphold the district’s mission and support students’ success.”

Durst’s final day with West Bonner will either be decided by the three remaining trustees, who meet Wednesday for a special board meeting, or the newly elected board who takes office in January, following the November elections.

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Sadie Dittenber
Sadie Dittenber

Idaho Education News reporter Sadie Dittenber focuses on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate and was born and raised in the Treasure Valley. You can follow Sadie on Twitter @sadiedittenber and send her news tips at [email protected].