About the Center for American Education

Our Mission

The Center for American Education works with state legislators, policymakers, and parents to promote transformational change to our state and national education system so that it best serves the families and students who utilize it. We conduct research on and advocate for policies that empower students and their families and prepare individuals to pursue academic truth, advance knowledge, and contribute to the growth of a strong moral order and prosperous society.

Our Values

Educational Choice

We believe that every student is unique. Individuals and families deserve the flexibility and responsibility to choose the education best suited to their needs.

Student-Based Funding

We believe that education funding should follow students, rather than be tied to institutions. Schools exist to educate and serve students; therefore, they should be learner-centered.

Decentralized Decision Making

We believe that parents are the primary educators of their children and should be trusted to make decisions for their needs. Institutions of higher education should pursue knowledge for its own sake, protect faculty research and academic freedom, eliminate administrative bloat, and remove institutionalized sources of ideological agendas.

Permissionless Innovation

We believe that educational progress requires removing barriers to entry, incentivizing entrepreneurship, and thus increasing the supply side of education in the marketplace.

Accountability & Transparency

We believe that public institutions of higher education should be held accountable for pursuing their core mission — to protect academic freedom in research, teaching, and learning for the purpose of the advancement of truth and serving the common good. Schools and other educational providers in K-12 education should be directly accountable to parents.

Equal Opportunity

We believe that education should be available to all students, regardless of race, sex, color, economic class, ethnicity, national origin, residence, legacy status, or any other group characteristic. Education systems should reinforce the values of equal protection under law, individual merit, personal responsibility, and academic excellence.

Our Team

Anna K. Miller

Education Policy Director

Anna K. Miller

Anna is the Education Policy Director at Idaho Freedom Foundation. She is an alumni of the MA Fellowship at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. She lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Brock. Anna earned her M.A. in Economics from George Mason University (2020) and a B.A. in Philosophy, Religion, and Ancient Greek and Roman Studies as a Division 1 student athlete from Furman University (2017). Anna’s work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolicy, The Hill, The Detroit News, The Washington Examiner, and The Daily Caller among others.

Kaitlyn Shepherd

Research Assistant

Kaitlyn Shepherd

Kaitlyn Shepherd is a research assistant with the Idaho Freedom Foundation. She graduated from Evangel University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in government and history and from Regent University School of Law in 2021 with a juris doctor. She served as staff editor and managing editor for the Regent University Law Review, and her research on education law and policy was published by the Law Review in December 2020.

Prior to joining the Idaho Freedom Foundation, Kaitlyn worked as an intern and research assistant for legal and policy studies with the Family Research Council, where she conducted research primarily on issues related to domestic religious liberty.
A Minnesota transplant, Kaitlyn enjoys exploring the great outdoors and capturing the beauty of nature with her camera.

Board of Directors

Brent Regan

Chair
Brent Regan is the founder and president of Regan Designs, specializing in designing electromechanical products for medical, aerospace, defense, marine and automotive industries. He holds 11 U.S. patents for medical devices. An advocate of the free market, Regan has testified in favor of free market health care. He also initiated the North Idaho Conservative Resolution against the federally mandated health insurance exchanges. He has successfully assisted in organizing and opposing Local Improvement Districts in Kootenai County; sponsored legal efforts to protect neighbors’ property from illegal commercial land use; conceived, sponsored and was the master of ceremonies for the Conservative Candidate Forum prior to the 2012 primary; and developed a caucus sign-in procedure and volunteer training for the Kootenai County Republican Caucus. “Leisure” activities have included building and competing in automobile endurance road racing including 24 hours of Daytona (first in class (GTU), third in class (GTP)); six hours of Riverside (third in class); four-hour Sears Point Endurance Race (overall winner, twice); 24 hours of Nelson Ledges (third overall); and three seasons of campaigning 3 fighting robots in the Battlebots series aired nationally on Comedy Central. Regan has lived in Idaho since 1999. He is married with three children.

Brent Regan

Chair
Brent Regan is the founder and president of Regan Designs, specializing in designing electromechanical products for medical, aerospace, defense, marine and automotive industries. He holds 11 U.S. patents for medical devices. An advocate of the free market, Regan has testified in favor of free market health care. He also initiated the North Idaho Conservative Resolution against the federally mandated health insurance exchanges. He has successfully assisted in organizing and opposing Local Improvement Districts in Kootenai County; sponsored legal efforts to protect neighbors’ property from illegal commercial land use; conceived, sponsored and was the master of ceremonies for the Conservative Candidate Forum prior to the 2012 primary; and developed a caucus sign-in procedure and volunteer training for the Kootenai County Republican Caucus. “Leisure” activities have included building and competing in automobile endurance road racing including 24 hours of Daytona (first in class (GTU), third in class (GTP)); six hours of Riverside (third in class); four-hour Sears Point Endurance Race (overall winner, twice); 24 hours of Nelson Ledges (third overall); and three seasons of campaigning 3 fighting robots in the Battlebots series aired nationally on Comedy Central. Regan has lived in Idaho since 1999. He is married with three children.

Bryan Smith

Vice Chair
Bryan Smith is an Idaho Falls attorney who has practiced law for over 30 years. Smith has also owned several small businesses in Southeast Idaho. Smith graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree having studied English, and Smith graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1989. Smith fully supports the mission of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Smith also promotes advancing in all arenas free-market principles, limited government where possible, and individual freedom and liberty. Smith advocates that people should be free to succeed or fail without government interference. Smith lives in Idaho falls with his wife Sharon and is the proud father of five awesome children and five grandchildren with more hopefully on the way. Smith’s hobbies include growing tomatoes in his greenhouse and sailing on Bear Lake.

Bryan Smith

Vice Chair
Bryan Smith is an Idaho Falls attorney who has practiced law for over 30 years. Smith has also owned several small businesses in Southeast Idaho. Smith graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree having studied English, and Smith graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1989. Smith fully supports the mission of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Smith also promotes advancing in all arenas free-market principles, limited government where possible, and individual freedom and liberty. Smith advocates that people should be free to succeed or fail without government interference. Smith lives in Idaho falls with his wife Sharon and is the proud father of five awesome children and five grandchildren with more hopefully on the way. Smith’s hobbies include growing tomatoes in his greenhouse and sailing on Bear Lake.

Ron Crane

Treasurer
Ron G. Crane was born in Nampa, Idaho. He is a graduate of Nampa Christian High School and later graduated from college with an Associate's Degree. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio Christian University in 2008. He served as a member in the Idaho National Guard from 1971 -- 1977, receiving recognition as Idaho's Soldier of the Year in 1975. Crane started his own successful business, Crane Alarm Service, in 1979. Today, Crane Alarm is one of the oldest and largest alarm companies in Idaho. He is a member of the Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho Chambers of Commerce, was a founding member of the Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center, and serves on the board of trustees for Nampa Christian Schools. Crane has been married to his wife, Cheryl, since 1969. They have six children, four girls and two boys, and seven grandchildren. The Cranes reside in Nampa, Idaho.

Ron Crane

Treasurer
Ron G. Crane was born in Nampa, Idaho. He is a graduate of Nampa Christian High School and later graduated from college with an Associate's Degree. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio Christian University in 2008. He served as a member in the Idaho National Guard from 1971 -- 1977, receiving recognition as Idaho's Soldier of the Year in 1975. Crane started his own successful business, Crane Alarm Service, in 1979. Today, Crane Alarm is one of the oldest and largest alarm companies in Idaho. He is a member of the Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho Chambers of Commerce, was a founding member of the Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center, and serves on the board of trustees for Nampa Christian Schools. Crane has been married to his wife, Cheryl, since 1969. They have six children, four girls and two boys, and seven grandchildren. The Cranes reside in Nampa, Idaho.

Dar Symms

Dar Symms is the president and a co-owner of Symms Fruit Ranch, one of Idaho’s oldest and longest-operating fruit growers.He joined the family operation in 1994. Prior to that, he graduated from the University of Idaho’s law school in 1991, and worked at a Boise law firm. He is a member of the Idaho Bar Association. At Symms Fruit Ranch, Dar manages and oversees all packing, marketing to Latin America, human resources and finances. He is married and has two children. In his spare time, Dar enjoys, travel, golf, hunting, hiking, skiing and fishing. He joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation board to hold policy makers accountable, and to encourage the government to do less and not more.

Dar Symms

Dar Symms is the president and a co-owner of Symms Fruit Ranch, one of Idaho’s oldest and longest-operating fruit growers.He joined the family operation in 1994. Prior to that, he graduated from the University of Idaho’s law school in 1991, and worked at a Boise law firm. He is a member of the Idaho Bar Association. At Symms Fruit Ranch, Dar manages and oversees all packing, marketing to Latin America, human resources and finances. He is married and has two children. In his spare time, Dar enjoys, travel, golf, hunting, hiking, skiing and fishing. He joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation board to hold policy makers accountable, and to encourage the government to do less and not more.

Doyle Beck

Doyle Beck is a founder or major investor of several successful, Idaho-based business ventures. His business portfolio includes construction, finance, development, and manufacturing companies, with focuses that span civil engineering projects to financial management to innovative technology. Beck is also active in politics and civil society. He’s been a commissioner on the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Board for 14 years and serves as the board chair. In addition, Beck is an active pilot with over 10,000 hours airtime and experience flying a variety of aircraft. He regularly volunteers his time and aircraft to support search and rescue operations and with the Bonneville Sheriff’s Office. Beck is an active member and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A native of eastern Idaho, Doyle and his wife Elizabeth make their home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. They are the proud parents of four children and twenty-one grandchildren.

Doyle Beck

Doyle Beck is a founder or major investor of several successful, Idaho-based business ventures. His business portfolio includes construction, finance, development, and manufacturing companies, with focuses that span civil engineering projects to financial management to innovative technology. Beck is also active in politics and civil society. He’s been a commissioner on the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Board for 14 years and serves as the board chair. In addition, Beck is an active pilot with over 10,000 hours airtime and experience flying a variety of aircraft. He regularly volunteers his time and aircraft to support search and rescue operations and with the Bonneville Sheriff’s Office. Beck is an active member and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A native of eastern Idaho, Doyle and his wife Elizabeth make their home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. They are the proud parents of four children and twenty-one grandchildren.

Bob Tikker

Bob Tikker is a mechanical engineer and the president of Tikker Engineering in Boise. Bob grew up in Idaho and graduated from Meridian High School and the University of Idaho. At the turn of the century, Bob’s grandparents immigrated to the United States to escape an oppressive government. Bob and his family are now living the American dream and strongly support the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Freedom is a fundamental requirement of man’s mind. Capitalism is based upon this fundamental requirement of freedom where men voluntarily consent to trade their goods and services with one another without coercion by government or others. Capitalism reigns as the superior system of government both economically and morally. Bob and his wife Jen are the proud parents of five awesome children and enjoy the outdoor pursuits Idaho offers.

Bob Tikker

Bob Tikker is a mechanical engineer and the president of Tikker Engineering in Boise. Bob grew up in Idaho and graduated from Meridian High School and the University of Idaho. At the turn of the century, Bob’s grandparents immigrated to the United States to escape an oppressive government. Bob and his family are now living the American dream and strongly support the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Freedom is a fundamental requirement of man’s mind. Capitalism is based upon this fundamental requirement of freedom where men voluntarily consent to trade their goods and services with one another without coercion by government or others. Capitalism reigns as the superior system of government both economically and morally. Bob and his wife Jen are the proud parents of five awesome children and enjoy the outdoor pursuits Idaho offers.

Tina Deboer

Tina DeBoer is a local Realtor who wants to play a role in making sure Idaho continues to serve as a beacon of freedom and liberty for decades to come. Tina became passionate about the concept of laissez-faire since taking an American government class in high school. She has been an avid supporter of the Idaho Freedom Foundation and its goals to protect and educate Idaho citizens. Tina and her husband are both small business owners living in Nampa Idaho. Some of her hobbies include camping, riding her ATV and Harley, scuba diving, and singing.

Tina Deboer

Tina DeBoer is a local Realtor who wants to play a role in making sure Idaho continues to serve as a beacon of freedom and liberty for decades to come. Tina became passionate about the concept of laissez-faire since taking an American government class in high school. She has been an avid supporter of the Idaho Freedom Foundation and its goals to protect and educate Idaho citizens. Tina and her husband are both small business owners living in Nampa Idaho. Some of her hobbies include camping, riding her ATV and Harley, scuba diving, and singing.

Heather Lauer

Heather Lauer is the owner of Villageous LLC, a public affairs consultancy. She also leads People United for Privacy, an organization fighting to protect every American’s First Amendment right to support causes they believe in without fear of harassment and intimidation. Heather has worked on political campaigns at the national and state levels. She directed the Whip Operation at the 2004 Republican National Convention, oversaw voter contact programs for New York Governor George Pataki’s successful re-election campaign in 2002, and got her start in politics working on Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. Heather also played a key role in the launch of the Idaho Freedom Foundation in 2009. Heather is a graduate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Born and raised in Nampa, she currently divides her time between Washington, D.C. and Fairfield, Idaho.

Heather Lauer

Heather Lauer is the owner of Villageous LLC, a public affairs consultancy. She also leads People United for Privacy, an organization fighting to protect every American’s First Amendment right to support causes they believe in without fear of harassment and intimidation. Heather has worked on political campaigns at the national and state levels. She directed the Whip Operation at the 2004 Republican National Convention, oversaw voter contact programs for New York Governor George Pataki’s successful re-election campaign in 2002, and got her start in politics working on Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. Heather also played a key role in the launch of the Idaho Freedom Foundation in 2009. Heather is a graduate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Born and raised in Nampa, she currently divides her time between Washington, D.C. and Fairfield, Idaho.

RALPH SMEED LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS

2010: Ralph Smeed
2011: Maurice Clements
2012: Don Brandt
2013: Stan Hawkins
2014: Elizabeth Hodge
2015: Dan Symms
2016: Lenore Hardy Barrett
2017: Rachel Gilbert

MAURICE CLEMENTS LEGACY OF FREEDOM AWARD WINNERS

2016: Kathleen Sims
2017: Bryan Smith

FUN FACTS

  • IFF was originally going to be named The Gem State Institute.
  • IFF’s logo features the state raptor, the peregrine falcon. The letters “IFF” make up the raptor’s feathers.
  • An elongated bolo tie forms the line between the words “Idaho Freedom” and “Foundation.”

LEGAL STUFF

IFF's Internal Revenue Service's "determination letter" is found here.

Our income tax returns are available for 2018, 2019, and 2020.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation does not endorse candidates for elective office.

CAE in the News

HAVE A QUESTION?

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The Center for American Education works with state legislators, policymakers, and parents to promote transformational change to our state and national education system so that it best serves the families and students who utilize it. We conduct research on and advocate for policies that empower students and their families and prepare individuals to pursue academic truth, advance knowledge, and contribute to the growth of a strong moral order and prosperous society.
Idaho Freedom Foundation
802 W. Bannock Street, Suite 405, Boise, Idaho 83702
p 208.258.2280 e media@idahofreedom.org
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