Council Bluffs taps local and outside talent for administrative positions | Education

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The Council Bluffs Community School District has brought together outside and local talent to fill a dozen administrative positions for the 2022-23 school year, including a new position added to secondary schools in the district.

The district is creating an additional vice-principal position at each of the three schools — Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson High Schools and Wilson Middle School, communications director Diane Ostrowski said Tuesday.

However, two of these additions are offset by reductions in other areas, and the third is funded by a federal grant.

Teachers, classroom strategists and an instructional technology coach will join the ranks of experienced administrators from inside and outside the district to lead the schools in the coming year. Here are the appointments announced since the spring.

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Crescent ElementaryDevin Schoening accepted the position of new principal of Crescent Elementary School. Since 2020, he has served as the K-12 Virtual Academy Coordinator and has been integrated into Crescent as the host site for the district’s Virtual Academy Elementary Program. Since 2010, he has been an instructional technology coach and district-wide continuous learning specialist. He has also been a teacher and varsity athletic coach with the Council Bluffs Community School District since 2002. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Creighton University.

Franklin Elementary SchoolFormer Principal of Omaha Public Schools Charla Johnson joined Council Bluffs Schools as the new Principal of Franklin Elementary School. She replaces Jerri Larsen, who will be vice-principal at Wilson Middle School. Johnson has been an elementary school principal since 2010. Prior to that, she was a vice principal and educational facilitator. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from UNO, as well as her administrative honors and an ELL honors from Concordia University.

Lewis and Clark Elementary SchoolFormer Rue Elementary School first grade teacher and class strategist Janelle Valla will be the new principal of Lewis & Clark Elementary School. She will succeed JoAnna Letz, who will serve as Wilson’s manager. She has been with the district and Rue since 2013, adding class strategist to her role in 2017. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with honors in reading and language arts from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in educational leadership with honors in UN administration.

Wilson’s former assistant manager Zach Pope is the new principal of Roosevelt Elementary School. He replaces Brett Abbotts, who has taken a new position in another school district in Iowa. He has worked at Wilson for three years and served as the lead teacher for the district’s summer program. He taught special education at Thomas Jefferson High School. Pope received his bachelor’s degree from UNO and holds a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a master’s degree in special education from Morningside College.

Former Edison Elementary School first grade teacher Courtney Cronk is the new director of Rue. She succeeds Casey Moran, who is now the assistant director of special education for the district. Cronk has been a teacher in the district and at Edison since 2014, teaching first in preschool and then in first grade, while serving in leadership capacity building at the district level. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, as well as instructional leadership, from Doane University.

Former director of Lewis & Clark JoAnna Letz accepted an offer to be the new principal of Wilson Middle School. Letz will be familiar to many Wilson families, as she served as Wilson’s Vice-Principal from 2016-2018 and Thomas Jefferson’s Vice-Principal from 2018-2021. She has worked at Council Bluffs Schools since 1997. She has a BA in elementary education from the University of Buena Vista and a master’s degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa.

jerri larson has been a principal since 2004, serving Gunn, Crescent, Walnut Grove and Franklin, and also served as vice-principal at Kirn Middle School. Larson is now an assistant manager at Wilson.

Former Abraham Lincoln High School social studies teacher and classroom strategist James Larsen is now assistant manager at Wilson. He will replace Zach Pope, who will be Roosevelt’s principal. He has been with the Abraham Lincoln District since 2008, serving as a teacher, instructional coach, and school assessment coordinator. He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Buena Vista University, a master’s degree in education from Morningside College, and a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Northwest Missouri State University.

Former Mathematics Coach Cristi Midkiff at Rue Elementary is now an assistant principal at Wilson. She will replace Alison Kennedy, who is leaving the region. Midkiff has been with Council Bluffs Schools since 2009, first as a teacher, then as a full-time instructional coach beginning in 2014. She previously taught at Omaha Public Schools. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Buena Vista and her Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from Doane College and has an English Language Learner endorsement.

Thomas Jefferson High School

Wilson’s former manager Michael Naughton is the new director of Thomas Jefferson. He has been with the district since 2000, taught elementary and middle school and served as assistant principal at Wilson and principal at Edison before becoming principal at Wilson in 2019. He holds a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the UN education. .

Former English teacher Thomas Jefferson Samantha Schreier is now an assistant director at TJ. She replaces Kourney Abbotts, who has accepted a position in another school district in Iowa. Schreier has worked for Council Bluffs at Thomas Jefferson since 2013, as a classroom strategist and teacher. She earned her BA in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska, her MA in English from the UN, and her Instructional Leadership Specialist from Northwest Missouri State.

John Schultz will serve as assistant director of academics to Thomas Jefferson — a position that will be funded entirely by federal Title I funding, Ostrowski said. He has been a secondary education administrator since 2012 in Nebraska and Iowa, serving as principal of Gross Catholic High School and Sidney Community Schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and business education from Iowa State and UNO, respectively, as well as a master’s degree in secondary education and a certificate in business administration from the UNO.

chris king joins the district as assistant director to Thomas Jefferson. He most recently served as Director of Student Services at East Union Community Schools in Afton. He has taught in other school districts and colleges in Iowa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Northwest Missouri State, a master’s degree in health, physical education and recreation from Emporia State University, and is pursuing a doctorate in administration, leadership and technology from William Howard Taft University.

Abraham Lincoln High School

Former Trustee of Heartland Therapeutic School and Children’s Square University Center Tanya Windham will serve as assistant manager to Abraham Lincoln. The district does not have responsibility for the trustee position at the therapeutic school this year, as the students transferred to a Heartland family service program in Omaha. She has served as a Trustee of Council Bluffs Schools since 2013, serving as Deputy Principal to Thomas Jefferson until assuming her current role in 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Education from UNK, a Masters de Doane and an Educational Administration Certificate from Chadron State College.

These are in addition to several administrative changes announced this spring, including the following:

Tracy Mathews, former director of schools for preschool-5, has been promoted to director of studies, replacing Corey Vorthmann, who has retired but still helps oversee preschool.

Mark Schuldt, former Head of Schools for K-8, will focus on K-5 this year.

Melissa Comine, former Acting Principal of High Schools, is now Principal of Schools 6-12.

Casey Moran, former principal of Rue Elementary, is now assistant director of special education.

Luke Peterson, former activity director and physical education teacher at Kirn Middle School, is now activity director and assistant director at Thomas Jefferson.

John Crall, a former special education teacher and mentor leader at Ames High School, is a new vice principal at Abraham Lincoln.

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