CEDAR RAPIDS — John Speer, the superintendent of College Community School District, will be the next chief administrator at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency.
Speer has accepted a contract with the agency, agency board members said at a Wednesday meeting. He is set to start at the AEA on July 1 and will be paid an annual salary of $235,000.
College Community School District will immediately begin a superintendent search, College Community school board President Randy Bauer said in district news release. Speer will leave the district of about 6,200 students after six years as its superintendent.
Other finalists for the position were Iowa City Community School District Superintendent Stephen Murley and Susan Meade, the superintendent of Winterset Community School District near Des Moines.
“One of John’s biggest positives was his emphasis on relationships,” board President Jim Green said, noting he was also impressed by Speer’s experience advocating at the state legislature. “ … I’ve seen John in action and how he does a really good job with that. He’s not bashful at all, he speaks up for his school district and his kids.”
Speer takes the helm of the agency as Iowa’s nine area education agencies begin a five-year process to consolidate to seven agencies, Green said.
The Grant Wood AEA provides services to about 74,000 students in a seven-county area that includes the College Community School District.
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“We wanted someone to fit in this agency, and each AEA is unique,” Green said. “ … The culture here is really important to this agency, and we just felt like John would best fit that culture and that model that we don’t want to change.”
In a school district statement, Speer said he is looking forward to joining the agency while still serving the College Community district.
“The opportunity to lead the most progressive AEA in the state and still be a part of the Prairie family as a parent and community member was something I could not pass up,” Speer said in a statement. “My new role will still allow me to serve the students and staff at College Community but in a different capacity.”
The agency’s chief administrator Joe Crozier is set to retire in June.
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