Cedar Rapids school administrators to shuffle positions

Principals set to start in July

The Educational Leadership and Support Center for the Cedar Rapids Community School District at 2500 Edgewood Road NW. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The Educational Leadership and Support Center for the Cedar Rapids Community School District at 2500 Edgewood Road NW. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Eight Cedar Rapids Community School District schools will welcome new principals or associate principals July 1:

l Van Buren Elementary School Principal Cindy Stock will become Grant Wood Elementary School’s principal.

l Kent Ryan, principal at Fillmore Elementary School in the Davenport Community School District, will replace Stock at Van Buren.

l Jackson Elementary School Principal Carla Davidson will replace retiring Principal Becky DeWald at Pierce Elementary School.

l Grant Wood Elementary School Principal Ellen Daye-Williams will take Davidson’s place at Jackson.

l Wilson Middle School Associate Principal Adam Hanrahan will take over for retiring Harding Middle School Associate Principal Randy Noecker.

l McKinley Middle School Dean of Students Nikki Rowland will replace Hanrahan at Wilson. Information from the district states that the vacancy she leaves will not be filled.

l Metro High School Principal David Brown will become an associate principal at Roosevelt Middle School.

l Carlos Grant, academic director of the York Preparatory Academy in Rock Hill, S.C., will replace Brown at Metro. The school board approved hiring Grant, the most recent building administrative addition, during its May 12 regular meeting.

In addition, Monica Frey will take over as Grant Elementary School’s principal one year after assuming the role of the building’s interim principal.

“Often when we get retirements or get an opening, we have administrators who say, ‘I’m ready for a change,’” said Val Dolezal, executive director of prekindergarten through grade eight for the district, who was Grant Elementary’s principal before Frey. “That’s not uncommon and that’s what happened.”

“It’s kind of like dominoes,” added Deputy Superintendent Mary Ellen Maske. “It just opens the door to those opportunities for people to change in their positions but not really change that much. They’re still a principal, but when you’re in a different building you have those different challenges.”

Maske said that because Cedar Rapids schools vary demographically — some are very racially or socioeconomically diverse, others have large numbers of English Language Learners or additional special education programming, for example — moving between buildings provides chances for administrators to play to their strengths.

These hires in some cases reflect the schools’ unique situations. Dolezal said that Rowland’s position at McKinley will not be filled because three administrators are unnecessary there. On the other hand, Brown will go to Roosevelt because the school, one of the district’s “persistently-lowest achievement” buildings, needs more administrative help. He also will assist the school’s adults as they launch the Roosevelt Option program, in which 90 eighth-graders do project-based learning, this fall.

Dolezal said almost all of the new administrators have attended parent events or meetings in their new schools and that families will receive letters about the new faces in July.

“I would say at the elementary level it feels high but it’s really one person who left so it caused a domino effect,” Dolezal said about the number of building administrator transitions this year. “It’s four, which seems like more than in the past, but it’s really only one new administrator to the pack.”

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