116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Art Sathoff, the recently retired superintendent of the Indianola Community School District, will be the interim superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District through June.
The school board on Wednesday evening approved his appointment, 6-1, with Dexter Merschbrock opposed. He did not explain why he voted no.
“It’s pretty devastating for the entire board to be in a situation where we need to name an interim superintendent,“ school board President David Tominsky said. ”It takes a special person to be able to step in to an interim role, especially in what’s happening here in Cedar Rapids.“
Former Superintendent Noreen Bush, 51, died Sunday. She was diagnosed with cancer more than two years ago.
“The loss feels so big and heavy because we’re all so lucky to have had Noreen in our lives and as our leader,” Tominsky said. “That is something to celebrate.”
Bush went on family medical leave in September. The school board approved her resignation last month, effective June 30, setting in motion a superintendent search process.
Sathoff said in a statement that he was “honored and humbled to be trusted to serve Cedar Rapids Community District, especially after the loss of Noreen Bush. I plan to work hard and be supportive of the students and staff during this time of transition.”
The board last week selected an Illinois firm — Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates — to identify candidates to become the next superintendent of the state’s second largest school district, possibly as early as January.
Sathoff’s contract is expected to run from Nov. 1 to June 30. Details of the contract will be finalized during a school board meeting Nov. 14, Tominsky said. The Gazette was told to file a public records request to learn Sathoff’s salary.
Tominsky said Sathoff was "highly recommended“ by Roark Horn, former executive director of the School Administrators of Iowa. The process was a ”quick turnaround,“ he said.
Sathoff retired in June, and in September, 85 percent of Indianola voters approved a $70 million bond referendum to pay for facility needs at the high school.
“He’s successfully worked with communities to get a bond vote to pass,” Tominsky said. “That type of experience I think is hard to come by.”
The Cedar Rapids Community School District is planning to ask voters, possibly next year, to approve a $312 million general obligation bond issue to pay for renovations, additions and improvements at the district’s middle schools and four high schools over the next seven to 10 years. The bonds also would pay for a new 1,200-student middle school, reducing the number of middle schools in the district from six to four, and for a new aquatic center.
Sathoff “has a great reputation of being a compassionate, empathetic leader,” Tominsky said. “I think Cedar Rapids will be happy when they get a chance to meet Art.”
Before joining the Indianola school district in 2014, Sathoff was superintendent of the Fairfield Community School District and an English teacher, coach and principal of the middle school and high school at Pekin Community School District.
Sathoff also is a part-time associate pastor at Indianola Church of Christ.
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