116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
OXFORD — Ever since Dr. Corey Seymour was in second grade, when a teacher showed she believed in him, he knew he wanted to be an educator to provide a sense of belonging for students and help them enjoy learning.
Seymour, 52, the new superintendent of the Clear Creek Amana Community School District, is looking forward to helping students find their “ah-ah” moment that could lead to a career someday.
Clear Creek Amana wasn’t the only school district trying to recruit Seymour to come on as superintendent. He sat down with his wife and four children to make a decision as a family.
“One thing I wanted was a safe environment for my kids — that was important to me,” Seymour said. “Another thing I wanted was to be in a good, strong education system.”
“Out of the blue” Seymour’s son Adam, 11, said he wanted to go somewhere where there’s snow on Christmas, Seymour said. Adam told his dad that he had “always wanted to live in a place” where he could experience snow, Seymour said.
When Seymour and his wife visited Clear Creek Amana for a recruiting visit, it was midwinter and minus 10 degrees outside.
Winter in Iowa is something he’s going to have to get ready for, Seymour said. He’s been advised to buy a snowplow, snow shovels, snow tires for his car and how to dress for winter.
Before accepting the position, Seymour, a Black man, met with the school board to ask them if they were ready “for someone who looks like me, talks like me and acts like me,” he said.
“They’ve never had an African American superintendent,” Seymour said. “For me to ask them bluntly and for them to say, ‘We still want this person … You’re the best candidate for the job.’ To me, that was powerful.”
Over the next decade, the about 2,800-student district is expected to grow by an additional 4,000 students, Seymour said.
During Seymour’s 29 years as an educator, he has worked in schools to improve equity and cultural proficiency, college and career readiness, develop school leaders and close achievement gaps.
The district created a new position last year for a diversity, equity, inclusion and culture director — Angelica Brothers — who is working to develop and implement programs, initiatives and training to support equity, inclusion and diversity in to the district.
Seymour said this is a “great start.” He hopes to continue to support that work by creating — with Brothers and the school board — a definition of equity for the school district with a common understanding and stated goals.
To continue equity work in the district, Seymour wants officials to take a look at data and try to close opportunity gaps and remove disproportionate discipline.
Previously, Seymour was executive director of leadership at Ector County Independent School District in Texas. Before that, he was superintendent of Santa Gertrudis Independent School District, also in Texas.
In his various roles, Seymour worked to partner with local universities, colleges and businesses to create ways for students to explore careers — and even graduate with certifications to be able to go in to that career after graduating high school.
He hopes to do something similar at Clear Creek Amana — learning about where there are workforce shortages and preparing students to go in to those careers someday.
He wants to see students get more assistance with college or postsecondary education applications, applying for financial aid and scholarships.
Seymour also wants to “prepare students for jobs that have yet to be created,” he said.
Seymour, who moved to Iowa from Texas with his family less than two months ago, said students and staff will “probably get tired of seeing me.” He plans to visit the district’s seven schools weekly to listen and learn about what they want to see in their schools.
“I want our staff, when they get up in the morning, to be happy to be driving to their job and enjoy the work,” Seymour said. ”That’s what I want for every person who works here. And I want every parent to be glad their kid is in our district.“
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