K-12 Education

Branstad names Wise new Iowa Department of Education director

Current director Buck steps down to become superintendent in Cedar Rapids

DES MOINES — The man second-in-charge of the Iowa Department of Education was promoted Tuesday to replace former director Brad Buck, who becomes superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District.

Gov. Terry Branstad announced the promotion of Ryan Wise, 39, subject to state Senate confirmation.

Wise has been the department’s deputy director since September 2013 and will take over the position Wednesday. Buck’s contract in Cedar Rapids also starts Wednesday.

During his time as deputy director, Wise led development of the teacher leadership and compensation system — or TLC — to promote collaboration among teachers and offer higher pay and leadership opportunities. His role included implementing the application and selection process of schools for the program, developing support systems and leading the Commission on Educator Leadership and Compensation, according to a news release.

“I am now eager to accept a new challenge of leading the Iowa Department of Education at this critical juncture when we continue putting in place the transformational education reforms signed by Governor Branstad in 2013,” Wise said is a statement.

Among other roles, Wise was a liaison between the department and the Iowa State Education Board and the administrator for the Department of Education’s division of policy and communications.

Branstad said that Wise showed “exceptional leadership” in his role with TLC and he is confident Wise will lead the department in the “right direction,” according to a statement.

Before working at the education department, Wise served as managing director for growth strategy and development for Teach for All and as executive director of Teach for America in South Dakota. He began his career as a history teacher in Nebraska and Mississippi.

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Wise received an undergraduate degree from Creighton University before earning a master’s in public administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He also earned a doctorate of education leadership at Harvard University.

l Comments: (319) 398-5872; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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