Education

Marion Independent School District hires new superintendent

Assistant Superintendent Janelle Brouwer will lead 2,000-student district starting in July

Janelle Brouwer poses in the Marion Independent School District boardroom on May 29, 2019, before the school board unanimously approved her as the district’s superintendent, effective July 1. (Molly Duffy/The Gazette)
Janelle Brouwer poses in the Marion Independent School District boardroom on May 29, 2019, before the school board unanimously approved her as the district’s superintendent, effective July 1. (Molly Duffy/The Gazette)

MARION — Janelle Brouwer, assistant superintendent of the Marion Independent School District, will be superintendent of the 2,000-student district starting in July.

Brouwer, 44, has worked at the Marion district since 2016.

“I came here with my superintendent endorsement already, with this as a potential next step,” she said. “The culture of Marion is part of what drew me to it — people are really invested in Marion.”

Brouwer said she looks forward to continuing Marion schools’ community partnerships and collaboration in her new post. The school board approved Brower’s three-year contract unanimously at a Wednesday evening meeting, with an annual salary set at $160,000.

“We are thrilled, so thank you very much,” Board President Jill Hansen said to Brouwer after the vote. “We are so excited.”

As a leader, Brouwer said she is a collaborator focused on instructional leadership.

“We have diverse student needs,” she said. “And diverse community expectations.”

Next school year will be Brower’s 22nd in education. She previously worked as a special education coordinator for the Central Rivers Area Education Agency and as a principal in the Western Dubuque County Community School District.

She lives in Cascade with her husband and two teenage children who attend high school in the Western Dubuque Community School District. The family plans to continue living in Cascade, about a 45-minute drive to Marion, until they graduate.

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Brouwer’s credentials include a doctorate from the University of Iowa, a master’s from Idaho State University and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

Three superintendent candidates were interviewed by panels of parents, staff and administrators, Board President Hansen said, before the board made a final decision.

Brouwer replaces Chris Dyer, who has been Marion Independent’s superintendent since 2015. He applied for early retirement on March 11, according to board documents, which was approved by the board March 14.

Dyer did not attend Wednesday’s meeting and has not responded to multiple Gazette interview requests, but in a letter dated March 14 wrote that his experience as superintendent was “both professionally and personally rewarding.”

“I look forward to effectively transitioning the ongoing work ahead and planning a transition that will affect systemic activities in an organized manner that my departure will positively impact the future of the district,” he wrote.

Dyer followed Sarah Pinion, who led Marion schools for six years.

Brouwer said she hopes to hold her new role “as long as the opportunity presents.”

“I have no intention of this being in the short term,” she said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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