MARION — Linn-Mar Superintendent Katie Mulholland will retire next year after leading one of the state’s fastest-growing school districts for more than a decade.
Mulholland, 66, filed a formal retirement request at Monday night’s school board meeting with Linn-Mar Board Vice President Tina Patterson.
Upon her planned retirement on June 30, 2015, Mulholland will have spent 12 years at Linn-Mar and a total of 40 years as an educator.
Mulholland told The Gazette she planned to continue in volunteer leadership roles with the state Board of Regents and the United Way of East Cental Iowa, and might take on additional educational ventures.
“However, I am really, really looking forward to spending more time with my seven grandchildren,” she said.
Mulholland, who was hired in large part to deal with residential growth in Marion and northeast Cedar Rapids, came to Linn-Mar in 2003. Since then, the district’s enrollment has increased from 5,413 to 6,943 students. The district, which had 681 employees in 2003, now employs 984.
“We are lucky to have had her,” Patterson said after the meeting. “I think our district’s growth paired with Katie’s ability has moved us forward and turned us into a true professional learning community.”
Board members indicated they would be looking for a search firm to help find Mulholland’s replacement. Her annual salary is $200,850.
Also Monday night, Linn-Mar school board members voted to finance a major renovation project at Linn-Mar High School via the sale of up to $30 million in bonds.
Board members who researched several financing options indicated that methold would cost the district less in total interest and would not increase Linn-Mar’s property tax rate.
The project is in the design phase with bid-ready documents expected late this year from DLR Group of Des Moines, which has been discussing high school needs with various groups.
The tentative completion date for the project is August 2016.
Eric Beron, a principal architect at DLR, updated the board Monday with possible floor plans and exterior views showing how the renovated school might look.
Beron and Dirk Halupnik, Linn-Mar’s deputy superintendent, stressed that the project’s primary strategy is not simply to add classrooms, but to repurpose space and add features that would enhance the facility’s ability to serve as a 21st Century learning center.
Proposed features include two new “main entrances” with slightly different purposes, a collegiate-style lecture hall, a student store and a center where students could meet with career or college representatives.