Education

Brad Buck leaving Cedar Rapids Schools for Waukee superintendent job

Superintendent closes four-year stint with district

(File photo) Brad Buck, Superintendent, talks during a Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Education meeting at the Educational Leadership and Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
(File photo) Brad Buck, Superintendent, talks during a Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Education meeting at the Educational Leadership and Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Brad Buck, superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District, plans to leave the district at the end of this school year for the superintendent position at Waukee Community School District.

“This decision, while fueled by an enthusiasm for the work ahead and the proximity to my oldest children which this position offers, is certainly bittersweet,” he told staff in an email Monday morning. “I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with you on a vision and strategic plan that I wholly believe is right and good for the students of the Cedar Rapids Community School District.”

Buck was hired as Cedar Rapids Schools’ superintendent in 2015. His annual salary was $253,000 for the 2017-18 school year, according to public records.

In his four years with Cedar Rapids schools, Buck has championed the district’s “Every Learner: Future Ready” mission, which has included a push to revamp or close many of its elementary schools, grow several magnet school programs and introduce one-to-one technology for secondary students.

“I’m heartened by the progress made in the last four years and am equally confident that the growth and progress we’ve begun together will only continue,” Buck said in his email.

The Cedar Rapids native and Jefferson High School graduate previously worked at the Waukee Community School District as an associate and assistant superintendent for five years, according to the School Superintendents Association.

Before joining the Cedar Rapids district, Buck was director of the Iowa Department of Education from 2013 to 2015 under then-Gov. Terry Branstad and formerly was superintendent of Saydel Community School District in Des Moines.

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His predecessor in Cedar Rapids, Dave Benson, held the role for six years. When Buck was hired, he told The Gazette he planned to keep the position for at least a decade.

The Waukee school board approved a three-year contract for Buck in a special meeting Monday night. He’ll be paid $260,000 per year and his first day in his new role will be July 1.

In a statement from the Waukee Community School District, Buck said he “return(s) eager to engage with and sustain the exciting efforts underway, including the opening of Waukee’s second high school.”

The Cedar Rapids School Board, which oversees hiring of the district’s superintendent, has two months to fill Buck’s role. The board Monday announced a special board meeting for noon Friday. An agenda has not yet been published.

“The board of directors is committed to sustaining the work accomplished thus far through the five-year strategic plan, stewarded by Dr. Buck,” Board President Nancy Humbles said in a statement Monday. “We also commit to a succession plan and Superintendent search in a manner which ensures a smooth transition for our staff, students, and families.”

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

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