Van Zyl is Cedar Falls finalist

Doug Van Zyl, superintendent of the Fort Dodge Community School District, is one of four finalists for the post of superintendent of the Cedar Falls Community School District.

According to the Cedar Falls Community School District website, also vying for the position are:

Andy Pattee, superintendent of the Charles City Community School District;

Thomas Van Soelen, associate superintendent, City Schools of Decatur, Decatur, Ga.; and

Rich Powers, principal at Cedar Falls High School.

All four candidates hold doctorate degrees.

A phone message left with Van Zyl was not immediately returned Saturday.

Stu Cochrane, president of the FDCSD board of education, said Van Zyl notified the board of his intentions before he applied for the position about four weeks ago.

If Van Zyl gets the Cedar Falls job, the local school board would have to scramble to find a replacement.

“If he’s hired, we would have to put a game plan together quickly,” Cochrane said.

Until then, Cochrane is confident that current Assistant Superintendent Rob Hughes could handle the day-to-day operations of the district.

“We do have the luxury of having an assistant that’s very capable,” Cochrane said.

He also said he was not surprised about the application. Cochrane said Van Zyl has family in the Cedar Falls area and that he was interested in eventually relocating to the area.

Interviews are scheduled to be held Monday through Thursday. The board intends to make its selection by late May, with the new superintendent assuming duties on July 1, according to the website.

Van Zyl holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and physical education from Northwestern College in Orange City, and a master’s degree in educational administration from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas. He completed his doctorate in 2011 at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

Prior to coming to Fort Dodge, Van Zyl had served the Harrisonville Community Schools for the five years, three of those as superintendent. Prior to being named superintendent at Harrisonville, Van Zyl was the district’s assistant superintendent. He has also been a teacher and assistant principal in Texas and an assistant principal at Independence, Mo.

Van Zyl has served as Fort Dodge superintendent since fall 2010. He replaced Linda Brock, who resigned as superintendent in May of that year.