FD school district continues to fill positions

Re-staffing continues in the Fort Dodge Community School District.

Jerry Brown was approved July 8 by the FDCSD board as the new Butler Elementary principal.

Brown has served the Cedar Falls school district as early childhood director for the last three years. He previously served as elementary principal at Howard Winneshiek Community School District for seven years, as K-8 principal in Jesup for three years and K-6 principal in Lanesboro, Minn., for two years.

“(He) comes in with a lot of experience. We’re very fortunate to have him,” Robert Hughes, FDCSD assistant superintendent, said. “He was first interested in Feelhaver (Elementary), but now he’s in that full principalship at Butler.”

Brown formally begins July 24.

Meanwhile, the district is completing the last of its hires. This includes the Feelhaver administrative assistant.

“We interviewed this last weekend, Friday, for Feelhaver principal,” Hughes said Monday. “That is an assistant principal role, in which they will have a mentor administrator, which will be Bruce Hartley. He will be at Cooper (Elementary) still, but he will assist in the transition for that new principal at Feelhaver.”

The position will be filled this week, Hughes said, while candidates are still sought for other areas.

“We are seeking a couple of hard-to-fill positions,” Hughes said. “There’s a half-time Spanish position and a half-time elementary vocal music position. We would love to be able to find good solid candidates for those positions.”

The three positions are the last needing to be filled, Hughes said.

“Otherwise, last week we interviewed for reading specialist, a Title I teacher, and we are in the process of checking references,” he said. “We have our top candidates we’d like to offer the position to.”

Five special education instructors were approved by the FDCSD board on July 8.

“Special education is a hard to fill position,” Hughes said. “When we’ve had different individuals leave us, we’ve had to advertise multiple times for those positions.”

Each building in the district only has one or two special education instructors.

“Cooper, as an example, does not have a full teacher, but they have some paraeducators for special education,” Hughes said. “Duncombe had the need for one special ed teacher.”

At Riverside Early Learning Center, services for special needs students are being expanded.

“We have a number of kids who come in as preschoolers who have special needs,” Hughes said. “We did increase a level-2 special education position there so those kids can stay in place and receive the benefits right at Riverside.”

Thought he 2013-14 year is nearing, Hughes said he is not feeling the heat.

“It’s a beautiful summer,” he said. “We think things are going very well. We believe we’ll have everything well in place come the beginning of August. We’re just securing our last few positions. We believe we’re putting the best individuals in the best positions possible so we can serve our kids as well as can be expected. And actually above and beyond that.”