An interim superintendent for the Fort Dodge Community School District was appointed.
dr Denise Schares, an associate professor at the University of Northern Iowa, will lead schools at Fort Dodge effective July 1.
In late April, current Superintendent Derrick Joel announced his resignation to the Board of Education. Joel, who started the district on July 1, 2021, is leaving to become the assistant superintendent of the Norris School District outside of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Schares was selected by the education council after being questioned by the board on Wednesday night.
“We were very impressed with the strength of our candidate pool in terms of wealth of experience and passion for education,” said School Board President Stu Cochrane. “We thought Dr. Schares embodies the passion for education we were looking for and she had exceptional academic credentials which we believe made a great leader to advance our district.”
Schares has more than 40 years of experience in public education. She started out as a part-time home economics and health teacher in several school districts in eastern Iowa in the 1980s.
Until 1994 she was Director of Educational Services for Union and Hudson Schools in La Porte City and Hudson. Schares served as the Director of Professional Development and Assistant Superintendent of the Waterloo Community School District from 2006 to 2010. In 2010 she became Superintendent of the Clear Creek Amana Community School District in Oxford.
Since 2013, Schares has been an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at UNI. Also at UNI, she serves as Director of the Institute for Educational Leadership, Coordinator for the Superintendent Program and is a member of the Graduate Faculty.
Schares received her bachelor’s degree in home economics education from Iowa State University in 1978. She then earned her Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from UNI in 1986 and 1994.
“I am excited to join the Fort Dodge team and look forward to meeting the community, staff and students.” said Schares.
Schares will be hired on a one-year contract as an interim superintendent, Cochrane said. In the winter, the board will consider hiring a permanent superintendent for the district, although he said if Schares is the right person to fill, the board could consider extending her contract beyond the interim year.
Three other outside candidates were interviewed by the Education Council on Wednesday.
These candidates were Bob Olson, a former Superintendent of the Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Community School District; Jon Thompson, former Superintendent at Aplington-Parkersburg and current Superintendent at Minnesota; and Corey Lunn, a former Johnson Community School District superintendent.