IASB hires interim leader

The Iowa Association of School Board has hired an interim director to lead the group through the end of the year.  Read the news release and Veronica Stalker’s bio below.  She’ll be paid a six-figure salary.

IASB Hires Interim Executive Director
Des Moines, IA (May 3, 2010) – The Iowa Association of School Boards’ Board of Directors has hired Dr. Veronica Stalker, a highly respected retired superintendent, as interim executive director. She has agreed to lead the organization from May 1 through December 31, 2010.

“This is a huge step forward for us,” said Harry Heiligenthal, IASB leadership development director who has served as temporary interim director for the past two months. “I was proud to step in to help the organization I care so deeply about, and I’ll continue doing all I can to ensure a smooth transition. It’s critical that our staff, myself included, continue our services to districts to share lessons learned and help keep schools strong. We have hundreds of local school boards in this state who do incredible work, and they also need support and resources.”

When the board became aware of the financial and management issues earlier this year that led to the termination of IASB’s executive director, Maxine Kilcrease, it moved quickly to assemble a leadership transition plan. The IASB board also recognized that it was imperative to identify and hire a long-term interim director who could lead the organization through this period, so that Heiligenthal could return to his work.

The majority of the board interviewed four candidates on April 19. Stalker emerged as the top candidate when board members discussed and ranked their choices. Marcia DeZonia, an IASB board member who also serves on the Gilbert School Board, led the search. DeZonia said the board was impressed with Stalker because she has worked in several different K-12 school districts of all sizes, and has experience navigating challenging situations. “I’ve heard from several trusted people that she has high integrity, excellent work ethic, and has very effective interpersonal skills,” DeZonia said.

“This is a chance for me to take my skill set and experience from 30-plus years in the education field and apply it here,” Stalker said. “IASB is an excellent organization. I feel privileged and am enthusiastic about working with member districts, staff and the board to focus on our core mission, strengthen the financial health of the organization and return the confidence people have always had in IASB.”

The board approved her contract last week during a telephonic meeting. Four members abstained, including board president Russ Wiesley who did so because he has worked with Stalker at Waukee schools. He has emphasized that he was not part of the subcommittee’s work in selecting candidates, but that he does support the rest of the board’s decision to hire her, calling her “a strong and vibrant leader.” Over the next eight months, Stalker will be paid $131,212 in salary; she has also requested pay in lieu of health insurance, which will add an additional $11,646 to her overall salary and benefit package.

Veronica Waterman Stalker
IASB Interim Executive Director

Dr. Veronica Stalker has been selected as interim executive director of the Iowa Association of School Boards. She will lead the organization from May 1 to Dec. 31, 2010.

Before taking this position, Stalker was the co-director of the Waukee Schools Department of Community Education, a position she has held since 2008 when she began to research, develop and implement the new department. Prior to that, she served as interim superintendent of Ankeny Schools, during a period when confidence and trust in the district was low. She brought diverse groups together to redefine the values and core mission of the district, rebuilt trust and a sense of pride in the school district, resulting in the passage of the largest bond issue ever voted in Iowa.

From 2005 to 2007, Stalker taught principal and superintendent preparation classes as a clinical professor for Iowa State University and coordinated the educational administration program area.

She spent 11 years, from 1994 to 2005, as superintendent of Waukee Schools, which more than tripled in size during that time. She was associate superintendent of Urbandale Schools from 1990 to 1994, was an elementary principal in Ankeny Schools from 1987 to 1990, an elementary principal in Clarke Schools from 1981 to 1987 and was an elementary teacher there from 1976 to 1981.

Stalker has a comprehensive understanding of Iowa’s education system. She has served as president of the School Administrators of Iowa, has been chairperson of the AEA 11 Superintendents Organization, served on the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, and served on the board of the Iowa Schools Joint Investment Trust for IASB. Stalker holds a PhD in educational administration from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Drake University and two bachelor’s degrees – one in elementary education from Graceland College and one in home economics from Iowa State University.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.