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Archive for June, 2014

New Roles for Leaders in Education

There will be familiar faces in new positions at the West Des Moines Community Schools this upcoming school year as several principals and administrators take on new roles.


Tim Miller HeadshotTim Miller to Be New Valley High School Principal

Tim Miller will be the new principal of Valley High School.

“Tim is an extraordinary leader,” Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy said. “He is well respected, knowledgeable and a proven leader.  I am very excited to have him serve as the next principal of Valley High School.”

Miller previously served as principal of Stilwell Junior High in the West Des Moines Community School District and has served in this role since July 1999. He began his career in education 1976 as a special education teacher at Cedar Rapids Prairie Junior High. He taught special education at Waterloo Columbus High School from 1978-1983, at Waterloo East High School from 1983-1986 and Des Moines Lincoln High School from 1986-1992. He served as vice principal of Des Moines Brody Middle School from 1998-1999. He has also been a head varsity coach in baseball and football and served as athletic director at Des Moines Lincoln High School.

While at West Des Moines Community Schools, Miller has been part of several key and sustaining initiatives. He was involved in the development of the district’s Essentials of Effective Instruction (EEI), which provides teachers a framework for effective instructional practices. In addition, he has been involved in the district’s professional development committee.

Miller received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Luther College, his master’s degree in special education from the University of Iowa and his secondary school administrator certification from Drake University.

Previous Valley High School Principal Jim Mollison announced his resignation on April 24 to pursue a career opportunity in real estate.


BoyleE_1Eric Boyle to be Stilwell Junior High Principal

Eric Boyle will serve as Stilwell Junior High.

Boyle previously served as as assistant principal and activities director at Stilwell. He began his career in 1999 as a special education teacher at Valley Southwoods and then transitioned to Valley High School as a special needs teacher. In 2008, he became a behavior interventionist at Valley. In 2011, he served as associate principal/team leader at Valley Southwoods, a position he held until coming to Stilwell in July 2013.

He received his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s degree in education from Drake University.

During his career in the West Des Moines Community Schools, Boyle has served on several district committees. He has served on the district Board policy committee and the bullying prevention committee. He participated in negotiations with West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel and serves on the DINA transition committees and the special education delivery service committee.


piercebPierce to be Fairmeadows Principal

Brandon Pierce will be the next principal of Fairmeadows Elementary.

Pierce previously served as the principal of Clive Elementary in the West Des Moines Community School District and has served in this role since 2006.

He began his career in education in 2000 teaching fourth and fifth grades at Howe Elementary in Des Moines. While at Howe, he also served as assessment specialist and literacy leader. In 2003, he became assistant principal of Howe. In 2004, he was assistant principal at Pleasant Hill Elementary. He joined the West Des Moines Community School District in 2005, serving as assistant principal at both Westridge Elementary and Jordan Creek Elementary. While in the district, Pierce has also been involved in the district’s Teacher Quality, Professional Development, Preschool Advisory, Professional Development Advisory and School Community Network committees.

Pierce received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa and his master’s degree in educational administration from Iowa State University.


boydaDrea Bocook to Serve as Principal of Clive Elementary

Drea Bocook will be the next principal of Clive Elementary.

Bocook has served in the WDMCS as the principal of Phenix Elementary since 2007 and Phenix/Hillside Elementary since 2011.  She began teaching elementary students in the Des Moines Public Schools in 2002.  She taught Reading Recovery and served as assistant principal at Park Avenue Elementary School from 2004 to 2006 before serving as assistant principal at Walnut Street School in Des Moines from 2006 to 2007.  While in the WDMCS, Bocook has been involved with the district at-risk, Title I, preschool advisory and administrative professional development committees.

Bocook received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Grandview College, master of education degree from Graceland University and principal certification from Vitterbo.


sinramzSinram Named Assistant Principal of Indian Hills

Zac Sinram has been named assistant principal at Indian Hills. He served in the position this year on an interim basis after previous associate principal Kerry Ketcham was hired as interim special education director.

Sinram received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 2006 in history and social studies and his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Iowa in 2012. He began teaching at Valley Southwoods as a special education teacher in 2006 and then moved to teaching social studies at VSW in 2008. Sinram has also been involved in both building- and district-level professional development work, including serving as an Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) anchor and serving on the Professional Learning Communities committee. He has also participated in principles training through the West Des Moines Police Department’s Youth Justice Initiative (YJI).


SeidCSeid Serves as Associate Superintendent of HR

Carol Seid will be associate superintendent of human resources. Seid has served in the position on an interim basis this school year after Dr. Lisa Remy was appointed interim superintendent and then hired as superintendent.

Seid served as principal of Fairmeadows Elementary since 2006. She started her career in education in 1987 as an elementary special education teacher in the Des Moines Public School District. She later became an elementary vice principal in the Des Moines district in 2001 and a principal in 2002.

Seid has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, master’s degree in special education and is currently working on her doctorate in educational leadership. She recently received the Drake University School of Education Outstanding Alumni Award.


KetchamkKetcham Named Director of Special Education

Kerry Ketcham will serve as director of special education. He served as interim director this year after previous director Angie Calhoun took a job at Heartland Area Education Agency.

Ketcham had been associate principal/activities director at Indian Hills Junior High, a position he held since 2006. He started his career in education in 1985 as a secondary social studies teacher in the Des Moines Public School District. He became a dean of students in the Des Moines district in 2005 and joined the WDMCS administrative team in 2006.

Ketcham has his bachelor’s degree in history, master’s degree in educational leadership and his English as a Second Language leadership endorsement.


Topics: School Board News, Uncategorized

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My Journey Through the WDMCS

Written By: Maddie Hamborg

maddie_hamborg_graduationI have been in the WDMCS district my entire school career.  I attended Jordan Creek Elementary from kindergarten through sixth grade, and then transitioned to Stilwell, Valley Southwoods, and, ultimately, Valley High School.

I had great experiences at each of these schools.  My fondest memories of Jordan Creek revolve around it’s traditions–from a field trip to the Omaha Zoo to the sixth grade bike ride and clap-out.  At Stilwell, I participated in the school plays and in the mime shows.  While I am far from a brilliant actor/mime, these experiences allowed me to meet many new people and to try something completely out of my comfort zone.  I also began to run cross-country, which I continued throughout Valley Southwoods and Valley High School.  My fondest memories of Southwoods and Valley are cross-country and orchestra events, such as “Frisky Friday and pasta dinners,” and the many orchestra concerts and trips.

I believe that the West Des Moines schools, and Valley in particular, provided me with a strong educational background, which will help me be very competitive when I enter the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Va., this fall.  Beginning in eighth grade, I took advanced level classes, which prepared me to enter the Valley Honors Program.  The classes I took as part of this program were very challenging. They forced me to develop a strong work ethic and time management skills that will prove invaluable in college. One of the unique things about Valley is that it is not uncommon for students to have a teacher for more than one year.  Some of my favorite teachers are those I had throughout my high school career.  Mrs. Karen Downing was my ELP /honors seminar teacher, and she inspired me to accomplish things I never would have imagined I could do as a mere freshman.  In addition, my orchestra teacher, Mr. Phil Peters, and cross-country coach, Mr. Bob Hardin, pushed everyone to work toward “personal bests,” and to be the best musician or runner he or she could be.

Additionally, Mrs. Downing and others at Valley encouraged me to seek balance in my life, and to find a few activities outside of the academic world that not only filled my time but also made me happy.  If I could offer any advice to underclassmen, I would tell them to do just that:  Instead of loading your schedule with a variety of clubs and activities, focus on something you could see yourself having a passion for or expanding on in the future.  For me, it was working with special needs students.  During my sophomore year, I began volunteering in the special needs department at Jordan Creek Elementary. Ultimately, I was able to create an extracurricular program in which 30 special needs students now participate, which is designed to increase their physical activity in a comfortable social environment.  WDMCS gave me the necessary training and confidence to begin this program, and I know I will take this experience with me throughout my life.

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