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UPDATED: 2015-16 Elementary Principal Assignments

This news item has been updated and is current as of July 20, 2015.

The West Des Moines Community Schools is pleased to announce new elementary principal assignments for the 2015-16 school year. The new school assignments will be for Crossroads Park, Hillside, Jordan Creek, Westridge, and Western Hills.

“Each of our elementary principals are proven educational leaders who hire and develop excellent teachers and partner with parents to build school communities focused on student achievement,” said Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy. “This is an opportunity to share their leadership skills within the district and to further strengthen our district as a whole.”

The principals have all started work in their new positions. Information about the principals and the schools follow.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Dr. Robert Davis, current principal of Hillside Elementary, will become the principal of Crossroads Park Elementary. Crossroad Park, located at 1050 50th Street in West Des Moines, serves approximately 560 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Davis will replace Britt Cameron, who is retiring June 30, 2015. Davis began working in the district in 1991 and has served as elementary principal at Crestview, Rex Mathes, Clegg Park, and Hillside.

Hillside Elementary
Graham Jones, current principal at Jordan Creek Elementary, will become the principal of Hillside Elementary. Hillside Elementary, located at 713 8th Street in West Des Moines, serves approximately 580 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Jones started working in the district in 2001 and has served as an elementary teacher, assistant principal of Jordan Creek Elementary, curriculum director, and principal at Jordan Creek Elementary.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Paul Wenger has been approved as the principal of Jordan Creek Elementary. He currently serves as elementary principal at Edgewood-Colesburg Community School District. He also serves as vice president of the School Administrators of Iowa and has been a principal mentor, legislative committee member, and Iowa Leadership Academy Steering Committee member. Wenger has implemented professional learning communities, statewide voluntary preschool programming, and multi-tiered systems of supports for students. He received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and physical education from Wartburg College and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Iowa State University.

Westridge Elementary

Nathan Ballagh has been approved as the new Westridge Elementary principal. He is currently working at the Southeast Polk School district, where he has served for 11 years as an educator and administrator; most recently as junior high school administrator. Ballagh earned bachelor’s degrees in history and education and a master’s degree in pre-K–12 principalship from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). He is continuing his post-graduate at UNI, working to obtain his superintendent’s license.

Tamara Tjeerdsma, currently a sixth-grade teacher at Crossroads Park Elementary, has been approved as the assistant principal at Jordan Creek and Westridge Elementary Schools. Tjeerdsma has taught elementary school for 18 years, 10 of those years in the WDMCS district. She has served on many district-level committees, including the recent boundary study, district board policy committee, and the Iowa Sustaining Parent Involvement Network (ISPIN). Tjeerdsma was a finalist for the 2015 Iowa Teacher of the Year award from the Iowa Department of Education. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and social studies from Northwest Missouri State University and her master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Iowa State University.

Western Hills Elementary

George Panosh has been approved as the new principal of Western Hills Elementary. Panosh was previously an assistant principal and activities director at Berg Middle School in Newton. He also served as a Technology Integration Coach in the Linn-Mar Community School District in Marion. He received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Coe College, a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from George Washington university, and a master’s degree in e-learning and technology from Concordia University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in education through Concordia University.