A head shot of Erica Whittle

District Welcomes New Administrators

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) have approved several new administrators for the 2015-16 school year. The new school administrators are for Valley High School, Jordan Creek Elementary, Westridge Elementary, Western Hills Elementary, Crossroads Park Elementary, and Hillside Elementary.

Erica Whittle is New Valley High School Associate Principal


Erica Whittle is the new associate principal of Valley High School, joining current associate principals David Maxwell and David Perrigo and the rest of the building staff.

Whittle was previously an instructional coach for technology integration in the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District, where she served for five years. She also served as an eighth- and ninth-grade math and science teacher at the junior high and high school levels in the Dallas Center-Grimes district.

She received a master’s degree in technology integration from Graceland University and a bachelor’s degree in math and science education from Northwest Missouri State University. Whittle is completing her specialist degree from Drake University in education leadership.

Paul Wenger is New Jordan Creek Elementary Principal

PaulWenger-editedPaul Wenger is the Jordan Creek Elementary principal.

Wenger was previously an 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.

Nathan Ballagh is New Westridge Elementary Principal

ballaghn.jpgNathan Ballagh is the new Westridge Elementary principal.

Ballagh previously served at the Southeast Polk School district, where he worked for 11 years as an educator and administrator, most recently as junior high school administrator.

He 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 postgraduate at UNI, working to obtain his superintendent’s license.

George Panosh is New Western Hills Elementary Principal

GeorgePanoshGeorge Panosh is 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.

Tamara Tjeerdsma is New Jordan Creek, Westridge Assistant Principal


WDMCS teacher Tamara Tjeerdsma is the assistant principal at Jordan Creek and Westridge Elementary schools.

Tjeerdsma 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.

New Elementary Principal Assignments

Two veteran elementary school leaders have new principal roles in the district for the 2015-16 school year. The new school assignments will be for Crossroads Park and Hillside elementaries.

Dr. Robert Davis, former Hillside Elementary principal, is the principal of Crossroads Park Elementary. Graham Jones, former principal at Jordan Creek Elementary, is the Hillside Elementary principal.