An acting superintendent for the Fort Dodge Community School District has been appointed.
Dr. Denise Schares, an associate professor at the University of Northern Iowa, will take charge of schools at Fort Dodge beginning July 1.
In late April, current superintendent Derrick Joel tendered his resignation from the school board. Joel – who started with the district on July 1, 2021 – will leave to become assistant superintendent of the Norris School District outside of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Schares was selected by the Board of Education after being interviewed by the Board on Wednesday evening.
“We have been extremely impressed with the strength of our candidate pool in terms of a wealth of experience and passion for education,” said school board chair Stu Cochrane. “We believed Dr. Schares embodied the passion for education we were looking for, and she had outstanding academic credentials that we believe provided excellent leadership to move our district forward.”
Schares has over 40 years of experience in public education. She began as a professional home economics and health teacher in several eastern Iowa school districts throughout the 1980s.
In 1994, she was Director of Educational Services for Union and Hudson Schools in La Porte City and Hudson. Schares served as Director of Professional Development and Associate Superintendent of Waterloo Community School District from 2006 to 2010. In 2010, she became superintendent of Clear Creek Amana Community School District in Oxford.
Since 2013, Schares has been Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at UNI. Also at UNI, she is director of the Institute for Educational Leadership, coordinator of the superintendence program and a member of the graduate faculty.
Schares earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Home Economics Education from Iowa State University in 1978. She later earned her Masters in Educational Psychology and her Ph.D. in Home Economics Curriculum and Instruction. UNI in 1986 and 1994.
“I am thrilled to join the Fort Dodge team and look forward to getting to know the community, staff and students,” Shares said.
Schares will be hired on a one-year contract as acting 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 fit, the board could consider extending his contract beyond the interim year.
Three other external candidates were auditioned on Wednesday by the Board of Education.
Those candidates were Bob Olson, 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, former superintendent of the Johnson Community School District.