Joe Nelson Selected as JCSD Athletic and Activities Director

After a thorough search and interview process, a new athletic and activities director for the Johnston Community School District has been selected. Joe Nelson has accepted the district’s offer and is expected to begin on August 1.

Profile photo of Joseph NelsonNelson comes to Johnston by way of the Southeast Polk Community School District. Nelson has served as the principal for Mitchellville Elementary since 2007, during which time he also completed a superintendency clinical experience and international educational observation. Prior to coming to Southeast Polk, Nelson was a dean of students and elementary teacher for Des Moines Public Schools.

Throughout his tenure as a school administrator, Nelson has been involved with a variety of athletic and activity groups through coaching high school-level teams, serving as a CIML sports official for more than 25 years, and most recently, completing an extensive learning experience with the Southeast Polk athletic and activities director. Nelson said the timing of the Johnston position combined well with his professional preparation.

“I’ve worked in many capacities as a coach, official, building leader, and student advocate,” said Nelson. “I can’t wait to get to Johnston and support the students and coaches in their pursuits.”

Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls), his master’s degree in educational leadership from Drake University (Des Moines), and recently completed his educational specialist degree with a superintendency licensure from Drake. He anticipates completing his education doctorate degree from Drake in 2018.

As part of his professional experience, Nelson has completed numerous trainings and certifications focused around student well-being, including those for bullying prevention, poverty, instructional technology, school safety, educator professional development, and Multi-Tiered System of Support. He is a member of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, among other professional organizations.

“We are excited to have Joe join our team,” said Ryan Woods, Johnston High School principal. “He has many years of various leadership experiences that will serve him well as the activities director. Joe is a champion of student equity and will work hard to ensure all students have opportunities to participate in our programs.”

Johnston’s long-time athletic and activities director Gary Ross announced his departure from the district in lieu of an opportunity as the associate director with the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union. His official last day will be July 31.

“Gary leaves some big shoes to fill,” said Nelson. “He’s set a high standard for excellence in the CIML. I want to thank him for all he has done to create a winning team in Johnston and look forward to continuing those traditions. Go Dragons!”

The board is expected to approve Nelson’s contract at a July 24 special meeting.