Owen Named Executive Director of School Leadership

A new face will join the Johnston Community School District executive cabinet for the 2021-22 school year.

Tara OwenTara Owen has been hired as the district’s Executive Director of School Leadership. She has most recently served as the principal at Southeast Elementary in the Ankeny Community School District.

The school leadership executive position combines executive coaching, professional development, and evaluation of principals and school-level directors. In her role, Owen will develop and provide professional learning for staff and administrators around the Danielson Framework for Effective Teaching. Additionally, she will complete various Department of Education reports and data sets. She will join the superintendent’s executive cabinet, along with superintendent Laura Kacer, associate superintendent of teaching & learning, Dr. Nikki Roorda, chief financial officer Jan Miller-Hook, and executive director of student support Joy Wiebers.

“We are thrilled to have Ms. Owen join the Johnston Community School District,” said Superintendent Laura Kacer. “She brings 23 years of experience in teaching, along with school administration and school improvement leadership to Johnston. Her passion for professional leadership and development will be an incredible asset to our team.”

Owen’s past education experience has focused on the elementary and middle school levels. Her career began with Ankeny Schools in 1998 as an elementary special education teacher. She then went on to serve as a dean of students, school improvement leader, and principal in middle and elementary schools within the Des Moines Public Schools system. Owen then returned to Ankeny in 2014 as the principal of Northeast Elementary School, then took the principalship at Southeast Elementary in 2018.

Owen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a focus on Special Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Viterbo University. She holds a Professional Administrator’s License from the State of Iowa, is a School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) Principal Mentor, and Leader In Me certified facilitator.

“I am honored to begin this next journey in my educational career with the Johnston Community School District,” said Owen. “ Johnston is known for their excellence in education and I look forward to being part of the work alongside the JCSD staff and community!”

The JCSD School Board is expected to approve her contract at the May 17 board meeting.