Pettaway named principal of Summit Middle School

Kaniesha Pettaway photo1JOHNSTON, IA. (July 12, 2022) — Kaniesha Pettaway has been selected as the new principal of Summit Middle School, filling the vacancy created by Chris Billings being named executive director of school leadership. Her hiring was approved Monday by the Johnston Board of Education.

Pettaway most recently served as associate principal of Goodrell Middle School in Des Moines — leading efforts in equity, working to hire and retain quality staff, providing professional learning, leading school improvement initiatives and work in special education.

“My passion and intentionality about the growth and development of all students shines through my actions and engagement in courageous discussions,” she said. “I am committed to ensuring that all students, and staff working directly with students, are equipped with tools and resources that are essential to experiencing success.”

Pettaway’s background is as a school psychologist. She took her bachelor’s and master’s degree in this area to serve in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, then to the Des Moines Public Schools where she worked as a school psychologist and lead support psychologist. She recently received an additional master’s degree at Iowa State University’s Transformative School Leadership Program. She’s also served as a youth basketball coach and youth mentor.

“As a school psychologist, lead support, and associate principal, I have coached various staff members and emphasized the significance of building capacity to ensure positive student outcomes,” she said. “I receive personal fulfillment in this aspect of my roles because it allows for others to experience professional growth given appropriate, individualized guidance.”

In her new role, Pettaway will join the Johnston Community School District’s administrative team. She will lead the school that bridges elementary and secondary, bringing students together from all five of Johnston’s elementary schools. Summit Middle School at 9500 Windsor Parkway serves more than 1,100 sixth and seventh grade students in the district.

“We appreciate the rich and diverse background that Kaniesha brings to this position,” said JCSD Superintendent Laura Kacer. “Her experience as both a school administrator and school psychologist uniquely qualifies her to support our students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. We are so excited to welcome her to the team.”