Van Vark named first assistant principal at Johnston High School

VanVarkJOHNSTON, Ia. (April 11, 2023) — Cole Van Vark is slated to become the first assistant principal at Johnston High School, pending board approval April 24.

Van Vark is currently an associate principal at Lincoln High School in Des Moines. He previously worked for a decade as a math and business teacher in Des Moines and Waukee, and did his assistant principal internship at Waukee High School. He’s been a head coach for 10th grade boys basketball in both Waukee and Des Moines.

“I look forward to joining the building leadership team in serving the staff and students at Johnston High School,” Van Vark said. “And I am excited to collaborate with the students and families of the Johnston Community School District to further the culture of excellence that has made them one of the nation’s best educational systems.”

Creation of the assistant principal position at JHS increases the school’s administration team from three to four. Van Vark will join Principal Ryan Woods and Associate Principals Randy Klein and Kyla Burns on the administrative team at the high school, which enrolls nearly 1,800 students in grades 10 to 12.

“This change will bring some much-needed additional support to our high school,” said Laura Kacer, superintendent of the Johnston Community School District. “We welcome Mr. Van Vark to Johnston and look forward to his contributions to the team.”

Assistant principal positions at JHS and JMS were created Feb. 10 by the school board, in a vote that also created assistant principal positions at Johnston’s five elementary schools. Assistant principals differ from associate principals in the number of days they’re contracted to work each year. The change sunsets the student support facilitator (SSF) positions at elementary schools, and the student support specialist (SSS) position at JMS. The vote also added a counselor at both Summit and Johnston Middle Schools.​

Van Vark received his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science at Central College, his master’s in teaching secondary education from Drake University, and his education specialist in educational administration degree from the University of South Dakota.

In his new role at JHS, he will assist the building principal in providing leadership and supervision in promoting the educational development and achievement of students. He will also provide leadership in program development and improvement, as well as in professional staff development. He is among the team that will lead the school when the principal is absent.

“I pride myself on my ability to make connections and build relationships with students, families, and staff as an educational leader,” Van Vark said. “I believe that creating relationships is the foundation of a positive and safe environment that allows all learners and stakeholders to connect to their school and community and to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.”