Dillon named new Johnston Middle School principal

Luke Dillon PictureJOHNSTON, IA. (April 5, 2023) — Luke Dillon has been named the principal of Johnston Middle School beginning in fall 2023, pending April 24 approval by the school board. Dillon will succeed Brent Riessen, who is resigning effective June 30.

Dillon comes to Johnston from the Iowa City Community School District, where he serves as assistant director of curriculum instruction and assessment, as well as the assistant equity director. There, he started the school district’s first apprenticeship.

Prior to his current position, Dillon served as principal of Monroe Middle School and assistant principal of McMillan Magnet Center, Omaha Central High School and Davis Middle School. He’s also served as a P.E. teacher, athletic and activities director, and dean of students. He’s coached track, football and basketball, and was once the facility manager for the University of Northern Iowa Wellness and Recreation Services.

“Luke Dillon brings a wide range of experiences in school leadership in middle school, high school and even college,” said JCSD Superintendent Laura Kacer. “We appreciate his focus on student outcomes and his track record of boosting academic achievement, lowering suspension rates and improving attendance.”

Johnston Middle School is home to the district’s eighth and ninth graders. For the past four years, the school has been named a “Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School.” The national award recognizes and celebrates schools that go the extra mile each day to create the socio-emotional safety conducive to learning — building an environment where students and staff feel safe, connected and eager to learn.

The principal of JMS provides on-site administration of the district mission, educational programs, goals, policies and regulations; development of building goals and results; administration and allocation of building finances and human resources; and facilitation of cooperative community relations to ensure quality instruction for all students in a safe, equitable and secure environment.

“My goal as a leader has always been to establish a culture that values diversity, honors cultural differences, and welcomes different beliefs and opinions,” Dillon said. “I have worked to foster environments where everyone is able to have collaborative conversations in a respectful manner to solve problems, work together, spark creativity, and be resilient and brilliant inside and outside of the classroom.”

Dillon is seeking his doctorate in education leadership from the University of Iowa. He received his master’s in education administration from Concordia University in 2012, and bachelor’s in physical education teaching and physical education sports psychology from the University of Northern Iowa in 2006. He has gone through principal training and administrative training programs in the Omaha Public Schools.