Johnston schools name Roorda as Interim Superintendent

Nikki School PicJOHNSTON, IA (May 17, 2023) — The Johnston Board of Education has named Dr. Nikki Roorda as Interim Superintendent of the Johnston Community School District for the 2023-2024 school year.

Since July 2021, Dr. Roorda has served as the district’s Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, where she has supported the superintendent in the day-to-day problem-solving and decision-making for the district. As head of the teaching & learning team, her emphasis and specialty has been on improving the quality of education provided to all students through data analysis and curriculum reform in a systematic way. 

Dr. Roorda previously served as Executive Director of Teaching and Learning for Johnston since August 2019. Before that, she was a regional director for Heartland Area Education Agency for 12 years, from 2007 to 2019. She’s also worked as a K-12 literacy coordinator for Ankeny schools and as a classroom teacher in Ankeny, West Des Moines, Montezuma and Highlands Ranch, Colorado. 

We are thrilled with this next step for Johnston,” said Board President Dr. Alicia Clevenger. “The Board is confident that Dr. Nikki Roorda will advance the great work of our district with her collaborative leadership style, passion for education and innovative ideas. Dr. Roorda lives out our mission and vision every day in the work she does. Her proven support of all staff and students will allow her to hit the ground running in this transition. Through this process, it was clear that Dr. Roorda is the best choice to lead the Johnston Community School District in the upcoming year.

Dr. Roorda was one of three finalists selected from 17 applicants for the position, including two from outside the state of Iowa. She interviewed with the school board and a small group of district stakeholders on Monday, May 15. Board members worked with Grundmeyer Leader Services to conduct the search. The board’s official vote for Interim Superintendent will be at its regular meeting next Monday, May 22.

“Thank you for trusting me to continue leading the Johnston Community School District forward,” Dr. Roorda said. “In this new position, I will welcome challenging work, be willing to learn new skills, be mindful of details, and stay on top of best practices in education. I cherish my relationships with every student, parent, staff and community member here. I plan to use these interpersonal strengths to continue building strong relationships and teams that are collaborative.”

Dr. Roorda holds a doctorate in education from Walden University in Minneapolis and a master’s segree in education from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), School Administrators of Iowa (SAI), the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and Learning Forward.

Dr. Roorda and her husband David live in Ankeny. They have two children, Maddie and Gabbie, who are sophomores in college.

The board will reopen the application period for long-term superintendent applicants in the fall. Desired qualifications identified by the Johnston Board of Education will continue to drive the hiring process. Those desired qualifications include:

  • Proven leadership experience
  • Ability to promote a positive and engaging school culture
  • Proven track record of school improvement
  • Visible in the schools and community
  • Ability to build consensus and hold others to high standards
  • Experience supporting and leading the administrative team
  • Ability to delegate and support others in their work
  • Visionary leadership willing to support innovation

During the long-term superintendent hiring process, a stakeholder survey will be used to solicit input from district staff, parents and community members.  Formal interview teams will also provide the board input on finalists. The board will continue to work with Grundmeyer Leader Services through this process.