Shanahan named Johnston’s Director of Special Education

11 Shawna Shanahan 04

Shawna Shanahan

JOHNSTON, Ia. (May 10, 2023) — Shawna Shanahan has been selected as the Johnston Community School District (JCSD)’s new Director of Special Education, pending approval by the school board. She succeeds Vickie McCool, who is retiring after 34 years in the district.

Shanahan has served for the past five years as the Coordinator of Special Education for the Urbandale Community School District. Prior to that, she worked as a behavior interventionist in Urbandale. And before Urbandale, she taught and was a behavior interventionist for 11 years in the Des Moines Public Schools, at Smouse Opportunity School and the Moulton Extended Learning Center.

“My passion for all learners, especially diverse learners, is the reason I know this job is the right fit for me,” Shanahan said. “I am a true advocate for students and staff, and will guarantee that we follow all federal and state mandates.”

In her new role, Shanahan will be a member of the JCSD Admin Team. She will collaborate with the Student Services Coordinator to develop, initiate and evaluate ongoing programs for students with special needs. She will mediate concerns and facilitate problem-solving, supervise special education staff, arrange for transportation of special education students, work with residential care facilities, comply with legally required reports and records including IEPs (Individualized Education Plans), oversee Medicaid billing and reimbursement, establish procedures and processes, and recommend policies and programs.

“We are so excited to welcome Shawna to the team,” said JCSD Superintendent Laura Kacer. “Her experience working in special education, collaboration with Area Education Agency providers, and passion and advocacy for diverse learners will all benefit the students of our district.”

Shanahan holds two master’s degrees from Drake University, in education administration and an endorsement as an Instructional Strategist II, K-12, LD/BD, which provides the approaches needed to assist students with moderate to severe behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. Prior to that, she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Grand View University.

Shanahan’s selection is expected to go before the Johnston Board of Education at its next meeting, May 22.