Johnston Board of Education Names Finalists for Superintendent

Meet theJOHNSTON, Ia (Oct. 19, 2023) — The Johnston Board of Education has selected two finalists to be the district’s permanent superintendent beginning July 1, 2024.

Led by search firm Grundmeyer Leader Services, the permanent superintendent position was posted and resulted in 11 candidates, including five from out of state. The pool included seven males, three females and one who did not respond. Six of the candidates hold a terminal degree (Ed.D. or Ph.D.), while two others hold specialist/six-year degrees.

After the review of candidates’ application materials, references, licensure verification, and social media, two finalists have been invited to interview with the school board and two stakeholder groups of community members, staff and students on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Those finalists include:

Tony Hiatt

Mr. Hiatt is the Director of Elementary Education at the Pleasant Valley Community School District, serving as second-incommand for one of Iowa’s highest-performing and fastest-growing districts. He previously served as a Regional Administrator with Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, and as Title I Coordinator and Preschool Director at Pleasant Valley Community School District. He has also served as a PK-6 principal in Pleasant Valley, middle school associate principal and activities director in Marshalltown, and adjunct professor at Buena Vista University. Hiatt holds a master’s degree in educational administration and principalship from the University of Northern Iowa, and a superintendent certification.

Dr. Nikki Roorda

Dr. Roorda is currently the Interim Superintendent of the Johnston Community School District. She has served the district for the past four years, previously in the roles of Associate Superintendent and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. She also brings experience from the Area Education Agency, where she served as the Regional Director for Heartland AEA for 12 years. She previously served as a K-12 literacy coordinator in Ankeny and as a classroom teacher in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, West Des Moines, Ankeny and Montezuma. Dr. Roorda holds a doctorate in education from Walden University in Minneapolis and a superintendent certification.

A superintendent search stakeholder survey seeking community feedback on the priorities of this search was conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11 and generated 503 responses. The survey identified that the top desired skills and qualifications for the next superintendent of the Johnston Community School District include:

  • Recruits, hires, supports, develops and retains effective staff
  • Promotes a community of care and support for students
  • Understands equity and cultural responsiveness
  • Is a strong instructional leader
  • Fosters community for teachers and staff
  • Effectively manages district resources
  • Builds community and school relations
  • Advocates publicly for school needs
  • Models the district’s vision, mission and core values

Final interviews with the two finalists will be held Tuesday, October 24. The board then plans to discuss the candidates and reach a final decision shortly after formal interviews conclude. The next superintendent will begin leading the Johnston Community School District effective July 1, 2024.