Van Woerkom named permanent Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

Jill Van WoerkomJOHNSTON, Ia. (Feb. 13, 2024) — Jill Van Woerkom has been named the permanent Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning for the Johnston Community School District, pending Feb. 19 approval by the school board. 

Van Woerkom has served as the Interim Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning during the 2023-2024 school year, filling the position previously held by Dr. Nikki Roorda, who is now the district’s Superintendent.

Van Woerkom was one of two finalists for the permanent Associate Superintendent position. Prior to her time in Johnston, she served as the Associate Superintendent of School Improvement in Dallas Center-Grimes, Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Knoxville for 17 years, and Director of Human Resources for the Knoxville and Pella school districts. 

“Jill Van Woerkom is the person who can best balance our executive Cabinet team, provide support to the district directors, and provide the leadership necessary to meet upcoming needs for the district,” Roorda said. “At the forefront of this work is the development of an in-house alternative learning program similar to the one that we are leaving at Metro West at the conclusion of the school year.”

Van Woerkom brings experience in both traditional and alternative learning programs. She previously served as an alternative high school principal in Knoxville, director of at-risk services in Knoxville, and at-risk consortium instructor for Heartland AEA. In the traditional setting, she was once a third-grade teacher in Washington, Iowa.

One of the things that drew me to Johnston was the commitment to educate all children, with opportunities for students within the traditional and non-traditional settings,” Van Woerkom said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our work of creating a culture of excellence where students come first.”

Van Woerkom received her specialist degree in educational leadership from Drake University in 2004, and her master’s degree in educational administration from Iowa State University in 2001. She’s certified as a preK-12 superintendent, AEA administrator, preK-12 principal, K-6 classroom and reading teacher, K-12 English/language arts teacher and coach.

Under the direction of the Superintendent, the Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning is responsible for leadership, oversight and implementation of curriculum design, special education and student services, academics and professional learning for certified staff. The position is also responsible for completing various Department of Education reports, facilitating several committees and community engagement. 

In the 2024-2025 school year, Van Woerkom will be one of five members of the JCSD Cabinet along with Roorda; Chris Billings, the Executive Director of School Leadership; Ryan Eidahl, the district’s Chief Financial Officer; as well as a new addition to the Cabinet: Nate Zittergruen, the Director of Human Resources. Van Woerkom will also continue to be a member of the district’s Admin Team.