Dr. David Benson, Superintendent, has announced his plans to retire at the end of the current school year. Benson, a 43-year educator, joined the Cedar Rapids Community School District in 2009.
"Cedar Rapids is a wonderful community and I am extremely proud of this outstanding school district," Benson said. “I thank the faculty, staff, parents, Board of Education, and community members for their support. The District is poised to continue its rich tradition of success and advance to the next level of educational service because of the innovative instructional programming that is being introduced. Momentum is evident in every aspect of our District.”
Under Benson’s forward-thinking leadership, the school district introduced foreign language at the elementary level (FLES) and the Eighth Grade Expanded Opportunities Program; advanced the implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLC); launched the Iowa BIG and Roosevelt Option programs, providing families with alternative opportunities for their child’s education; led Blue Zones and Green Team efforts across the District; created a District Equity Committee with broad-based community membership; maintained strong collaboration with the teacher’s association; advanced the effort to infuse technology into the instructional program; completed the District flood recovery efforts with the construction of the Educational Leadership and Support Center (ELSC) to replace the facilities that had been destroyed in the flood; adjusted school boundaries to address enrollment changes; renewed the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) to provide for facility maintenance, and was among the first in the state approved for teacher leader funds, having submitted the top-scoring application.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, it is with mixed emotion that we accept Dr. Benson’s announcement,” said Mary Meisterling, Board of Education President. “He has advanced Board initiatives in a thoughtful, collaborative, and successful manner and has provided the leadership and guidance to continue the momentum. Dr. Benson’s career and commitment to public education is inspiring and his drive to provide innovative programming is timely and motivating. He is truly an outstanding superintendent and one who will leave an important mark on our District.”
Benson has served as a superintendent in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. He received his PhD from Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS. He was named superintendent of the year in 2001 by the Kansas Association of School Administrators and received the 2013 Paul Simon Award from the Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
During his tenure in Cedar Rapids, Benson has been actively involved with the Metro Economic Alliance, Diversity Focus, Downtown Rotary, Junior Achievement, and the United Way of East Central Iowa.
Benson emphasized that he will continue to work hard on behalf of District students until his retirement. The transition from a trimester to semester calendar and the launch of the Johnson Elementary STEAM Magnet School will be key efforts.
The Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. on Monday, December 22, 2014, at the Educational Leadership and Support Center, to begin the process to seek a replacement for Benson, who will leave the District at the end of June 2015.