Three new District administrators have been approved by the Board of Education. They will each begin their new duties on July 1.
Wendy Parker has been named Executive Director of Special Services. Parker began her career as a Behavior Support teacher and quickly moved into the role of behavior teacher/interventionist in Des Moines Public Schools. She next served as a middle school principal in Redfield before becoming the Director of Secondary Educational Services in the Newton Community School District. Her most recent experience has been as the Special Education Director at Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Pocahontas.
Parker grew up in Marion, Iowa. She earned her BA in Secondary Education from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in Special Education from Western Illinois University.
“We were pleased to have such a highly qualified applicant pool for this position,” said Mary Ellen Maske, Deputy Superintendent. “Ms. Parker comes to us with experience as a building administrator, a former Director of Special Services in an Iowa school district and a directorship at an Area Education Agency. Her depth and breadth of experiences will be an asset to the District.”
“I have always been innovative in my work and the Cedar Rapids Schools definitely matches my desire to be cutting edge with the way services are delivered to students,” noted Parker. “It is imperative to me that all students receive rigorous and effective instruction and this school district is striving to achieve this in every classroom for every student. It is clear that I will be inheriting a great program and I am excited to continue to seek even more improvements with our services to children and families.
“I plan to spend a lot of time listening in the first few months as there is a lot to learn from all the incredible staff who are serving student throughout the district as well as parents and students and the community,” she added.
Parker replaces Sheila Lehman who is retiring.
“While I have only worked with Ms. Lehman for a short time, I am extremely appreciate of the excellent work she has done for Cedar Rapids,” shared Dr. Brad Buck, Superintendent. “We are confident that Ms. Parker will continue to build on this work to the benefit of our students and staff members.”
Darius Ballard will join the administrative team at Washington High School as an Associate Principal. He currently teaches at Jefferson High School.
Ballard earned undergraduate degrees in biology and secondary education from Cornell College. He received his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Northern Iowa. He teaches science at Jefferson and also serves as an instructional design strategist, member of the building leadership team, and a PLC leader. He also shares his time as the faculty representative with the JHS Student Council and Pledge Group.
“I am excited for the opportunity to serve the Washington High School community,” said Ballard. “Their desire to always strive for excellence in all avenues of their student’s lives is inspiring and ultimately why the school has been so successful. I hope to infuse my enthusiasm, passion for learning, and my desire to community-build with the initiatives that are already in-place. I believe that I can be a part of truly meaningful things in the lives of the students.”
"We are excited about Darius Ballard's ability to develop strong relationships with students and staff members and the incredible enthusiasm and passion that he brings to school every day,” added Dr. Ralph Plagman, Principal. “He will be a great fit at Washington High School, and will make our school better."
Trista Manternach will become Principal at Harrison Elementary School. She currently serves as a principal in the Waterloo Community School District. She has also served as an instructional coach and special educational teacher in Dubuque and Waterloo. Manternach earned both her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in teacher in leadership from the University of Northern Iowa.
“Trista will be a great addition to the Cedar Rapids Elementary team of administrators and will be a great match for the students and families at Harrison,” noted Val Dolezal, Executive Administrator of Preschool – 8th Grade.
“I am so very excited to begin working with the students, staff, and community of Harrison Elementary,” Manternach said. “I am looking forward to building upon the greatness already happening in the halls and classrooms and I can’t wait to do what is best for students and grow together as a school family.”