Dubuque school board names Rheingans as superintendent
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
Stan Rheingans is the new superintendent of the Dubuque Community School District.
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
After nearly four months without a superintendent, the Dubuque Community School District announced its new leader Wednesday.
School board members voted unanimously to appoint Stan Rheingans to the position, effective immediately.
Rheingans has worked for the Dubuque Community School District since 2004, as the executive director of human resources. He has been interim superintendent since May, when former superintendent Larie Godinez resigned amid a vote of no confidence by the school board.
At Wednesday's noon meeting, where board members voted on Rheingans' appointment, people in the room gave the new superintendent two standing ovations. Rheingans' wife, children and mother were there to support him as well.
"The superintendent's an important position, but we can't forget it's the 1,600 people who work here everyday who really make a difference for kids," Rheingans said. "I'm excited. I'm very humbled to be given the opportunity and look forward to serving the students, the staff and the community in this position," Rheingans said.
Rheingans said one of his top priorities in this district of 10,000 students is effective communication, "making sure that people understand the 'Why.' 'Where are we going and why?' and if they have some input into that. I think we have to be open and transparent. I know you hear that a lot from politicians and school folks, but it's true."
School board president Mike Donohue said all three superintendent finalists had strong Dubuque ties, but Rheingans emerged on top - after much discussion, Donohue said - as the clear choice.
"He knows this district. He knows the people in the district," Donohue said. "He's rooted in this community, he's invested in this community, and - all the skills sets aside - you need those two pieces to really make sure we have something that will last a long time."
Other priorities for Rheingans include assessing the district's technology needs.
"We need to look at our technology and how our students have access or don't have access to technology currently and improve our game there," he said.
As another top priority, Rheingans also mentioned fostering teamwork and innovation among staff members.
"We need to continue to support our teaching staff in learning new methods and incorporating new methods into their classroom," he said. "We have 20 school buildings. We don't want them operating as individual islands. We want to pull together as a team because that's what's going to give us the momentum to move forward."
The school board conducted this superintendent search without the help of a consultant, which it used to select Godinez.
Board members say they wanted more involvement in the process -- and saved about $30,000 by not hiring a consultant.
Rheingans will also continue in his role as the executive director of human resources until the district hires a replacement.
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