Iowa’s Buck Goes from State Director to Cedar Rapids Superintendent

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Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck recently announced he will be leaving his position to accept a new role as superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District.

The decision was released after the Cedar Rapids school board held a three month search for a new superintendent.  At that time they had declined to release the names of potential candidates, saying it could cause problems with current job holdings for them.  For the first time, no public forums were held with the candidates prior to choosing the new superintendent.

Buck had been appointed to the position of Education Director in 2013 and was confirmed in 2014.  The position is appointed by the Governor and is confirmed every four years by the Senate.

In his role as director, Buck held an annual salary of $150,000.  He will not officially leave the position until June, at which time he will transition into his new position as superintendent, writes Mackenzie Ryan for The Des Moines Register.  He is set to replace the current superintendent David Benson who is retiring this year, on July 1.

Buck signed a three-year contract with the district and will receive a salary of $229,000 for the first year.  After that time his salary will be renegotiated.

“As a native of Cedar Rapids and a proud graduate of Jefferson High School, I’m thrilled to return to my hometown in this role. It’s clear to me that this is a school district that is committed to innovation and a vision of ‘Excellence for All,’ and I stand ready to be an integral part of delivering on that vision,” Buck said in a statement released through the IDOE after the announcement.

During his time as director, Buck oversaw a multi-million dollar education reform law in 2013 known as the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System that created new teacher positions that implemented curriculum, mentor other teachers and create better tests.

Cedar Rapids schools have started to participate in the program this year.

In his new role, it will be up to Buck to close racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps in the district.  In addition, the board would like to see him challenge the traditional models of education.

The district has been under investigation since January 2014 for disciplining black students at a higher rate than other groups.  The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, writes Alison Gowans for The Gazette.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” said Buck in a statement about his work as director. “I’ve worked among passionate, hard-working servants and leaders who have Iowa students’ best interests in their minds and hearts.”