UPDATE: The Mason City School Board selected David Versteeg as the school district’s new superintendent in a closed session on Thursday morning.
He will start his contract on July 1, 2017. Versteeg was chosen after the School Board and search consultant outlined several personal and professional qualifications. The extensive process considered feedback from parents, teachers, support staff, administrators and community members.
School Board President Janna Ardnt says it was a very hard decision.
“He’s got a lot of great ideas with getting with the community partnership, bringing our students into those partnerships, that’s what our students deserve and that’s what they’re going to get,” Ardnt said.
Versteeg started his teaching career in 1980 with Parker School District in Parker, South Dakota, according to a school district news release. He later served as a teacher, coach and athletic director for the Custer School District in Custer, South Dakota, in 1986 before taking an assistant principal/athletic director position in Newcastle, Wyoming, in 1994. He came to Iowa in 1998 to serve as the assistant principal for Pella Community High School and later served as the middle school principal for the Pella Community School District from 2000-2007. Since then, he has served as the Montezuma Community School District superintendent where he has led multiple facility projects, worked to improve student achievement and provided fiscal management.
In Montezuma, Versteeg serves in the Lion’s Club and has most recently been part of developing a community vision.
Versteeg earned his Certificate of Advanced Studies from the University of Northern Iowa.
Michael Penca has served as interim superintendent since June. He released this statement on Thursday afternoon:
It has been and will continue to be a privilege and honor to be the superintendent of the Mason City School District. I am proud of the way I have served this district for 21 years as a teacher, administrator, and superintendent — with integrity, humility, professionalism and hard work. I will continue to serve alongside the Board, administrators and staff in this same way through the end of my contract on June 30, 2017.
While I have given a significant amount of time and effort to this district, I want you to know I have received so much more in return from the great students I have been able to work with, and from the
opportunities to learn, lead and collaborate with talented and caring staff. Mason City is a great place to live, work and raise a family. While the thought of leaving this community, our family, and our friends deeply saddens both my wife and I, we are confident there are other opportunities for us and know we
have much to offer another community.
I am surprised and disappointed to not be selected by the Board of Education to serve the Mason City Community School District as superintendent after this school year. When I review the qualities the Board, staff and community desired in a superintendent (visible and invested in the community, trustworthy and open-minded, follows through on tasks, high expectations for self and others) and when I reflect about the feedback I have received from the Board, staff and community during my six months as superintendent (exceeding expectations, can feel the change in culture and Mohawk pride, this district is moving forward), it is challenging to accept the explanation of the decision coming down to responses to interview questions and years of experience as a superintendent. I wish more focus had been given to how I have demonstrated those desired qualities and my leadership experience for many years right here in Mason City.
I respect the Board’s decision, understand it was not an easy one to make, and know they have the best interests of our students and community in mind. I have no regrets in stepping forward to serve as the interim superintendent last June and taking the risk of having no position after this school year. I would do it again in a heartbeat even with knowing today’s outcome. The administrators and staff of this district have experienced much change over the last few years and my goal is to do everything I can in the next six months to make this transition a smooth one for them and the next superintendent. Teaching students to communicate, collaborate, think critically, problem solve and to develop them to be responsible citizens is challenging, complex and noble work. I believe Mason City has the Board, administration, staff, parents and community who can work together to do this work in an excellent way.
Previous coverage below.
MASON CITY, Iowa – Two finalists have been selected in the search for a new school superintendent in Mason City.
On Wednesday, the school board announced that Michael Penca and David Versteeg have been selected after an extensive process that included application materials, references and a screening interview. Formal interviews with the finalists will be conducted on December 5 and will include students, parents, staff members, community leaders and school administrators.
Penca has served as interim superintendent in Mason City since June. Versteeg is currently the superintendent at the Montezuma Community School District.
The school board says it hopes to name a new superintendent by December 23.