Dr. Ian Roberts was named the 15th Superintendent of the Des Moines Public School district, effective July 1, 2023. Roberts, 52, was chosen following an extensive nationwide search based on a leadership profile developed with input from the school board, teachers, families and others in the school community.
Dr. Roberts is a career educator with over two decades of experience as a classroom teacher, school administrator and executive leader. An accomplished author and speaker, Dr. Roberts has written numerous books and publications about educational topics including leadership, empathy and cultural responsiveness. He is passionate about instructional excellence, diversity, equity, inclusion and innovation in education.
Dr. Roberts came to Des Moines after serving as Superintendent of the Millcreek Township (PA) School District for three years, where his focus was culturally responsive, quality and equity-based instructional leadership that prepared every student for college or a career. Prior to that, he served as the St. Louis Public Schools (MO) High School Network Superintendent, where he coached, supported, and evaluated middle, high school and alternative school principals. His educational career also includes positions in Baltimore, MD, Washington D.C., South Bronx, NY, and across the country. While in the nation’s capital he was named the George Washington University’s 2013 Washington D.C. Principal of the Year.
Dr. Roberts proudly shares that he was born to immigrant parents from Guyana, and spent most of his formative years in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated with a B.S. degree from Coppin State University, earned Masters degrees from St. John’s University and Georgetown University, and received his doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership from Trident University. He also has received several education-related certificates, including the Harvard University Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership certificate.
Prior to becoming a special education teacher, principal, district leader, and leadership trainer, Ian was a world class and Olympic Athlete, competing in track and field at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and World Championships in Maebashi, Japan and Seville, Spain.
Dr. Roberts is married, and enjoys hunting, reading, and spending time with family and friends.