Ahart to be Appointed Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools

Thomas Ahart, the interim superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools, will become the school district’s next Superintendent, School Board Chair Dick Murphy announced today.

“Tom Ahart brings a commitment to our community, a wealth of experience, and a track record of success to this position,” said Murphy. “We had three strong, experienced candidates for this position – anyone of whom could have been a successful leader for our district – but in the end the very best was right here at home.”

Murphy said Ahart’s contract will be voted on at the next School Board meeting on Tuesday, at which time he would immediately drop ‘interim’ from his title. Ahart will become the 13th Superintendent in the 106-year history of Des Moines Public Schools, which is Iowa’s largest provider of public education with more than 32,000 students and nearly 5,000 employees.

“I am excited and honored by this opportunity, and promise that we are going to build on the success that we are seeing at schools throughout the community,” said Ahart. “I am thankful to be part of a great team of teachers and staff who each and every day are out there working to help every student succeed. My goal as Superintendent is straightforward: we will be recognized as the best urban school district in America.”

Ahart became interim Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools on May 15, 2012 and was appointed Associate Superintendent of the school district on July 1, 2011. Prior to that, he served as principal of Harding Middle School for three years.

He has also served as the Director of Human Resources at the Ankeny Community School District, the Director of Instruction at the Marshalltown Community School District, and as a school improvement consultant at the Heartland Area Education Agency. He has also been a language arts teacher at high schools in Denison, IA and Glenwood Springs, CO.

Ahart has also been involved in a number of educational and professional associations, including president of the Iowa Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and an editor of Iowa Educational Leadership. Ahart received a BA in speech and mass communications from the University of Denver as well as a Master’s of Public Administration and Ed.S from Drake University. He is completing his Doctorate in Education Leadership at Drake University, with a dissertation on student achievement factors in Iowa schools.

Ahart’s contract will be voted on at the next School Board meeting on Tuesday, March 12 and will go into effect immediately. The Superintendent’s salary will be $260,000.

Video of Dick Murphy’s Announcement and Tom Ahart’s Remarks