Board Leadership Statement on Vote to Approve Superintendent’s Contract

The following statement was issued by Des Moines School Board chair Dwana Bradley and vice chair Rob Barron in regard to a vote to accept the recommendation by the compensation committee to approve a two-year contract for the Superintendent through June 30, 2023 with no change in compensation or benefits. The motion was approved 4-3 on Thursday, May 13. 

This has been one of the most challenging times the Des Moines School District has ever experienced. Since March 2020, the school district and this board have gone through a long and difficult process of making decisions, in the midst of a pandemic, to balance the health concerns of our community with the educational needs of our students. While we cannot discuss details of personnel actions taken by the Board, we look forward to continuing to work with our Superintendent along with our talented staff. As we plan for the start of a more normal school year in August, our focus will be on our students’ outcomes, their success after graduation, and our vision to being the model for urban education.

We do our best at being transparent and owning our mistakes. There was a miscommunication about the closed and open sessions concerning the Superintendent contract. While the closed and open sessions were posted in a manner that met all legal requirements, we realized the open session wasn’t posted in a way that provided the public and media with the information needed. Our communications team wasn’t made aware that there was an open session and didn’t have the opportunity to alert their media partners in a timely fashion. While we are unable to speak about the performance evaluation of an employee of the district, we realize there was confusion as to when the open session was to begin and communication wasn’t provided to the media in a timely matter. We apologize for this as it wasn’t the intent of the board to make anyone feel as if we were hiding anything during this process. The last year has been unlike any other. We look forward to the work ahead of us and our continued work to make this district great for our students and staff.