DMPS Announces New Members of Leadership Team

newleaders115Des Moines Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of new administrators and school leaders beginning in the 2015-16 school year. Todays’ announcement includes a new assistant director of Central Campus, a new director of Orchard Place, and Director of Elementary School Services.

“These individuals are terrific additions to our leadership team at Des Moines Public Schools, each of whom will contribute to the success of our students and teachers,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of DMPS. “Gail Soesbe is a proven school leader at DMPS and the right person to lead Orchard Place. Aiddy Phomvisay and Michelle Lettington are tremendous leaders that bring a wealth of successful leadership experience to DMPS and will play key roles in moving our district forward.”

Aiddy Phomvisay, the principal of Marshalltown High School, will become the assistant director of Central Campus. He replaces Julie Rosin, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

Central Campus, located at 1800 Grand Avenue, is home to Iowa’s premier career and technical educational programs. The school, which is attended by students from all DMPS high schools as well as several metro districts, is home to nationally recognized programs in several areas including aviation technology, marine biology, culinary arts, fashion design, film and broadcasting, and much more.

Phomvisay has been principal of Marshalltown High School since 2011. Prior to that he spent six years as associate principal of Valley High School in West Des Moines and began his career in education as a social studies teacher at Ames Community Schools.

He was honored as the Secondary Principal of the Year in 2014 by the School Administrators of Iowa. That same year he was also presented with the Passport to Prosperity Award by the Iowa International Center.

Phomvisary earned a BS in sociology and a MS in education administration from Iowa State University. He also holds a superintendent licensure.

Gail Soesbe, the assistant principal at East High School, will become the new principal of Orchard Place. She replaces Shari Thompson, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

Orchard Place, located at 5412 SW 9th Street, provides instruction for students who are residents of the Orchard Place Campus, a psychiatric medical institute for children facility. The school serves students in grades 4-12 in smaller classroom settings with the goals of improving each child’s psychological, emotional and academic functioning, returning the child to their community, and reuniting the child with families.

Soesbe has been the assistant principal at East since 2009. Prior to that she spent 16 years as a school leader at DMPS, including dean and assistant principal at Roosevelt High School, assistant principal at Lincoln High School, and co-principal at Weeks Middle School. She began her education career as a teacher with Des Moines Catholic schools, the Bartow County school district in Georgia, and at Hiatt Middle School.

She earned a BS in elementary education from Drake University and a MS in educational leadership from Iowa State University.

Michelle Lettington, the executive director of curriculum and professional learning at the Waukee Community School District, will become Director of Elementary School Services.

She joins the district’s Office of Schools as part of a significant effort by DMPS to improve the supervision of and support to principals, and raise the quality of teaching and learning in schools. Last June, DMPS was one of 14 school districts in the nation awarded grants by The Wallace Foundation as part of the new national Principal Supervisor Initiative.

Lettington has spent her career in education in the Des Moines metro. Prior to her current position, she was also the principal of South Middle School and principal of Maple Grove Elementary School in Waukee. She began her career as a 5th grade teacher in Waukee. In addition, she was a principal or assistant principal at three different elementary school in Ankeny and was the dean of students at Morris Elementary School in Des Moines.

She earned a BA in early childhood/elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa and a MA in elementary education from Viterbo University. She also holds a superintendent licensure.