DMPS Names New Principals at Garton, Madison and Stowe Elementary Schools

Des Moines Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of three veteran educators in the district as new elementary school principals: Renita Lord at Garton Elementary School, Cory Heaberlin at Madison Elementary School, and Jennifer Williams at Stowe Elementary School.

“Renita, Cory and Jennifer are experienced educators in our district who are dedicated to our students and our community,” said Superintendent Tom Ahart. “I know they will work closely with our students, teachers and families to keep our schools moving forward.”

All three principals will officially begin their new roles on July 1, although each will be working on a transition plan with their new schools between now and then. Additional information on each new principal and school is as follows:

Garton Elementary, located 2820 E. 24th Street, is home to 564 students in grades K-5. Renita Lord replaces Jaynette Rittman, who is becoming the principal of Edmunds Elementary School. Lord has spent her entire education career in Des Moines, beginning as a Head Start teacher at Drake University in 1995. She has taught at McKinley, Granger-Mitchell (now South Union) and Morris elementary schools, and since 2010 has been the dean of students at Garton Elementary School. Lord has BS degrees in elementary education and early childhood education, both from Iowa State University, and a MS in educational leadership from Drake University. 

Madison Elementary is located at 806 Hoffman Avenue. It is home to 409 students in grades K-5. Cory Heaberlin replaces Marsha Kerper, who is becoming principal of Capitol View Elementary School. He is a graduate of Lincoln High School and has spent his education career with Des Moines Public Schools. He has been a special education teacher at Studebaker, King and Findley schools, a math leader at Brubaker Elementary School, and is currently the dean of students at Carver Elementary School. Heaberlin is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, where his commendations included the Bronze Star for Valor. He received his BS in elementary education from Iowa State University and his MS in educational leadership from Drake University. 

Stowe Elementary is located at 1411 E. 33rd Street. It is home to 362 students in grades K-5, and is an International Baccalaureate World School. Jennifer Williams is replacing Dawn Vetter, who is retiring at the end of the school year. Williams began her teaching career with the Cedar Rapids Community Schools in 1988. She joined DMPS in 1990 and has been a special education teacher at Stowe and Rice schools, was a K-12 special education curriculum facilitator and an elementary mathematics coach for the district, and since 2010 has been the school improvement leader at East High School. Williams is a graduate of East High School, and has a BS in elementary education from Iowa State University and a MA in education from Viterbo University.