DMPS Names New Principals for the 2015-16 School Year

newprinicpals1214Des Moines Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of new principals for the 2015-16 school year at East High School as well as Brubaker, Cattell and Hillis elementary schools.

“I am very pleased to have each of these educators joining our leadership team at Des Moines Public Schools,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of DMPS. “We welcome the experience and abilities Leslie Morris brings to our district in becoming the new educational leader of East, and we are fortunate to have great in-house talent in promoting current DMPS educators to take on the role of elementary principals.”

In addition to the four appointments announced today, the school district will be hiring a new principal for The Downtown School later this Winter. John Johnson, the current principal, will be retiring at the end of the school year.

All four principals will officially begin their new roles on July 1, 2015 although will be working on transition planning with their new schools between now and then. Additional information on each new principal and school is as follows:

Leslie Morris, the principal of West High School in Waterloo, will become the principal of East High School.

East High School was founded in 1861 and has been at its present location since 1912. Located at 815 East 13th Street, it is the largest 9-12 school in Iowa with 2,294 students. The current principal, Steve Johns, will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Morris has been principal of Waterloo’s West High School since 2012. Prior to that she spent her educational career with the Collier County Public Schools, a district of more than 40,000 students in Florida. While at Collier County she was the principal of Lely High School, the principal of Golden Gate Middle School and the dean of Golden Gate High School.

Morris is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the School Administrators of Iowa. She is a certified school administrator in Florida, Iowa and Tennessee.

Morris earned a BS in physical education from the University of Tennessee and a MS in educational leadership from the University of South Florida. She has also attended the Harvard Institute for School Leadership and received International Baccalaureate Administrators certification from Rice University.

Mark Adams, the dean of students at Brubaker Elementary School, will become the school’s principal in July. He replaces Raul DeAnda, who has been the school’s interim principal since Amy Wiegmann left to direct the Smouse Opportunity School.

Adams has been with Des Moines Public Schools since 2007, first as a 5th grade teacher at Capitol View Elementary School before becoming dean of Brubaker in 2013. He was also a 6th grade teacher at Belvedere Academy in the Omaha Public Schools for six years. Adams earned his BS in elementary education from Grace University and a Masters in educational leadership from Iowa State University.

Located at 2900 East 42nd Street, Brubaker currently has 704 students in grades K-5.

Tiona Sandbulte, the school improvement leader at Harding Middle School, will be the new principal at Cattell Elementary School. She replaces Melinda Jones, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

Sandbulte has been with Des Moines Public Schools since 2008, first as a vocal music teacher and then the SIL at Harding. Prior to that she taught music at the Pella Christian Grade School in Pella, IA. She earned a BA in vocal music education from Central College and a Masters in educational leadership from the University of Iowa

Serving 397 students in grades K-5, Cattell is located at 3101 East 12th Street. 

Renee Gelfond, currently the dean of students at Cattell Elementary School, will be the new principal of Hillis Elementary School, replacing Beth Sloan who will be the principal of Moore Elementary School when it reopens next year.

Gelfond has been with Des Moines Public Schools since 2007. She has been dean at Cattell and Brubaker schools, a literacy leader at Carver and Greenwood schools, and a teacher at McKinley Elementary School. She began her career as an ELL and TAG teacher with Woodward-Granger Schools. Gelfond earned her BS in elementary education and her MA in applied linguistics from Iowa State University, and a MA in educational leadership from Drake University.

Located at 2401 56th Street, Hillis educates 534 students in grades K-5.