Matt Smith to be Recommended as Interim Superintendent
Veteran DMPS Administrator Would Lead District for 2022-23 . . .
UPDATE: The Des Moines School Board voted unanimously at their April 5 meeting to approve Matt Smith as interim superintendent for 2022-23.
A veteran administrator at Des Moines Public Schools is being recommended to lead Iowa’s largest provider of PK-12 education next school year. The School Board will vote on naming Matt Smith, currently associate superintendent, as interim superintendent at their meeting on April 5. Smith would replace Dr. Thomas Ahart, who is stepping down as superintendent at the end of June, for the 2022-23 school year as the Board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
“Matt Smith brings experience as both a school and a district leader that will serve Des Moines Public Schools well during this period of transition,” said Dwana Bradley, chair of the Des Moines School Board. “I am pleased to be recommending him to my colleagues to take on this responsibility during an important time for our district.”
“Matt Smith has always shown enthusiasm for and optimism about our students, our staff and our schools,” added Teree Caldwell-Johnson, vice chair of the School Board. “As the Board begins the Superintendent search process, Matt will be a pivotal voice and advocate for DMPS.”
“I’m humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve as the interim superintendent for Des Moines Public Schools for the 2022-2023 school year,” said Smith. “We have a chance to unite as a student body, staff, and community to achieve unprecedented results as we relentlessly pursue equity and excellence in all endeavors.”
Smith is a native of Houston, TX and began his career in education in 1999 as a teacher with the Aldine Independent School District in North Houston. He left the classroom to pursue school administration, serving as a secondary school principal at both the middle and high school levels in Texas and Iowa before eventually moving to Des Moines as the principal at North High School.
In 2012, under Smith’s leadership, North High was selected as one of the College Board’s “Spotlight on Schools” for their efforts in increasing Advanced Placement courses and was named by the U.S. Department of Education as a “School of Focus” for its innovative use of School Improvement Grant funds for professional development.
Smith transitioned from building administration to the district office in 2013 as Executive Director of Learning Services before being promoted to Chief Schools Officer in 2014. During his tenure as Chief Schools Officer, DMPS received the prestigious Wallace Grant for the Principal Supervisor Initiative for which Smith served as Project Director and led the transformation of central office and the principal supervisor role to impact the instructional capacity of school leaders. In July of 2018, Smith was elevated to the position of Associate Superintendent at Des Moines Public Schools and continues to serve in that capacity today.