New Principal at North, New Interim H.S. Director for District

Ben Graeber

Benjamin Graeber is set to become the next principal at North High School.

North High School is welcoming a new principal. Benjamin Graeber takes over the leadership role for Michael Vukovich, who has accepted an appointment as Interim Director of High Schools.

Graeber brings more than a decade of experience as an English and journalism teacher at North and East high schools, and was most recently the School Improvement Leader at North. He has worked closely with multiple professional learning communities and last year helped North become a School For Rigor. Graeber is a Roosevelt High School graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies from Beloit College, and holds two Master’s degrees, one in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Washington and a Masters of Education Leadership from Drake University. In 2013, he was named the Rod Vahl Teacher of the Year by the Iowa High School Press Association.

“Ben Graeber has demonstrated tremendous passion for the North community through his years as a teacher and School Improvement Leader,” said Timothy Schott, Executive Director of Secondary Schools.  “His recent work developing North into a School For Rigor also positions him to move the North community forward.”

The Graeber family is well known in Des Moines Public Schools. His wife Amber is a districtwide Advanced Placement curriculum coordinator, and their children attend school in the district. Graeber’s parents were both DMPS school principals.

“I pursued this job because it is, without question, my dream job,” Graeber said. “The students are hungry to learn and they greatly appreciate educators who go the extra mile for them. I look forward to building and expanding on great work by my predecessors.”

Vukovich, who transitioned to his appointment as Interim Director of High Schools on July 1, has been principal at North High School for the past four years. He was previously North’s Vice Principal and School Improvement Leader. He also has experience at Hoover High School, where his roles included interim dean/vice principal, academic interventionist, and special education teacher as well as the head baseball coach. Vukovich has a Bachelor’s degree in History Education from Southern Illinois University and a Master’s degree in educational leadership from Iowa State University.

“Mike has demonstrated courageous leadership at North,” Schott said.  “His experience with leading North’s transition to a School For Rigor will be an essential asset to our administrative team.”

In the interest of having the strongest leadership team in place, Corey Harris will remain in his position as Director of Middle Schools where he has successfully cultivated and grown the DMPS middle school community in recent years.

“Corey is an outstanding leader,” Schott said. “His skill set and achievements in our middle schools were unmatched by any of the applicants for his position. We’re so thankful he’s agreed to keep driving and improving the middle school experience at DMPS for all students.”

Graeber’s new position will be considered by the school board at an upcoming meeting.