Two Veteran Educators Named New Leaders at DMPS

Des Moines Public Schools will add two veteran educators to leadership roles in secondary education. The district welcomes a new Director of Secondary Instruction, and a familiar face will take the helm as East High School Principal.


East High School principal Jill Versteeg.

East High School principal Jill Versteeg.

Jill Versteeg will be the next principal of East High School, one of the largest high schools in the state. Versteeg takes over for Leslie Morris, who retired in the Fall. Versteeg has been serving as Interim Principal since Morris’s departure.

Versteeg has almost two decades of experience in the field of education, including classroom instruction and teacher coaching in neighboring Johnston Community School District. She served as the director of special programs at North Polk Community School District, and she started work at East High School as an associate principal in 2018.

“My leadership style is collaborative and one that is built on trust,” said Versteeg. “I want to partner with families for the benefit of our incredible East High School students to help them grow and develop into amazing adults and contributors to our society. That is what For the Service of Humanity is all about and I would love to continue to build on that vision for our school.”

Versteeg has a bachelor’s degree in education, health education, and special education from the University of Northern Iowa. Versteeg completed her master’s degree in education at Morningside College in Sioux City, received her principal licensure from the University of Northern Iowa, and continues her studies at Drake University.

Taylor Corley will be the next Director of Secondary Instruction at Des Moines Public Schools, overseeing teaching and English Language Learning in the district’s five high schools and 11 middle schools. Corley fills the new position, which is a combination of the duties of positions recently vacated by Sarah Dougherty and Pablo Ortega.

Corley started her career in the classroom, teaching grades 5 – 7 in Denver Public Schools, and served for two years in Johannesburg, South Africa, teaching 4th grade for the American International School of Johannesburg.

She was the school director and corps member advisor for Teach for America in Phoenix, AZ, and Atlanta, GA. Corley also worked as a senior instructional coach at Uplift Education in Dallas, TX, developing a start-up centralized network coaching program to certify and support K-12 charter school teachers. She was the director of literacy at KIPP: Indy Public Schools College Prep Middle in Indianapolis, IN. Corley most recently served in Indianapolis Public Schools as the English as a Second Language Specialist and the English as a New Language Senior Coordinator.

Corley earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Drake University, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado – Denver, and a master’s degree in organization and leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, NY.

Versteeg and Corley will begin their duties pending DMPS School Board approval.