DES MOINES, Iowa -- There will be new leaders at a half dozen Des Moines schools this fall, but they won't all be new faces. Since June, the Des Moines Public School District has hired seven principals to take over at various elementary, middle, and high schools.
Victor “Kip” Coleman is now the principal at Meredith Middle School. He calls the promotion from vice principal a dream after working in the district for more than a decade.
“I've held the position from a teacher associate, campus monitor, behavior coach, vice principal, and, of course, now the principal of Meredith Middle School,” he says with a smile.
Coleman says his decision to stay with the district for so long was easy. He credits believing in the districts vision, which is one six other new district principals saw, too. Each one is a tenured employee of the district promoted from within.
“We know they're kind of in for the long haul,” says Des Moines Public Schools spokesperson Phil Roeder.
District officials say the promotions serve an intentional purpose. The district is in its first phase of initiating a Schools for Rigor program, which is realigning the way teachers are teaching in the classroom. Roeder says it's an effort to be more in sync with the Iowa Core curriculum; he believes having principals who understand the district's vision during times of change is key.
“It’s a logical move for us to bring people up through the ranks who understand the district and the schools and our approach to the curriculum.”
Keeping familiar faces in the hallways will bring stability to the learning environment amid change, and school leaders say it rewards employees who are looking to grow.
The principals who formerly held these titles have either retired or have been promoted to work in the district’s administrative offices. According to district leaders, the shift in assignments has opened roughly 200 teaching positions, which have been filled for the upcoming school year.