Clarke Schools is ready for the new school year and is excited about the positive changes on the horizon. To help usher in those changes, there are some new faces in the district that will help Clarke continue to address changing needs.
Lindsay Rains comes to Clarke as the new Special Education Director for the district. Born and raised in the Des Moines metro area, Lindsay taught for the Des Moines school district before taking on the role of Special Ed Consultant with Heartland AEA. She spent several years working in different districts including West Des Moines, Dowling Catholic, and Norwalk. During her time with Heartland AEA, she earned a degree in administration. When the Special Ed Director position opened in Clarke County, Lindsay knew this was where she was meant to be.
“Special education needs are the same in rural areas as they are in the metro, but resources are harder to find,” Rains said. “We really want to ensure staff has a solid understanding of student behavior and how to de-escalate situations to create the best learning environment for everyone. It’s our hope to partner with the families so every child is successful to their maximum ability.”
Lindsay will be serving the entire district and looks forward to helping all teachers and staff gather the resources they need to meet the demands of the growing community.
Another new face that many may have already seen is the new elementary school Principal, Jody Kerchal. With Becca Kedley, the new assistant principal, Jody passed out popsicles at the Fern Underwood Family Aquatic Center on the most recent “Free Swim with Fern” night.
Originally hailing from Nebraska, Jody was a special education teacher in Lincoln for almost a decade before her family moved to Iowa. Starting as a consultant with Heartland AEA, she worked as special education support for Waukee Schools before earning her Masters in Administration and taking on various roles in the Des Moines Public School system, including Dean of Students for Edmunds and Lovejoy Elementary Schools and School Improvement Leader for Smouse Opportunity and Ruby Van Meter schools. During an interview for an elementary principal position in another district, Jody learned about the opening in Clarke Schools.
“Walking out of that first interview, I knew Clarke had everything I was looking for and I felt I could really bring some positive changes to the school,” said Kerchal. “I’m looking forward to building relationships with the students and their families, as well as with the staff. By spending time in the classrooms, we’ll be better able to support the teachers and meet the needs of all the children in the elementary school.”
Superintendent Steve Seid added,
“The way we have chosen to serve the kids in our schools dictates the kind of special people we look for to fill positions, and we’re really proud of the quality staff we’ve brought on. When we interviewed Jody and Lindsay, we knew the experiences they have and what they can bring to the table will go a long way toward continuing the growth and improvement of the district.”
When you see these new faces in the halls this school year, be sure to say hello and welcome them to Clarke Schools. We look forward to having their experience and expertise in serving the community.
For more additional information, contact Steve Seid, Clarke Community Schools Superintendent at 641-342-4969 or email: SSeid@clarke.k12.ia.us.