Green Hills AEA Board of Directors Announces Finalists for Lead Director Position | Education
The Green Hills Area Education Agency Board of Directors is closing in on a new chief administrator.
The current Chief Administrator, Lolli Haws, plans to retire after this fiscal year.
The council announced three finalists for the job on Tuesday, who are to be interviewed today.
“The board reviewed applications from 26 candidates and identified five candidates for first-round interviews, which took place March 23-24,” a news release from the agency said. “At the end of the first-round interviews, the board selected three outstanding educational leaders for interviews with the finalists.”
Dr. Kim Buryanek is the associate superintendent of the Sioux City Community School District in Sioux City. She is responsible for the educational process of nearly 15,000 students and the work of nearly 2,500 staff members in 23 school attendance centres.
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Over the past 10 years, the district has celebrated many accomplishments, including significant gains in academic achievement and graduation rates. The district has been labeled one of the nation’s 100 Original Future-Ready Districts and a Next-Generation School District by the United States Department of Education and the White House.
Students and the community benefited from 17 school construction projects. The district has implemented progressive programs in specialized elementary schools, exploratory STEM-focused offerings in middle school, and more than 30 Pathways to the Future in vocational academy high school offerings.
Buryanek was named the 2020 Central Office Administrator of the Year by Iowa School Administrators. She currently serves on the Iowa State Assessment System Advisory Committee and serves as National Future Ready Schools Advisor for District Leadership.
She began her career in education as a high school English teacher before becoming a vice principal at a high school in Sidney, Montana; a high school principal in Anaconda, Montana; and a 6-12 manager at West Sioux in Hawarden. She has been an adjunct professor teaching online classes for Northwestern College in Orange City and teaches seminars for the Iowa Principal Leadership Academy through Prairie Lakes AEA.
Buryanek holds a doctorate in educational leadership and political studies from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from South Dakota State University, and a bachelor’s degree from University of South Dakota. She is affiliated with many professional and community organizations. She, her husband and daughter live in Sioux City.
Dr. Jason Plourde is the Executive Director of Universal Services & Supports at Green Hills Area Education Agency, where he directs, oversees, and supports all areas of curriculum and instruction, including professional learning, school improvement, vocational and technical education and several basic counseling services.
He dedicated 28 years to public education in southwestern Iowa, receiving several notable professional honors and achieving accomplishments throughout his tenure. His leadership roles include serving as a former high school principal, building administrator for elementary, middle and high school, as well as a talented and gifted math-science teacher and para-educator and d Special Education in Council Bluffs Community Schools. Prior to Council Bluffs Schools, Dr. Plourde was a special education teacher with Loess Hills AEA 13 in a special education program for students with behavioral challenges.
Plourde is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University, earning a K-8 degree in education with a major in special education and advanced degrees in administration, leadership, and educational management PreK- 12. During his career, he has received numerous awards, including the National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation for Iowa (2008) and the Promising Professional Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (2010).
The former is a national-level honor for impressive accomplishments as a “role model for state and nation” and, more importantly, for what the nominators believe the nominee is likely to accomplish in the future. This rare and distinguished award requires nominations from the superintendent and school board, with final approval from the state board of education. The second is a college-level honor awarded for exemplary achievement in their field. The prestigious award recognizes recipients for their significant achievements within their profession, including their thesis research, as well as their potential for future impact.
One of the primary leadership goals continually promoted by Plourde is to ensure that Green Hills AEA creates and nurtures a positive staff culture with high performing teams that provide unparalleled service, support and advocacy on behalf of every child. .
Dr. David VanHorn is executive director of teaching and learning at Southwest Metro Intermediate District #288 in Shakopee, Minnesota. As Executive Director, he is responsible for instructional technology, communications, professional development, adult education and e-learning.
Previously, he held various positions for Green Hills AEA for 29 years. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of Specialized Services at AEA. In his final year in this position, he received the J. Frank Vance Distinguished Leadership for Outstanding Leadership in Special Education Award. While at AEA, he served as Associate Administrator, Acting Chief Administrator, Director of Educational and Media Services, Director of Special Education, Supervisor of School Psychological Services, and School Psychologist.
VanHorn earned a Ph.D. in Counseling and Psychological Services from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1994. He received an award from the American Psychological Association for his thesis work in the area of Attention Deficit Disorder with hyperactivity. His Master of Education in School Psychology was awarded by the same university in 1988. His Bachelor’s degree in Psychology was awarded by the University of Southern Indiana.
He has led or participated in a number of substantive projects at the AEA and State level. This includes leading the development of Iowa’s technology plan and the suicide prevention and postvention module used across the state. He has held positions on the Governor’s Council for Early ACCESS and the Governor’s STEM Council. At the AEA level, the work of VanHorn and his teams resulted in improved teaching practices for IEP students and a federal grant focused on training new school psychologists.
VanHorn is passionate about student and adult learning, children’s mental health issues, and developing leaders. He and his wife, Dr. Elaine Hoversten, a clinical psychologist, have five adult children.