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Strategic Planning Core TeamStrategic Planning Core Team

The following individuals will serve as members of our Strategic Plan Core Planning Team. This group is made up of district staff, external educational partners, civic leaders, corporate executives, non-profit organizers, members of the faith community, philanthropists, and, most importantly, students. In the area below you will find a short biography about our team and photos from a time when they were students, now lifelong learners. We believe this group is diverse in opinion and lived experience and is composed of people eager to work collaboratively to chart the course for our district’s long-term success. We are hopeful that, together, this group can generate a plan that will inspire and unite our community in our service of students.

Board Members

Weldon

Ryan Weldon

ACSD Board of Education Director & current Ankeny parent

Ryan Weldon graduated from Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville, Iowa in 2002. Following this, he attended the University of Northern Iowa for a year and then moved to Des Moines. Ryan has a diverse career working in the insurance industry, co-founding a men’s fashion subscription box company, and now working for a digital marketing agency. He attended Liberty University for a Bachelor’s in Leadership and Management. He also serves as the Music Director for Journey Church. Ryan considers himself a disciplined, purpose-filled leader who is passionate about building strategic, relational solutions to complex problems who is currently serving his first term on the Board of Education. Ryan Weldon and his wife, Regina, have four children and have lived in Ankeny since 2010.
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Amy Tagliareni

ACSD Board of Education Director & current Ankeny parent

Amy Tagliareni is committed to helping the Ankeny Community School District meet the needs of EVERY student, teacher, and staff member. Tagliareni holds a B.S. in public relations from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a M.S. in Sport Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She is currently studying Web Development at DMACC’s Ankeny campus, serves as Assistant Executive Director of the non-profit Opportunity on Deck, and is on the Des Moines Marathon’s executive committee. She previously served as vice president of the Terrace PTO. Amy is excited to work with the district to ensure Ankeny is hiring great teachers and staff and taking care of an ever-growing and diversifying student population. Amy and her husband, John, have called Ankeny home for eleven years. They have one daughter, Erica, who attends school in the Ankeny Community School District.

District Staff

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Dr. Erick Pruitt

ACSD Superintendent & current Ankeny parent

Dr. Erick Pruitt has more than 20 years experience as a teacher, principal, and district leader. Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in the development of district strategic plans in collaboration with numerous stakeholder, prioritizing the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the overall district vision. Dr. Pruitt is an advocate for and leader in the development of high-quality instruction and relationship building with all stakeholders. He is a native of Indianapolis, Indianapolis and a proud United State Marine Corps veteran. Dr. Pruitt earned his B.A. in Elementary Education from Purdue University, his M. Ed. from Loyola University Chicago, and his Ed. D. from National Louis University. Dr. Pruitt has been married to his wife, Kenya for 26 years, and they are the proud parents of five children, daughter India, son James, son David, daughter Anaiah, and daughter Imani.
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Dr. Darin Haack

ACSD Chief Officer of Operations & current Ankeny parent 

Darin Haack is a graduate of Ankeny High School and has been a teacher and administrator in Ankeny Schools since 2003. Prior to his career in Ankeny, he was an instrumental music teacher at Allison-Bristow (now North Butler) schools and North Polk schools. In Ankeny, Darin taught 5th grade band for one year, high school band at AHS for nine years, was the Associate Principal at Centennial High School for six years, and is in his third year as Chief Officer of Operations. Darin attended the University of Northern Iowa (Bachelor of Music in Music Education), Boston University (Master of Music in Music Education), the University of Iowa (Master of Arts in Educational Leadership), Iowa State University (Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies), and will complete a specialist degree in education at Drake University in the fall of 2021. Darin and his wife, Kimberly, have two daughters, one in 9th grade and one in 11th grade.
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Jennifer Jamison

ACSD Chief Financial Officer & Board Secretary & current Ankeny parent 

Jennifer Jamison is in her third year as Chief Financial Officer and Board Secretary for the Ankeny Community School District. Prior to that, she spent six years as the district’s Director of Business Services. Included in her over twenty years of school finance experience are positions in two smaller Iowa districts serving six years as a School Business Official, and seven years as a Staff Accountant at Des Moines Public Schools. Her career began at the Polk-Des Moines Taxpayers Association, a small non-profit now known as the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa. Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s in Finance from Central Missouri State University, where she graduated cum laude. She also earned an Accounting Certificate from Simpson College and is a graduate of the Iowa School Business Management Academy. She is currently attending the University of Iowa’s MBA program, where she plans to pursue an Analytics Certificate. Jennifer and her husband, Darryl, have one child still attending Ankeny schools and two children who are graduates of Ankeny Centennial High School who will both graduate from college in December 2021. In addition to her work and studies, Jennifer serves as the Secretary of the Ankeny School Foundation.
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Dr. Jen Lindaman

ACSD Chief Academic Officer 

Dr. Jen Lindaman grew up in Ackley, Iowa and, after, graduating from Ackley-Geneva High School, attended the University of Northern Iowa majoring in mathematics and computer science with an emphasis in secondary education. Upon graduation, she served as a math and computer science teacher at North Tama High School; during this time she earned her Master’s degree in educational administration, also from the University of Northern Iowa. After eight years at North Tama, Jen and her family moved to Ankeny where she served as the Ankeny High School Associate Principal for eleven years. In 1999, she began her doctoral work at Drake University earning her Specialist in Education and her Doctor of Education. In 2007, Jen became executive director of secondary education for the Ankeny Community School District. In 2013, she opened Ankeny Centennial High School where she served as principal for 7 years. Jen, and her husband, Cade have been married thirty-two years and live in Ankeny. They have two sons, Dirk and Drew (both Ankeny High School graduates), two daughter-in-laws, Becca and Maggie, and three grand-children, Wyatt, Rory, and Oaklee.
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Ken Morris, Jr.

ACSD Director of Equity & current Ankeny parent 

Ken Morris, Jr. is a graduate of Monmouth College (BA), Western Illinois University(MS) and is currently a doctoral student in the school of education at Drake University. Ken has a wide variety of experience with diversity, equity and inclusion that spans K-12 through public and private colleges and universities. He’s had leadership roles in diversity offices and has worked as a student affairs professional. While working in student affairs Ken co-authored a chapter in the “New Directions for Student Services” publication called “Making Meaning through Multicultural Initiatives.” Ken also serves as a commissioner for the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans which is a division of the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

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Amber Mortenson

Instructional Coach

Amber Mortenson has been a part of Ankeny’s teaching community since 2006. I have taught in the classroom–kindergarten through third grade. I’ve also been a Literacy Leader in multiple buildings and now an Instructional Coach at Prairie Trail Elementary. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Northern Iowa and my Master’s Degree from Drake University.
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Laura Ryan

Principal of Northeast Elementary

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Dr. Jill Urich

Principal of Ankeny Centennial & current Ankeny parent 

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Jim Wichman

Principal of Prairie Ridge Middle & current Ankeny parent

Jim Wichman is a twenty-four year veteran of school administration. Jim considers serving students and families through public education as his way of giving back to the system that has provided so much to him throughout his life and career. Jim and his wife, Amy, have three children, two of whom are in their 20s and one who is a freshman at Northview Middle School. Jim is proud to serve on the Prairie Ridge team that strives for all students to have a sense of belonging and that offers over twenty after-school opportunities based upon student interests.
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Arin Renaud

Social Worker at Southview Middle School & current Ankeny parent 

Arin Renaud is in her 8th year serving as a school social worker for the Ankeny Community School District. Arin graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Master’s in Social Work in 2005. Prior to working in Ankeny, Arin worked for the Department of Human Services, as well as Des Moines Public Schools. Arin and her husband live in Ankeny; Arin has 4 daughters and 3 step-children who all attend Ankeny schools.
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Sarah Murphy

Activities Secretary at Ankeny High School & current Ankeny parent 

Sarah Murphy has lived in Ankeny for fourteen years and has served Ankeny students, parents and staff in various school secretarial roles for the past ten years. Currently, she can be found in the Ankeny High School activities office assisting with all things athletic, activity, and club-related. She is grateful for the opportunity to play a role in the success of students or student-athletes and is forever proud to be a Hawk. Sarah and her husband, John, and have three children, Madeleine, Emmie and Max. Madeleine graduated from Ankeny High School in 2021 and now attends Clemson University. Emmie is a junior at Ankeny High School, and Max is in eighth grade at Southview Middle School.
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Renee Potts

Associate at Northview Middle School, community leader & current Ankeny parent

Renee Potts earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Iowa State University in 1988 where she was part of the Elementary Education student group and involved with the Black Student Union. She earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University in 1998. In 2018, Renee retired from teaching after years of service with the Chandler Unified School District in Arizona as her family moved back to Iowa for her husband’s job. Renee is currently involved with her community by working as teacher associate at Northview Middle School where she is also a sponsor for the Northview Student Union Club. Renee is a member of the Ankeny Rotary Evening Club, a core team member of AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy), Vice President of the Ankeny Community Network, Board Member for the MLK Scholarship Fund, and a Board Member for the Iowa State University Memorial Union. She has completed the application for graduate level membership with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated.
Dagel

Jason Dagel

Secondary Instructional Coach & current ACSD parent

Jason Dagel is a district parent and educator with twenty-three total years of teaching experience, twenty of them in Ankeny. He has been a special educator, co-teaching in a variety of disciplines and serving students in direct instruction classes. He has served on various leadership committees, and has served in leadership in the Ankeny Education Association for more than fifteen years of his time in Ankeny. He has also provided professional learning opportunities for metro area districts. He participates as a member of the handbell choir at the Ankeny First United Methodist Church and volunteers regularly with various community and metro area organizations.
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Tera Severseike

Elementary Teacher

Tera Severseike has been a professional educator for thirty years. She currently teaches fourth grade at Northeast Elementary and serves on numerous district and building committees. She is an executive board member of Ankeny Education Association, Tera and her husband, Greg Severseike, an Ankeny teacher and coach, have two children, Garret and Morgan, both of whom are Centennial High School graduates who were extremely involved during their time in Ankeny.
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Jessie Dirks

Chief Officer of Legal Affairs & Strategic Initiatives (Facilitator)

Jessica Dirks is currently the Chief Officer of Legal Affairs & Strategic Initiatives for the Ankeny Community School District, a role she moved into after serving as the district’s Chief Officer of Human Resources & Legal Affairs. Prior to her work in the district, Jessica served as director at national education non-profit, TNTP, where she advised state education agencies and school districts across the country on human resource, academic, and policy issues. She also developed academic enrichment programs for the Harris County (Texas) Department of Education, practiced labor and employment law at the Houston, Texas office of international law firm, Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P., and taught 8th and 11th grade social studies at a Title I school in Houston. Jessie holds a B.A. in Sociology, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Rice University in Houston, Texas and a Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law. She attended Ankeny schools throughout her childhood and graduated from Ankeny High School. Jessie lives in Ankeny and enjoys regularly volunteering with a variety of community organizations.

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Justin Herrick

English Teacher at Ankeny High School

Justin Herrick is a secondary English teacher with more than fourteen years of experience in the classroom. He is currently working on a PhD in education with a research focus on professional growth and barriers common to experienced teachers during development. He is entering his second year at Ankeny High School where he teaches language arts.

Students

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Charlie Brink

Student School Board Representative & Centennial High School senior 

Charlie Brink is a junior and this year’s student school board representative for Ankeny Centennial High School. She participates in cross country, track, show choir, chess club, environmental conservation club, and service club. She attended the RYLA leadership conference this past summer and is active in her church.
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Evie Neller

Student School Board Representative & Ankeny High School sophomore 

Evie Neller is a sophomore and this year’s student school board representative from Ankeny High School. When she is not at school or doing her homework, Evie spends her free time playing the piano; she is self-taught and has been playing for about six years. Evie likes finding new songs to learn or figure out by ear which she then shows her family. In addition to playing piano, Evie enjoys baking and sketching.

Community Members

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Aubrey Alvarez

Executive Director, EAT Greater Des Moines;  Leadership Team Member, Iowa Hunger Coalition; current Ankeny parent 

Aubrey Alvarez is co-founder and Executive Director of Eat Greater Des Moines, a nonprofit organization launched in 2013 that unites the community in providing quality food access for all through connection, advocacy, and collaboration. With an inclination towards action and willingness to “try it out”, Eat Greater Des Moines has quickly been recognized as a leader in food system development. Aubrey is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where she earned a B.A. in Health Promotion, and Drake University, where she earned a Master’s in Public Administration. She is also a member of the board with Les Dames d’Escoffier of Greater Des Moines, Hunger Free Dallas County Coalition, Hunger Free Warren County, Regional Food System Working Group, and Wallace Centers of Iowa. She also is active in the OpportUNITY Food Insecurity Work Group, Iowa Hunger Coalition, and Food Hub Managers Working Group. She was selected as a 2019 Health Connect Fellow, 2020 Les Dames d’Escoffier Women of Purpose nominee, and is a 2015 graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.
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Joey Beech

Executive Director, Ankeny Economic Development Corporation; community leader serving on a wide-variety of boards 

Nanette (Joey) Beech, is Executive Director of Ankeny Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). In this role Joey works with area businesses, local government and regional organizations to support and grow business and industry in the Ankeny area. From Fortune 500’s to startups, Joey supports existing businesses and helps attract new firms to the area. Prior to joining AEDC, Joey spent over twenty years in the financial services industry. Her passion for helping others reach financial security led her to write, A Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance. Joey is a graduate of the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities. She and her husband have two adult children.
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Blake Campbell

Senior Director of State Operations, Iowa Best Buddies; Commissioner, Governor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities; Commissioner, Ankeny Human Rights Commission; Ankeny High School Alum; current Ankeny parent 

Blake Campbell was named Senior Director of State Operations for Best Buddies International in 2018. Campbell previously served as the state director of Best Buddies in Iowa from 2016-2018. Blake graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Elementary Education and received his Master of Public Administration from Drake University. From 2008-2016, Blake served as the Director of Alumni Relations at Drake University. A 2007-08 graduate and past-chair of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, Blake was recognized as a member of the Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2009. He has served on the Governor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities and is currently appointed as a Commissioner for the City of Ankeny’s Human Rights Commission. An Ankeny High School graduate and current resident, Blake and his wife, Sarah, have six children.
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Rob Denson

President, DMACC; community leader serving on a wide-variety of boards

Rob Denson was appointed the fourth President of Des Moines Area Community College on November 1, 2003. Rob grew up on an Iowa farm and graduated from high school in Marengo, Iowa. Rob has a B.S. in Political Science and Economics and an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University. He worked for Iowa State as an Assistant Dean for three years before moving to Florida to serve as an Assistant Dean of Students. Rob graduated from Law School at the University of Florida in 1979, and was an Associate University Attorney before operating his own law practice. In 1996, he became Assistant to the President and Dean for Institutional Advancement at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida; he then returned to Iowa in 1998 as President of Northeast Iowa Community College. Rob is active on a number of local and nationals boards, including the United Way of Central Iowa Board, National Board of Gateway to College, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Executive Committee, the National STEM connector Innovation Task Force, the National Leadership Council of Opportunity Nation, Iowa Student Loan Liquidity, the Iowa Innovation Council, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Rob and his wife, Pat, have two children and five grandchildren.

Doruska

Sara Doruska

Pharmacist; Leadership Team, AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy); current Ankeny parent

After working for twenty-years as a pharmacist, including 12 years as a clinical pharmacist for the VA in Des Moines, Sara Doruska left employment to become a stay at home mom and community volunteer. Sara has been a parent of one or more ACSD students since 2002. For the past 6 years, Sara has taught ESL classes to elderly former refugees through Lutheran Services of Iowa and has been an active member of the AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) core team at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church. Sara’s AMOS activities include participating in or leading teams to lobby for mental health funding; producing and presenting the 2017 “A Needs and Services Assessment of Ankeny”; organizing community conversations on mental health, flooding and human services; and providing racial justice education. Sara recently completed terms on the Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Foundation Board and the ACSD Community Engagement Advisory Council.
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Kevin Fangman

Chief Academic Officer, Heartland AEA 

Kevin Fangman is the Chief Academic Officer at Heartland AEA. In this role, he coordinates work around the agency’s priority service areas to ensure equitable and efficient allocation and alignment of agency resources, programs and services with districts’ and nonpublic schools. He is a member of Heartland AEA’s Agency Planning Council and co-facilitator of the Learning & Leadership Planning Council.Prior to coming to Heartland AEA, Kevin was the Deputy Director of the Division of PK-12 Education at the Iowa Department of Education. In this capacity, he provided leadership and oversight for the implementation of all federal programs, Iowa Core, school accreditation, practitioner preparation and Iowa Learning Online. He also served eight months as Acting Director of the Department, providing oversight of all agency functions. Kevin also has experience as an elementary educator, literacy consultant and elementary principal.
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Sandi Hurtado-Peters

Senior Fiscal & Policy Analyst, State of Iowa; Board Treasurer, Latino Center of Iowa; current Ankeny parent 

Sandi Hurtado-Peters has worked in the public sector for her entire professional career, serving as a state fiscal and policy analyst primarily in the state budget offices of the States of Missouri and Iowa. She has a son who is currently a senior at Centennial High School, and she is very involved in his school activities as a coordinator and volunteer. Sandi has also been involved in various organizations in the community, including the Des Moines Youth Hockey Association, the Des Moines Marlins Foundation, and the Latino Center of Iowa, an organization dedicated to educating people about the diversity within Latino community and culture.
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David Jones

City Manager, City of Ankeny

David Jones became Ankeny City Manager on October 1, 2013. As City Manager, he is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the City, including the $150 million budget, hiring and supervising department directors, and implementing the strategic priorities and policies of the Mayor and City Council. Jones started his public administration career in the City Manager’s Office in Cleveland, Tennessee. He has worked as a County Administrator in Illinois and Iowa. Jones holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s in Public Administration.
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Laura Luetje

Managing Partner, Lamberti, Gocke, & Luetje;  Ex-Officio President, Ankeny School Foundation; Ankeny Chamber Citizen of the Year (2020); current Ankeny parent 

Laura Luetje is the Managing Partner of Lamberti, Gocke and Luetje, P.C., an Ankeny-based law firm. In this role, Laura is the firm’s chief handler of all marriage dissolution/divorce cases, while simultaneously serving clients in numerous other areas of legal need. Since receiving her Bachelor’s of Science at the University of Northern Iowa in Criminology and Sociology in 2002 and obtaining her Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 2005, Laura has been very involved in professional associations including the Iowa State Bar Association and Polk County Bar Association. She is passionate about and involved with the Ankeny community, including through involvement in the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce, the Ankeny Civil Service Commission, the Ankeny School District Foundation, and the Ankeny Rotary Club. She currently resides in Ankeny with her husband and two children.
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Denny Presnall

Director, DMACC Board; former ACSD board member; community leader serving on a wide-variety of board

Denny Presnall worked for the Iowa Farm Bureau for thirty-six years, including a decade as the Executive Director and Secretary/Treasurer. During this period, he served as the Senior Vice President of the Farm Bureau Life Company, Mutual Company, and FBL Financial Group. Denny served on the Ankeny Community School District Board of Education for fifteen years and was on the board for the Iowa high School Athletic Assocation representing School Boards of Iowa. He currently serves on the DMACC Board, is a director on the Lincoln Savings Bank Board, and chairs the Coaches VS. Cancer Board. Denny graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Business Education and taught high school for seven years. Denny and his wife, Bev, have three sons who graduated from Ankeny schools, as well as seven grandchildren.
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Scott Rains

Lead Pastor at Lutheran Church of Hope; current Ankeny parent 

Scott Rains grew up on a farm outside New Providence, Iowa and graduated from Eldora-New Providence High School. After earning a Communication degree from Central College, Scott began work as a Youth Pastor in Des Moines. Scott married Wendy in 1997 and moved to Portland, OR where Scott earned his Master of Divinity from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. While in seminary, Scott joined the staff of an ELCA church plant, Community of Christ Church. From 2001-2006, Scott was the pastor of Buffalo Friends Church near Davenport. An avid sports fan and movie buff (both of which are best enjoyed with chips and a perfectly melted combination of Rotel and Velveeta), Scott is passionate about the local church. Scott believes that being the campus pastor at Hope Ankeny – Lutheran Church of Hope’s first satellite – provides an incredible opportunity to lead a congregation that is Christ-centered, culturally relevant and exploding with creativity; God’s word in Isaiah 43:19 is the daily experience at Hope Ankeny, Scott and Wendy have six children, Dalton, Hadley, Kiley, Kemble, Shayden and Saphron.
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Jon Sheldahl

Chief Administrator, Heartland AEA

Dr. Jon Sheldahl is Chief Administrator of Heartland Area Education Agency. As Chief Administrator, Jon oversees special education services, instructional services, professional learning, library and digital resources and technology support provided by Heartland Area Education Agency to over 147,000 students and 10,700 educators in Greater Des Moines. He was previously chief administrator at Great Prairie Area Education Agency and a former district superintendent. Jon earned a Bachelor’s from the University of Iowa and Master’s and Doctorate from Northern Arizona University.
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Sarah Wiser

Executive Director, Ankeny Service Center; current Ankeny parent 

Sarah Wiser is the Executive Director of the Ankeny Service Center. In this role, she is responsible for managing operations, developing partnerships, educating others about the organization, and, most importantly, being of service to the underserved in the community. Her non-profit career began almost 15 years ago in Rockford, Illinois, where she worked in development at Northern Illinois Hospice. Prior to starting her position at the Ankeny Service Center, she spent a number of years as Foundation Director for Holy Family Catholic School Foundation in Des Moines. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in Human Services, as well as a certificate in Nonprofit Management. She has extensive experience in grant writing, graphic design, event planning, and campaign management. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, reading, writing, decorating, making lists, and fostering dogs.