—by Todd Thorson

Roland-Story has a new superintendent, effective July 1, 2014. After months of committee work, meetings and a daily interview process that occured this past week and a half that included four viable candidates, the R-S school board agreed to offer Matt Patton the new superintendent contract. The decision was made over the weekend, and formally approved at Monday night’s (Feb. 10) regular board meeting. Patton, who is currently the superintendent at Baxter Community School District, has accepted the position.

Patton, who has been at Baxter since 2011, has also been a principal at Pella (2007-2011), Mount Ayr (2005-2007) and Southern Cal (2002-2005), all in Iowa. He began his career as a teacher/coach at Fairfield, Iowa (1996-2002), where he was born and raised. Matt’s wife Nicole works at AEA in Johnston. He has three children, daughters Hannah, 14, and Rachel, 11, and son Luke, 6. Matt enjoys spending time with his family. His hobbies include hunting and "anything athletic", the latter of which includes a current interest in triathlon competitions.

"I am both honored and excited to serve as the next superintendent for the Roland-Story Community School District," said Patton. "Through the interview process I was able to gain a sincere appreciation for the sense of pride that the communities (of Roland and Story City) have in their schools. Working together we will build on the already strong academic and extra-curricular traditions and continue to prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow. The Patton family is looking forward to beginning a new adventure this summer as Roland-Story Norsemen!"

Patton is a 1994 graduate of Iowa State University with a B.S. in History. He received his Master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Iowa in 2001. Patton was also certified in Advanced Studies, and received his Superintendent’s license from UNI in 2011.

Current Roland-Story Superintendent Mike Billings, who is stepping down after 15 years, believes the community and the staff will like him. "He is experienced and very organized," Billings said. "Since we are in the AEA, I have been able to attend meetings with him. I have always been impressed with the way he handles himself in those settings."

Patton’s professional objectives include creating and maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and staff, ensuring that the district is staffed with innovative, compassionate and motivated educators, and maximizing the operating budget with a priority on providing resources for teaching and learning.

The other candidates interviewed included Wapello Superintendent Michael Peterson, Central Lee Principal Rusty Shockley and Grundy Center Superintendent Cassandra Murra. Murra, however, withdrew from consideration following her interview on Jan. 30, as she accepted the superintendent’s job at Knoxville.

We welcome Matt and his family to our school district and wish him well in his transition, and we look forward to his arrival this summer.