Fort Dodge Community School District

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FDCSD Names Dr. Derrick Joel New Superintendent

May 21, 2021

Three finalists were invited to interview in the District on Wednesday, May 19th. The formal interview day included a meeting with out-going Superintendent Dr. Jesse Ulrich and Business Manager Brandon Hansel, two formal interviews with stakeholder teams, a District and community tour and a formal interview with the school board. 

At a closed session board meeting at the end of the day, consultants from Grundmeyer Leader Services shared feedback from the interview teams. The consultants also shared Advanced Insights Profiles completed by the candidates with the school board members and facilitated the deliberation process.  After a review of all the data, the board chose to offer the position to Dr. Derrick Joel.

Joel currently serves as the Superintendent for the Raymond Central School District in Raymond, NE (since 2017).  In his role, he received $5 million in grant funds for the district, led a strategic planning process with the board, designed long-term facilities, safety and technology plans, and implemented 1:1 technology for K-12 students.  He also developed and modeled a 360 superintendent evaluation system which was the first of its kind in Nebraska.  His prior experience includes serving as the North Polk High School Principal (2015-17), Ankeny High School Assistant Principal (2012-15), Ankeny teacher (2009-12) and teacher/coach for Tri-County Schools in DeWitt, NE (2007-09). Joel is active in the community as a youth coach, education foundation member and TeamMates mentoring committee member. Nationally, he is part of the Urban Superintendents Association of America (USAA), Nebraska Council of School Administrators and Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association. 

Joel earned his Doctorate Degree from Drake University in 2017 with his dissertation focusing on job satisfaction of district superintendents in Iowa.  His Master’s Degree in Education Leadership was also issued from Drake.  In 2007, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Doane College in Secondary Education.

After accepting the job, Joel said, “I’m humbled and honored to be selected to lead the Fort Dodge School District. My family and I are excited to be part of the District and community.  It is bittersweet to leave the relationships we built in the Raymond Central School District but we look forward to building new relationships in Fort Dodge.”

Joel and his wife, Kari, have three children in grades pre-kindergarten, first grade and third grade. Kari was born and raised in the Rockwell, IA, area. They are excited to come back to Iowa to raise their children and be closer to family. 

Board President Stu Cochrane said, “The entire hiring process went very well and lead us to three strong candidates. Feedback from the interview teams was instrumental in helping us, as a school board, make the right hiring decision for the District.  We are excited to work with Dr. Joel and all he can offer us as a District and what he and his family will bring to our community.”  

Joel will officially begin his duties on July 1, 2021. 

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