INDEPENDENCE -- Oskaloosa's superintendent will be the new leader of Independence Community Schools.

Russell Reiter's hiring was announced by the school district Wednesday, ahead of an evening Board of Education meeting where the official vote will take place. He will begin his duties on July 1.

“I’d like to thank the Independence School Board and all those who took part in the process," Reiter said in a news release. "Debbie and I are looking forward to becoming a part of your community and I’ll be working hard to make the Independence School District the very best.”

He and his wife have two sons who are 20 and 17.

Board president Eric Smith expressed excitement about working with the new superintendent. “Using the community feedback from the interviews on Monday, Jan. 29, the school board determined that Mr. Reiter was the right fit for our community,” he said.

Officials said Reiter emerged as the best fit after a thorough hiring process led by the board with support from Ankeny-based Grundmeyer Leader Search. He has been superintendent for eight years in the Oskaloosa district, which has more than 2,300 students and 350 employees. Independence Schools has just under 1,400 kindergarten through 12-grade students.

The candidate pool included 26 total applicants, 13 of which had six or more years of superintendent experience. Three finalists formally interviewed for the position on Monday with over 70 district staff and community members. The other finalists included Marty Jimmerson, superintendent of the AGWSR school district in Ackley, and Jesse Ulrich, superintendent of the AHSTW school district in Avoca.

An offer was made to Reiter after a full review of all the feedback provided to the board, according to the news release. Board members considered which candidate best fit the desired qualifications that they identified with input from the community, staff and students. He will work with retiring Superintendent Jean Peterson to ensure a smooth transition.

Reiter has been an educator more than 30 years, serving as a teacher and administrator. Prior to his tenure at Oskaloosa, he served as the superintendent for the Mt. Ayr School District for four years. He currently serves on the Iowa High School Athletic Association Board of Controls and is active in his community with civic organizations and economic development. In 2010, he was honored as the Green Hills Area Education Agency superintendent of the year.

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