GRUNDY CENTER — Grundy Center Community Schools has a new superintendent — a little earlier than initially expected.
Neil Mullen, who retired from leading the Union Community School District almost two years ago, was hired by the Grundy Center Schools’ Board of Education during a special meeting Feb. 1.
“Initially, I was supposed to start July 1,” said Mullen. But a short time after being hired, his predecessor, Jerry Schutz, accepted a new job that was beginning sooner.
“So, he asked me to start March 1,” said Mullen. “Jerry really didn’t want to turn that job down. I agreed to help out and finish the school year for him.”
About three weeks after the initial vote, the board approved Mullen to serve as interim superintendent for the rest of the fiscal year, as well. He signed a two-year contract with the district following the interim period and will be paid $146,000 annually.
“I’m excited to be here. People are very welcoming,” said Mullen, who was first contacted about the position by “some friends in the community” who thought it would be a good fit. “It’s a good place to be, very much like Union was.”
Schutz, who started his job with the district in 2014, told the board during its Feb. 21 meeting that he got a job with the Veterans Administration and would be living in Tea, S.D., a suburb of Sioux Falls.
He submitted a resignation letter Nov. 15, a month after the board unanimously decided not to renew his contract for the 2018-19 school year. That was amended at the Feb. 21 meeting to March 23 with last Friday his final day in the office.
“Thanks to the school board for releasing me for my opportunity with the Veterans Administration,” he said at the meeting. “I’m looking forward to doing that, serving veterans, so thank you.”
Before retiring, Mullen had a 35-year career in education with all but five in the Union district. He taught in the North Mahaska and Union districts. He then served in elementary and high school principal positions at Union for 16 years followed by 11 years as superintendent.
For the past year, Mullen has been working part-time supervising Iowa State University student teachers.
Mullen has some experience with building projects from his time at Union that will be helpful in the Grundy Center district.