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WATERLOO — Cedar Valley Catholic Schools looked inward to find retiring chief administrator Dale Monroe’s successor.

The Board of Education Thursday appointed Tom Novotney to be the school system’s new leader in a unanimous vote. Currently principal of Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School, he will assume the new duties effective July 1.

“Tom’s leadership at our middle school helped us along with this decision,” said Mark Sinnwell, president of the board, noting the search committee was “strongly drawn” to him among the seven applicants for the job.

“I absolutely love being the middle school principal at Blessed Maria,” said Novotney, who started in the position last July. The 41-year-old worked as an administrator, teacher and associate at Mason City Community Schools for the first 16 years of his career before coming to Waterloo.

CVCS has “been a great fit for my family,” he added. “When the opportunity came open to lead the whole system, I absolutely thought I should apply for it.”

The system, with nearly 1,100 preschool through 12th-grade students, also includes three elementary schools and Columbus High School, all of which are in Waterloo. “I have been extremely impressed with CVCS and the families, teachers, staff, and students, and I look forward to using my experience to continue to advance our mission,” he said.

The Catholic faith will remain central to that mission, Novotney emphasized, along with several ongoing initiatives. Among those are issuing Apple iPad computers to each sixth- through 12th-grader and a science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum used across all schools.

Maintaining those initiatives will “make sure Columbus graduates receive a top-notch 21st century education,” he said.

Sinnwell said the search committee was impressed with Novotney’s “Catholic school mentality” and ability to communicate with Blessed Maria families. He said that will be an asset in the new position as officials strive to strengthen the connection to the five churches supporting CVCS since middle school students were moved out of the parish grade schools in 2013.

His own Catholic education and community involvement were also factors in the choice.

Novotney is the son of a long-time Catholic school administrator and superintendent who attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through his graduation from Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Wis. He is a state officer for the Iowa Knights of Columbus and on the Board of Directors for the F.I.R.E. Foundation of Northeast Iowa. The foundation focuses on providing inclusive education at Catholic schools for students with special needs.

Search committee members narrowed down the applicants to four candidates before choosing two finalists. Teachers and other stakeholders interviewed the finalists before Novotney was recommended to the board.

“We just feel confident that Tom can lead us into the next steps for Catholic education in the Cedar Valley,” said Sinnwell.

“Tom brings great expertise and faith to the position,” the Rev. Scott Bullock, pastoral coordinator for CVCS, said in a news release. “We look forward to his continuing leadership in our school system and building on the solid foundation put in place by Dr. Monroe.”

“I am pleased that Tom will be leading CVCS,” added Monroe, in the news release. “I have greatly enjoyed working with him as an administrator at Blessed Maria and look forward to helping him transition into his new position. I know that he will be successful moving our school system forward and advancing Catholic education in the archdiocese.”

Novotney earned undergraduate degrees at North Iowa Community College and Buena Vista University as well as a master’s degree in administration from the University of Northern Iowa. He and his wife, Julie, have six children, four of whom are currently enrolled in the CVCS system.


Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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