Tara Estep

CEDAR FALLS — Cedar Falls Community Schools has announced an administrative reorganization as Dan Conrad, director of secondary education, prepares to retire.

A new administrative cabinet position, executive director of enrichment and special programs, was created with responsibilities from preschool to 12th grade. Hansen Elementary School Principal Tara Estep was chosen to fill the role.

“It’s just reallocating our focal areas to make sure we’re as streamlined as possible to have the best impact for our students and staff,” said Superintendent Andy Pattee. “We think it’s going to allow us to offer some strong supports in certain areas.”

Two other positions are being realigned to similarly have a focus on preschool through 12th grade.

Pam Zeigler, currently director of elementary education, will become the associate superintendent for instruction and learning. “She’ll have her foot in both of those areas, elementary and secondary, as (will) Mrs. Estep,” said Pattee.

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Jill White will become the executive director for student services. Currently, she is the student services coordinator. “It’s a change in title and she’ll do a little more with secondary than she did in the past,” said Pattee.

“There’s no additional positions,” he noted with the reorganization. The changes comes after what officials call a careful review of the district’s organizational structure and will be implemented with Conrad’s retirement on June 30.

District officials went through a search process before naming Estep to the new role. Five people were selected, including internal and external candidates. They were interviewed by teams comprised of secondary and elementary teachers and administrators, district staff representing preschool through 12th grade programs, and cabinet members.

Earlier in her career, Estep taught at Orchard Hill Elementary for six years and then accepted her first administrative position as principal at Wapsie Valley Elementary School. She rejoined the Cedar Falls District in 2010 to become Hansen’s principal.

During her tenure, Hansen has received both state and national recognition. In 2016 the school received a National Blue Ribbon of Excellence and in 2017 the Iowa Department of Education selected the school for a Breaking Barriers Award. Estep was also selected as one of The Courier’s “20 Under 40” recipients in 2017.

Additionally, the district announced Savannah Swestka will serve as the interim principal of Hansen Elementary during 2019-20. She is associate principal for Hansen and Southdale elementary schools this year and previously filled the same role for Hansen and Lincoln elementary schools. Prior to joining Cedar Falls Schools, Swestka held building- and district-level administrative positions in the Iowa City Community School District.


Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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