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Waterloo Schools superintendent retiring this summer after eight years in the job

Jane Lindaman

Waterloo Community Schools Superintendent Jane Lindaman will retire July 1 after nearly 17 years working in the district.

WATERLOO — Jane Lindaman didn’t expect to stay long when she arrived in Waterloo Community Schools almost 17 years ago.

She had gotten married shortly before being named principal of Bunger Middle School in 2005. After six years of teaching and a decade as an administrator, Lindaman was seeking “a new challenge” and thought Waterloo Schools would be only a stop on her way to a job elsewhere.

She did move into other positions, but never left Waterloo Schools.

“I didn’t anticipate that I would find my place, find my passion,” Lindaman said in an interview. She became a district-level administrator after a year and was appointed superintendent in 2014.

At the end of her eighth year leading the district, though, she is stepping down. On Thursday, Lindaman announced she is retiring, effective July 1.

This is a year earlier than the superintendent, who will be turning 55, planned to retire. “It’s allowing me to find some balance between my family and my professional life,” said Lindaman.

“There have been some changes in my extended family,” she explained. “My sister passed away in February. So, I’m playing a little different role in my family, trying to support my dad.”

Additionally, she and her husband have two sons in district middle and high schools. The family plans to remain in Waterloo.

Lindaman is Waterloo Schools’ first female superintendent and has served longer in the role than any of her predecessors since 1983. Prior to leading the district, she spent four years as associate superintendent for educational services. She had also served as director of learning and results and middle school education after her year at Bunger.

She notified the Board of Education of her plans to retire during its recent annual performance review.

“The decision to announce now is really planned and intentional,” Lindaman said, allowing the board ample time to find a successor.

Board president Shanlee McNally called the early notification “a gift” for members. “The process takes many months. It isn’t just a two-week process.”

She praised Lindaman’s work during her time with Waterloo Schools.

“Dr. Lindaman’s ability to develop notably strong collaborative relationships with Waterloo Schools’ staff, families, and the larger community has been the driving force of our success over the years,” said McNally. “The board has held her to high standards during her tenure and we are incredibly proud of her contributions to Waterloo as a community-focused, visible, and fiscally-responsible leader.”

Under Lindaman’s leadership, the district launched the Waterloo Career Center, which includes 18 programs with plans for 12 more. The center has grown its enrollment, partnership and donor support, internships, and apprenticeship offerings. It has also expanded to serve students from 10 school systems in the Cedar Valley.

“The Waterloo Career Center is one of the major reasons my family and I will stay in Waterloo,” said Lindaman. “We believe so strongly in our district and in the WCC as a unique and valuable academic experience for kids that we absolutely want our own children to be able to benefit from it.”

During her time as superintendent, Waterloo Schools has enhanced advanced programs; diversified school district staff, including in administrative roles; and developed various career-readiness pathways for students. Other accomplishments during her tenure include:

  • Raising the district graduation rate by nearly 15% to 84.3%, and nearly closing the graduation rate gap between racial subgroups.
  • Achieving the highest percentage of growth in early literacy across the state for four straight years.
  • Securing more than $18 million in grants for the district, including $1 million for the career center and $3 million for work on the achievement gap.
  • Launching the Dual Language and Twice Exceptional “signature” programs and continuing to expand the International Baccalaureate program.

“She has set us up, having been here eight years,” said McNally. “The district is in a great position.”

She noted “Jane’s stewardship during the last few years” after the Legislature made changes to limit public employee bargaining in 2017 and banned use of voluntary diversity plans this year, which resulted in an increase in open enrollment out of the district. She also highlighted multiple years of decreases in the district’s property tax rate and the “solid” unspent balance maintained in its budgets.

“I am going to work as hard as I can over the next months to make sure we are in a really, really good place,” said Lindaman. “Every good leader wants the next person to be even better, because that’s how you honor the legacy.”

The board will formally initiate the search for the next superintendent of Waterloo Schools in the coming days.

“We plan to be transparent, involve our stakeholders, and offer regular updates to our staff and community,” said McNally. She anticipates the position of superintendent will be posted in late November.

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Education Reporter

I cover local schools and higher education for The Courier, where I’ve been a reporter for the past two decades. I’m a Minnesota native and have previously worked for newspapers there and in Illinois.

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