Iowa Education Symposium

Office of the Governor of Iowa:

Iowa Teacher & Principal
Leadership Symposium

August 3, 2012
Drake University, 2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Dear Iowans,


May 21, 2012

Thank you for your interest in the Iowa Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium. We hope a broad cross section of Iowans will attend the conference Friday, August 3, at Drake University in Des Moines. The purpose is to explore a crucial next step as we continue to work together to create world-class schools: developing leadership.

As academic expectations grow for students in the 21st century, principals alone cannot provide all the leadership needed inside a school building to continually improve learning – from setting goals to analyzing data to field testing instructional strategies.  Mobilizing the untapped talents of Iowa’s many excellent teachers by redefining their roles and responsibilities makes sense. The question is how to organize the system to treat teachers as leaders.

Symposium speakers and panelists will share their thinking about shared principal and teacher leadership. They’ll discuss different models in place in the state and nation, as well as in high-performing schools around the globe. They’ll talk about how new career paths for teachers may fit with a new approach to compensation.

In July 2011, we held the Iowa Education Summit to begin the conversation about how to create world-class schools. Last October, we released our education reform blueprint, followed by town hall meetings to seek Iowans’ feedback. In January, we presented an ambitious legislative package, including a third-grade literacy initiative, all students taking a college-entrance exam, and improved teacher evaluations. Teacher leadership will be at the heart of our 2013 legislative proposal because it is critical to preparing all youngsters for the demands of the 21st century.

Iowans have a great education tradition, but we aren’t keeping up. Nearly 23 percent of third-graders don’t read proficiently on state tests; Iowa fourth- and eighth-graders led the nation in math in the early 1990s but now rank in the middle of the pack; 33 percent of recent high school graduates who enrolled in Iowa’s community colleges needed remedial help. Iowa employers regularly tell us it’s difficult to find well-qualified applicants for job openings.

The status quo is unacceptable. Our children’s competitiveness and our competitiveness as a state are at stake in a knowledge-based economy. Let’s restore Iowa schools to not just best in the nation but among the best in the world.


Gov. Terry E. Branstad

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds