New CCHS principal says he’s ‘impressed with community’; school board makes hiring official

New CCHS Principal Bryan Jurrens
New CCHS Principal Bryan Jurrens
By James Grob,

The Charles City Community School District Board of Education officially approved the hiring of Bryan Jurrens as principal of the Charles City High School and Thomas Harskamp as Charles City Middle School associate administrator at the school board meeting on Monday.

Employment will officially begin on July 1 for both. Jurrens was at the meeting Monday, and said afterward that Charles City has already made a positive impression on him.

“It’s just got a good feel, it seems really inviting. Everybody I’ve talked to has been friendly and wants to talk and introduce themselves,” Jurrens said. “That’s something that feels good, that’s a good family atmosphere.”

Jurrens, the head assistant principal at Waterloo East High School for the last eight years, succeeds Josh Johnson, who has accepted a regional administrator position with the Central Rivers Area Education Agency.

“I’m excited. It’s an awesome opportunity, and I’m excited to get my family up here,” said Jurrens, who is originally from Northwest Iowa and came to this area when he attended Wartburg College. His father, Jay Jurrens, is currently superintendent of schools in New Hampton.

Bryan Jurrens said he had the opportunity last Friday to get an “in-depth” tour of the school district and of Charles City.

“I’m really impressed with the community,” he said, and added that he and his wife have two young children. “I really want a community where we can raise them.”

Harskamp is currently dean of students at Marrs Magnet Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska. He succeeds Keith Reuter, who has accepted the K-12 principal position with the Clarksville Community School District.

In total, 21 people applied for the high school principal position and 29 people applied for the middle school associate administrator position.

“We are so pleased to have both Bryan and Tom join the Charles City Community School District family,” Mike Fisher, incoming superintendent of the Charles City Community School District, said in a press release Saturday. “After an extremely competitive process with excellent candidates, Bryan and Tom quickly distinguished themselves as highly effective school leaders.”

The high school principal salary for Jurrens was approved at $104,000, while the middle school associate administrator salary for Harskamp was approved at $80,000.

Salaries for other administrative positions in the school district for the 2018-19 school year were also approved by the board on Monday. The negotiations committee met in May with Superintendent Dan Cox regarding wages, benefits and handbook changes for administration, and the committee recommended the salaries.

High school Associate Principal Larry Wolfe’s salary will be $94,474, middle school Principal Rick Gabel will be paid $109,936, Lincoln Elementary Principal Marcia DeVore will be paid a salary of $97,359 and Washington Elementary Principal Kara Shannon will be paid $97,359.

The school board also approved five other appointments at the meeting Monday, all effective at the start of the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 15: Brooke Hottle, 7-9 counselor, $38,019; Lindsey Staudt, middle school special education teacher, $48,102; Jessica Lechtenberg, kindergarten teacher, $43,780; and Jennifer Mohs, first grade teacher, $39,459.

The board also accepted the resignation of middle school instructional assistant Jadyn Schutjer.

The school board unanimously approved student fees for the 2018-19 school year Monday. There are no changes in fees from the previous year:

• Textbook fees are $30 for the elementary schools, $45 for the middle school and $50 for the high school. Textbook technology fees are $30.

• The Washington Elementary extended day program is $150, or $50 for Monday only.

• Senior graduation fees will be $38, while the high school yearbook will cost $53. The middle school yearbook will be $6.

• Activity tickets cost $37 for students and $67 for adults.

• Drivers eduction, through SteetSmarts, costs $355.

• The meal program costs also remain unchanged. Breakfast costs $1.45 for students and $1.85 for adults, lunch costs $2.60 for students and $3.75 for adults, with extra entrees costing $1.50 each.

In other action, the school board approved the recommendations of the School Improvement Advisory Council (SIAC), which met on June 6. The SIAC recommended that the school board keep the state of Iowa’s long-range goal, that by the year 2021, 85 percent of students in grades K-4 be at or above benchmark on the FAST CBM Reading assessment.

The SIAC also recommended that the school board encourage the district to increase career and technical educational opportunities and school/business partnerships. The SIAC also recommended that the school district provide trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive training to staff and continue to work on kindness and respect in regard to harassment and bullying prevention.

In other action Monday, the school board:

— Heard and approved a second reading of the school’s proposed community building use policy. The policy will charge a fee for building use to all outside entities. There will be a flat fee of $25 for 0-4 hours or $50 for 4-plus hours on Saturdays, Sundays or time outside of regular working hours for staff.

— Discussed and tabled a list of legislative priorities to recommend for the platform of the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) for the 2019 legislative session.

— Approved the summer worker assignment of Tait Arndt, at the wage of $9 per hour.

— Approved the annual mileage rate for 2018-19, at 54.5 cents per mile, an increase of one cent per mile from last year.

— Renewed membership in the IASB, with membership dues of $5,438.

— Renewed membership in the Iowa School Finance Information Services, with a fee of $2,211.26

— Approved an agreement with Des Moines Area Community College to establish a career advantage program for concurrent enrollment, including culinary arts and German.

— Approved the 2018-19 fundraising calendar for the school district.