Board of Education approves retirements, program partnerships

By Kate Hayden,

The Charles City Board of Education approved 10 early retirements on Monday for staff members who had served 11 to 36 years in the Charles City school district.

For seven certified staff members, board policy states each eligible retiree will receive $35,000 in one lump sum payment, the Monday agenda stated. For three support staff members, the benefit is equal to five years paid insurance premiums by the school district.

The board approved applications from K-4 librarian Anna Burnham, high school German teacher Marilyn Buttjer, high school English teacher Ardis Gisleson, high school Family & Consumer Science teacher Dene Lundberg, K-6 technology teacher Laura McDermott, high school Industrial Technology teacher Alan Nielsen and high school counselor Patricia Rottinghaus. Combined, the teachers have approximately 170 years of experience working in the school district, Superintendent Dan Cox told the board.

The retiring staff members are Washington Elementary secretary Denise Holzer and instructional assistants Juanita Hughes and Linda Wedemeier.

“To see the years of experience and dedication to our district, it really makes you feel good about where you live and the staff that you have,” said school board President Jason Walker.


The Board of Education approved a new franchise agreement to continue using an altered form of the Iowa BIG name and logo, as part of the Iowa BIG North partnership between the Charles City, New Hampton, Osage and Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock school districts.

Iowa BIG is a partnership between the Cedar Rapids, Linn-Mar and College community school districts that began in May 2014 to offer high school students a chance to participate in cross-district community projects.

The four northeast school districts founded Iowa BIG North in 2016 with permission to use the name, replicating most of Iowa BIG’s purpose while tweaking the details to fit with the surrounding communities. Charles City Board of Education members approved the agreement, effective immediately until June 30, 2019.

Board members also approved the new school-to-work partnership “Challenge CNA” with Chautauqua Guest Homes of Charles City, with the intent to offer certified nursing assistant instruction and clinical experience for high school students.

“It allows our students to earn their CNA in a much more flexible approach than a traditional path,” Cox told board members.

Students registered in the 75-hour program will take classes mostly online, but complete lab and clinical work through Chautauqua Guest Homes. Applicants must meet a standard of grades and school attendance, submit a resume to the program and interview with Chautauqua management before being accepted.

The Charles City school district agreed to reimburse Chautauqua Guest Homes $40 per hour of instruction and clinical supervision provided to enrolled students.


The Charles City Community School District gained 17 students in the 2017-18 enrollment count, Cox told the board.

Three Charles City wrestlers will compete at the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines on Feb. 15-16; and two student improv groups will perform at All-State Speech on Feb. 17 at Iowa State University, Cox noted.