DES MOINES – Gov. Terry E. Branstad on Tuesday named Dr. Brad Buck, 44, to be the next Iowa Department of Education director, calling him a visionary leader with the right skills to implement the landmark education reform package passed by the 2013 Legislature.
Buck has served as superintendent of the 1,300-student Saydel school district in rural Polk County since July 2011. He previously worked as a school administrator in the Waukee, Hudson and North Mahaska school districts from 1997 to 2011. Buck began his education career in 1992 as a science teacher at Parkview Middle School in Ankeny. He is also a past president of School Administrators of Iowa.
“Dr. Buck’s passion for giving all students a world-class education and his knowledge of how to better utilize teacher leadership to accomplish that goal played a critical role in his selection,” said Branstad. “He understands the importance of collaboration as educators and parents work together to assure students are prepared to compete in the global economy.”
Better utilizing teacher leadership is the centerpiece of Iowa’s 2013 education reform package. Each of Iowa’s 346 school districts has the option to adopt a teacher leadership system that will use the expertise of top teachers to improve instruction and raise student achievement. Districts can apply for planning grants in September, and the teacher leadership systems will be phased in over the next several years. When fully in place in 2016-17, the price tag is expected to be $150 million annually.
Buck has a head start on understanding how to put a teacher leadership system in place. Working closely with the Saydel Education Association during the 2012-13 school year, Buck helped secure a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant that will allow the Saydel school district to implement its own teacher leadership system starting this month.
“Brad Buck’s strong record of service in Iowa school districts and willingness to think outside the box make him a great choice to lead the Iowa Department of Education at this point in time,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Buck said, “The Governor and Lt. Governor, the Legislature, and the Iowa Department of Education have cast a bold vision for school improvement efforts in our state. As importantly, they have recognized the importance of providing the necessary tools and supports needed to implement this work. I am excited and humbled to be chosen by the Governor to serve the students, families, and educators of Iowa in delivering on the promises contained in this legislation and making our education system the best performing in the nation.”
Buck’s official start date has not been finalized, but will be no later than September 1. He and his wife, Traci, live in Urbandale and have 6 children.